By Harold S. Bender
"Judged by way of the reception it met by the hands of these in energy, either in Church and nation, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant nations, the Anabaptist circulate used to be the most tragic within the historical past of Christianity; yet, judged via the rules, that have been placed into play through the boys who bore this reproachful nickname, it has to be reported probably the most momentous and important undertakings in man’s eventful non secular fight after the reality. It collected up the profits of previous pursuits, it's the non secular soil out of which all nonconformist sects have sprung, and it's the first undeniable declaration in smooth historical past of a programme for a brand new kind of Christian society which the trendy global, particularly in the United States and England, has been slowly realizing—an completely unfastened and self sustaining spiritual society, and a country within which each guy counts as a guy, and has his proportion in shaping either Church and State." those phrases of Rufus M. Jones represent the most effective characterizations of Anabaptism and its contribution to our sleek Christian tradition to be present in the English language.
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Extra resources for Anabaptist Vision
There are, for Page 12 instance, the socialist writers, led by Kautsky, who would make Anabaptism either "the forerunner of the modern socialism" or the "culminating effort of medieval communism," and who in reality see it only as the external religious shell of a class movement. 14 There are the sociologists with their partial socioeconomic determinism as reflected in Richard Niebuhr's approach to the social origin of religious denominations. There is Albert Ritschl, who sees in Anabaptism an ascetic semimonastic continuation of the medieval Franciscan tertiaries, and locates the seventeenth-century Pietists in the same line;15 and Ludwig Keller, who finds Anabaptists throughout the pre-Reformation period in the guise of Waldenses and other similar groups whom he chooses to call "the old-evangelical brotherhood,''16 and for whom he posits a continuity from earliest times.
Drawing many sincere souls who had a zeal for God, for they taught nothing but love, faith, and the cross. They showed themselves humble, patient under much suffering; they brake bread with one another as an evidence of unity and love. They helped each other faithfully, and called each other brothers. . They died as martyrs, patiently and humbly enduring all persecution. 38 A further confirmation of the above evaluation of the achievement of the Anabaptists is found in the fact that in many places those who lived a consistent Christian life were in danger of failing under the suspicion of being guilty of Anabaptist heresy.
Such infant baptism would not only be meaningless, but would in fact become a serious obstacle to a true understanding of the nature of Christianity and membership in the church. Only adult baptism could signify an intelligent life commitment. An inevitable corollary of the concept of the church as a body of committed and practicing Christians pledged to the highest standard of New Testament living was the insistence on the separation of the church from the world, that is nonconformity of the Christian to the worldly way of life.
Anabaptist Vision by Harold S. Bender