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 AD. 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 felt otherwise (though they are now extinct) 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

Peace churches are Christian churches, groups or communities advocating Christian pacifism. The term historic peace churches refers specifically only to three church groups among pacifist churches: Church of the Brethren, Mennonites including the Amish, and Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and has been used since the first conference of the peace churches in Kansas in 1935.[1][2][3][4][5]

The definition of "peace churches" is sometimes expanded to include Christadelphians (from 1863) and Molokans (Russian Orthodox "milk-drinkers"), though these did not participate in the conference of the "historic peace churches" in Kansas in 1935.[6] The peace churches agree that Jesus advocated nonviolence. Whether physical force can ever be justified, either in defending oneself or others, remains controversial. Many believers adhere strictly to a moral attitude of nonresistance in the face of violence. But these churches generally do concur that violence on behalf of nations and their governments is contrary to Christian morality. (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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  1. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites p6 Donald B. Kraybill - 2010 "In 1935, BRETHREN, Mennonites, and Quakers met in North Newton, Kansas, for a conference on peace. The term HISTORIC PEACE CHURCHES was developed at this conference in order to distinguish between the groups' biblically based peaceful ..."
  2. ^ The Brethren encyclopedia 1983 p608 "The American Civil War brought the peace churches together in combined appeals to government, both in the North and in ... This conference used the term historic peace churches as more acceptable to Mennonites than the term pacifist churches because the latter connoted theological liberalism. Called without prior agenda, the three-day meeting concluded with "
  3. ^ Mark Matthews Smoke jumping on the Western fire line: conscientious objectors p36 - 2006 "CHAPTER TWO The Historic Peace Churches - The three historic peace churches that united to lobby for reforming the treatment of conscientious objectors during World War II shared many religious beliefs, but they also differed in many "
  4. ^ Speicher, Sara and Durnbaugh, Donald F. (2003), Ecumenical Dictionary: Historic Peace Churches
  5. ^ G. Kurt Piehler, Sidney Pash The United States and the Second World War: New Perspectives on 2010 p265 "The Selective Service, in collaboration with the historic peace churches, created Civilian Public Service to provide ... In October 1940, to coordinate administration of the CPS camps, the historic peace churches established the NSBRO. "
  6. ^ Law review digest 1957 "Among the peace churches may be listed the Mennonite, Brethren, Friends, Christadelphians and Molakans. Other sects having a degree of pacifism in their doctrines include the Seventh Day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Churches of Christ. A more complex situation arises in connection with those registrants who do not base their claims "
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