Portal:Anabaptism

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Anabaptism

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Anabaptism (from Neo-Latin anabaptista, from the Greek ἀναβαπτισμός: ἀνά- "re-" and βαπτισμός "baptism", German: Täufer, earlier also Wiedertäufer) is a Christian movement which traces its origins to the Radical Reformation. The movement is generally seen as an offshoot of Protestantism, although this view has been challenged by some Anabaptists.

Approximately 4 million Anabaptists live in the world today with adherents scattered across all inhabited continents. In addition to a number of minor Anabaptist groups, the most numerous include the Mennonites at 2.1 million, the German Baptists at 1.5 million, the Amish at 0.3 million and the Hutterites at 0.05 million.

In the 21st century there are large cultural differences between assimilated Anabaptists, who do not differ much from evangelical or mainline Protestants and traditional groups like the Amish, the Old Colony Mennonites, the Old Order Mennonites, the Hutterites and the Old German Baptist Brethren.

The early Anabaptists formulated their beliefs in the Schleitheim Confession, in 1527. Anabaptists believe that baptism is valid only when the candidate confesses his or her faith in Christ and wants to be baptized. This believer's baptism is opposed to baptism of infants, who are not able to make a conscious decision to be baptized. Anabaptists are those who are in a traditional line with the early Anabaptists of the 16th century. Other Christian groups with different roots also practice believer's baptism, such as Baptists, but these groups are not seen as Anabaptist. The Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites are direct descendants of the early Anabaptist movement. Schwarzenau Brethren, Bruderhof, and the Apostolic Christian Church are considered later developments among the Anabaptists.

The name Anabaptist means "one who baptizes again". Their persecutors named them this, referring to the practice of baptizing persons when they converted or declared their faith in Christ, even if they had been baptized as infants. Anabaptists required that baptismal candidates be able to make a confession of faith that is freely chosen and so rejected baptism of infants. The early members of this movement did not accept the name Anabaptist, claiming that infant baptism was not part of scripture and was therefore null and void. They said that baptizing self-confessed believers was their first true baptism:

I have never taught Anabaptism.... But the right baptism of Christ, which is preceded by teaching and oral confession of faith, I teach, and say that infant baptism is a robbery of the right baptism of Christ.

— Hubmaier, Balthasar (1526), Short apology.:204

Anabaptists were heavily and long persecuted starting in the 16th century by both Magisterial Protestants and Roman Catholics, largely because of their interpretation of scripture which put them at odds with official state church interpretations and with government. Anabaptism was never established by any state and therefore never enjoyed any of the privileges that come with it. Most Anabaptists adhered to a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount which precluded taking oaths, participating in military actions, and participating in civil government. Some groups who practiced rebaptism, now extinct, believed otherwise and complied with these requirements of civil society. They were thus technically Anabaptists, even though conservative Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, and some historians consider them outside true Anabaptism. Conrad Grebel wrote in a letter to Thomas Müntzer in 1524:

True Christian believers are sheep among wolves, sheep for the slaughter... Neither do they use worldly sword or war, since all killing has ceased with them.

Selected article

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Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit fair trade organization that markets handcrafted products made by disadvantaged artisans from more than 120 artisan groups in more than 38 countries.

As one of the world’s largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating long-term buying relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to unique gifts, accessories and home décor from around the world. Ten Thousand Villages is a founding member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) and a certified member of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit program of the Mennonite Central Committee. (More...)

Selected biography

Michael Sattler preaching in the woods.

Michael Sattler (c. 1490 – 21 May 1527) was a monk who left the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation to become one of the early leaders of the Anabaptist movement. He was particularly influential for his role in developing the Schleitheim Confession.

Born in approximately 1490 in Staufen, Germany. Sattler became a Benedictine monk in the cloister of St. Peter and most likely became prior. He left St. Peter's probably in May 1525 when the monastery had been overcome by the troops from the Black Forest fighting in the peasant's war. He later married a former Beguine named Margaretha. When Sattler arrived in Zurich is not known except that he was in town before being expelled from the city November 18, 1525 in a wave of expulsions of foreigners resulting from the November 6–8 disputation on baptism. Some believe that Sattler is to be identified as the "Brother Michael in the white coat," mentioned in a document dated March 25 of that year, thus placing Sattler in Zurich before Snyder's estimation of when he left St. Peter's. Snyder believed that Sattler possibly arrived in Zurich to attend that disputation.

He became associated with the Anabaptists and was probably rebaptised in the summer of 1526. He was involved in missionary activity around Horb and Rottenburg, and eventually traveled to Strasbourg. In February 1527 he chaired a meeting of the Swiss Brethren at Schleitheim, at which time the Schleitheim Confession was adopted. (More...)

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