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What Are Anabaptists?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.christnet,alt.religion.christian,alt.religion.christian.anabaptist.brethren,talk.religion.misc
From: nocTifer 
Subject: What Are Anabaptists?
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 21:28:24 GMT

50010731 VI! om Hail Satan!

>> Phil, Catholics are definitely NOT Anabaptists.... 

indeed, it would not surprise me if Anabaptism was considered a
"heresy" by Roman Catholics.

>> Catholics practice infant baptism while Anabaptists, who were 
>> often persecuted by the Catholics some 400+ years ago, do not.

is that the only difference? I'd got the impression from scant
reading that Anabaptists were independence-oriented in their 
practices, rather than church-driven. 

that is, the Anabaptists practice tolerance and acceptance of
the form and practice of their brethren Christians (and, hopefully,
other religious too! :>). am I mistaken? are there multiple *kinds*
of Anabaptists, some of whom are more accepting than others (compare
with the varieties of religious in the Society of Friends, or 
"Quakers", for example).

"Phil Layman" :
> ...we as Old German Baptist Brethren only baptise an individual 
> when they feel the calling to walk in His way....

that's very respectful of you. does the OGBB somehow relate to
Anabaptists by virtue of being called "Brethren" or is this
just another name for a certain social type (along with
'congregation' and 'church')?

Phil, thank you for trying to start discussion of Anabaptism in
this newsgroup (alt.religion.christian.anabaptist.brethren). I
think the subject and newsgroup worthy of attention and have
cross-posted this discussion to others who may have an
interest in fleshing out contributions to the discussion and
adding some valuable reflections on the presumed subject). 
we may even draw others into the newsgroup proper to post.

for my part, I'll post a dictionary definition and a few
quotes from the worldwide web:

	anabaptism ... *n* ... 1 : *cap[italized]* a: the doctrine
	 and practices of the Anabaptists   b : the Anabaptist
	 movement  ....

	Anabaptist ... *n* : a Protestant sectarian of a radical
	 movement arising in Zurich in 1524 and advocating the
	 baptism and church membership of adult believers only,
	 the practice of holiness, simplicity, nonresistance,
	 mutual help, and the separation of church and state....

	(Websters 7th New Collegiate)

the two descriptions above seem to coincide with this, though
only in minor ways (because they focus on baptism, which was
probably an issue at that time -- infant baptism), since the
practice of Anabaptism incorporates far more than merely ideas
about baptism. as I remember Anabaptists were forerunners to
the development of groups like the Society of Friends and had
a profound effect on the development of the US (in particular
its focus on the separation of church and state).

let's try Google.... (a couple of sites mentioning Mennonites
and 'the rest of hte Anabaptist World', such as Amish, 
Hutterites and others). here's something from what looks
like a Mennonite encyclopediat:

	Definition of Anabaptism

	The word Anabaptism is normally used today to denote the mosaic of
	groupings of dissenters without at the same time making claims to
	uniformity. In his 1972 work Anabaptists and the Sword, James M.
	Stayer used the term with great care in order to avoid giving the 
	impression that he was writing about a single unified movement 
	across Europe. He wrote about Anabaptists and defined them as those 
	who rebaptized persons already baptized in infancy. Walter Klaassen 
	had already used this definition in his Oxford dissertation in 1960. 
	Calvin Pater (1984) broadened the definition by including those who, 
	before 1525, rejected the baptism of infants, but this is perhaps 
	too broad to be useful. These definitions were meant to avoid such 
	confessional definitions as "evangelical Anabaptism." Thus, all 
	those rebaptizers who have in the past been classified as SchwJrmer 
	(Melchior Hoffman), spiritualists (Hans Denck), and revolutionaries 
	(the Munsterites) are now considered to be genuine Anabaptists.


	Anabaptism and Anabaptists

	However, the open definition of Anabaptist now in use emphatically does
	not imply uniformity. Anabaptism was pluralistic. Claus-Peter Clasen
	identified six major groupings often hostile to each other, and then cited
	contemporary literature to show that there were actually many more (1972).
	The 1975 article "From Monogenesis to Polygenesis," by James M. Stayer,
	Werner O. Packull, and Klaus Deppermann, has become the accepted
	statement on Anabaptist plurality. The essay disputed the older view that
	Anabaptism had its origins solely in Zurich, and that Swiss Brethren
	Anabaptism was transmitted to South Germany and Austria and to the
	Netherlands and North Germany, where it developed into the Hutterian and
	Mennonite branches respectively. The authors showed that each of the
	three in fact had a distinctive character and therefore a distinct source. 
	For South German-Austrian Anabaptism it was a diluted form of Rhineland
	mysticism (Packull, 1977). Social unrest and the apocalyptic visions of
	Melchior Hoffman put their stamp on Netherlands Anabaptism
	(Deppermann, 1979; 1987). Swiss Anabaptism arose out of Reformed
	congregationalism (Stayer, 1975).

	Numerous individual studies demonstrating links and relationships
	between Anabaptists have gradually led to the abandonment of the
	Schleitheim Confession as a norm for all "true" Anabaptists. As long ago
	as 1956 Frank J. Wray showed that Pilgram Marpeck had borrowed the bulk
	of his Vermanung (1542) from the despised Munter theologian
	Bernhard Rothmann's Bekenntnisse of 1533. Quite as surprising was
	the demonstration that Melchior Hoffman's commentary on the Apocalypse
	(1530) was used by the Hutterites soon after Hoffman wrote it, but 
	without acknowledgement of authorship (Packull, 1982).


	Finally, the question as to whether Anabaptism was medieval or modern 
	has been vigorously debated. The link of Anabaptism to mysticism, its 
	synergistic soteriology, and its version of imitatio Christi, all 
	point to pre-Reformation forms of piety (Ozment, 1972; Davis, 1974; 
	Packull, 1977). Alternatively, it has been argued that Anabaptism was 
	the true harbinger of modernity in its emphasis on voluntarism, 
	toleration, and pluralism in religion (Bender, 1955, Zeman, 1976). 
	The early Swiss Brethren, claimed Fritz Blanke, were a vanguard 
	striving toward a new dawn (Blanke, 1961). A carefully nuanced 
	statement on this subject describes social tendencies in Anabaptism 
	that moved in the direction of modernity (Goertz, 1985).

	----------------------------------------------------------- [credits]

	Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Scottdale,
        Pennsylvania, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite
        Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 23-26. All rights reserved. For
        information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


all from
through the top-level website, reached by Google.

from the foregoing, we should be able to ask Mennonites about the
differences in Anabaptist theology and other similar religious
groups, modern and historical. I tried to find groups to cross-post 
to for relevant Mennonite, Hutterite, and Amish contributions,
but only found soc.religion.quaker, which is moderated, so I'm
leaving it as is and encouraging more general forums to contribute.

moving from Google to, I found a category of links for
the subject has numerous pages at:

and its Description is:

	Anabaptism is the term used to describe religious groups such 
	as Mennonites and Brethren in Christ, who are known for their 
	adherence to the teachings of Jesus as set forth in the Sermon 
	on the Mount in the New Testament, including pacifism. This 
	category is a portal into resources for and about Anabaptism.

there are many mentions of "Anabaptist Mennonites", so there is
some large bit of cross-over here. while I find no readily-available
FAQs or reference documents by Anabaptists themselves here, I did
find an alternative to usenet which is a posting board that might
be valuable for reposting to usenet as discussion for those
who want to take the time to wade through it. :>

I can see that without a greater search or a transcription from 
my library there is likely to be little specific description of
"voluntarism, toleration, and pluralism in religion (Bender, 1955, 
Zeman, 1976)" from the above which might support my contentions
about independence of practice. I'll pull one out of a book if 
there is sufficient interest (academic overview of world religions, 
of fair reliability, probably from 1940s-1960s) or search the WWW
more thoroughly for encyclodepias of religion to quote.

that enough to chew on? let's talk about Anabaptism!

blessed beast!

emailed replies may be posted  -----   "sa avidya ya vimuktaye"   ----- 
"that which liberates is ignorance"
    hoodoo catalogue: send postal address to

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