Saturday, November 05, 2011

Four Points of Anabaptist Theology: Part 1 Introduction

**This series originated as an assignment for my studies at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary**


Baptist history is far more complex than one might imagine without having studied the subject. The many facets of Baptist history are second only to the cast of characters associated with the Baptists over the years. The particular history of the Anabaptists has affected other Christians and even society to some extent though it is usually assumed that Anabaptists have nothing to offer to theology.[1] The Baptists of today evolved from the Anabaptists who many consider to be the logical conclusion of the reform begun in the sixteenth century but left unfinished by Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli.[2] The first Anabaptist congregation of historical record was organized in 1525 at Zurich, Switzerland by a group who disagreed with Zwingli’s willingness to forge a union of church and state.[3] Their name, which comes from their rejection of the scriptural validity of infant baptism, means Rebaptizers. Today the Anabaptists are best known through the Mennonites who follow the teachings of Menno Simons and the most conservative branch of the Mennonites known as the Amish founded by Jacob Amman.[4]

Understanding aspects of Anabaptist theology is an essential part of understanding how modern Baptists came to be. In spite of the assumptions of some, the Anabaptists do contribute to theology. This monograph will examine the theology of the Anabaptists. Specifically, four theological positions supported by Anabaptists will be discussed. The positions include Anabaptist views of baptism, communion, community of goods or economic sharing, and pacifism. This detailed discussion will also contrast these positions with other theological positions. Concluding remarks will include the author’s views of these positions.

[1] Finger, Thomas N. A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 10.

[2] Elwell, Walter A., ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd Edition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 54.

[3] Mead, Frank S., Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood. Handbook of Denominations in the United States (12th ed.). (Nashville: Abington Press, 2005), 148.

[4] Ibid, 149.

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