The Anabaptist Inquiry
All You Need To Know About the Anabaptist
The Church and State Must Separate
By: Catherine Mawn-MahlauWhen you are baptised, you make a commitment to the Church. Once you have stated that you believe in God, Jesus and the Church as an informed adult, your loyalty is to the Kingdom of Heaven, not a Kingdom on earth. It is your duty to uphold God's word here on earth and doing so is more important than upholding any earthly leader's law. As your loyalty is first to the Heavenly Kingdom, you must obey its laws even if doing so defies your earthly leader; you may not take a position that leads to actions contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. As an Anabaptist, it is not your right to make judgments of others as Jesus did not judge others. If you are to not judge others, it is impossible to be a judge, ruler, or executor. Public offices require the judgment of others and so no Anabaptist can hold public office.
Anabaptists are forbidden from the ruling of man. Jesus would not allow himself to be crowned, since we have committed ourselves to conform to his image, it is imperative that no Anabaptist allows themself to rule. We must humble ourselves and serve the Lord our God.
Not only do we need to refrain from judgment, but also we should separate ourselves from those who judge. The good and evil can not mix and so the believer and nonbeliever should not mix. You must not allow a nonbeliever to influence your thoughts, so you must separate yourself from their government. You must try to embody Christ and serve God for your country. If you separate yourself from the world, you will learn to embody the spirit of Jesus by his teachings. As stated in the Schleitheim Confession "From this we should learn that everything which is not united with our God and Christ cannot be other than an abomination which we should shun and flee from."# We must denounce the Kingdoms of earth and live by the laws of Heaven. Michael Sattler wrote the Schleitheim Confession on which these views are based.
Pilgram Marpeck had similar views in the separation of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom on earth, but he believed that as long as you obey the laws God has set out and the teachings of Jesus, then you may obey earthly laws when they do not contradict the heavenly ones. Marpeck believes not in the complete separation of the believer and nonbeliever, but that the believers beliefs come before the nonbelievers.
Balthasar Hubmaier, though an Anabaptist, had very different views on the separation of church and state. He believed that as an Anabaptist, you have a civic duty and by doing this duty you are serving God even if it is against the Church's teachings. You must do your duty and in doing so, you serve the Lord.
Sattler's beliefs are the most widely accepted as most Anabaptists believe you must fully separate yourself from the state and abide only by the laws of heaven. They believe that to hold public office is to associate yourself with nonbelievers and to take power when you should not. Anabaptists must model themselves after Jesus and his teachings.
Who Are The Anabaptist
Who are The Anabaptist?
Disaster for the Catholic Church has broken out through Europe. A Reformation has hit and is influencing people of all throughout Europe. The ideas of Humanism and Individualism has helped push the Reformation, but the corruption of the Catholic ignited the flame of the Reformation. The Papacy has turned the Catholic faith into a business by selling indulgences and taxing to fund for buildings in Rome. The people were fed up and are moving toward bigger and better things.
One religious group coming out the Reformation is the Anabaptist. The Anabaptist are a branch off the Protestant religion, but is very unique. The Anabaptist have two groups in one general religious group, the groups are the “Radical Reformers” and “The Mennonites.”# The Anabaptist share similarities and differences with The Protestant Reformation religions.
Like The Reformation religion the Anabaptist practice Baptism. They believe it is necessary for people to get Baptised because it represents birth into faith and the official acceptance of an individual into the religion#. Baptism was only given out to believers of the religion, which is different from The Protestant religion (the Reformation religion) because baptism in the Protestant religion is taken place at birth. The Anabaptist do not believe in Infant baptism, they feel as though it’s “the greatest and first abomination of the pope.” #
The Anabaptist do believe in the Lord’s supper as well the Protestants. The Lord supper is used to symbolize the body of Christ and is also known as the eucharist. The Anabaptist believe that bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Christ and that it can only be served to people who have been baptised#. This is known as transubstantiation, and this is also practiced in the Catholic faith. The Protestants use bread and wine to symbolize the body and blood of Christ, meaning they do not believe they can physically recreate#.
There is also division in the Anabaptist religion based on faith alone will bring you salvation. In 1524 Balthasar Hubmaier claims in his theological articles that “Faith alone makes holy before God.”# This basically means that without good works or attending Church that a member of this religion will get into heaven based off his faith in the Scriptures and in God. This theological belief is same as the one of the Protestants, because they to believe in justification by faith. Other Anabaptist reformers believe heavily that piety and good works are an essential key into salvation because it is teached to the Mennonite Anabaptist to love your neighbor and to resist violence#. But the radical Anabaptist reformers believed if you were not an Anabaptist you were able to kill or steal from them and it would not count as a sin.# Jan van Batenburg, a radical Anabaptist leader claims, “nothing wrong in robbing and killing those who were not member of his sect.”#
The Anabaptist also believe that there should be “a shepherd among the flock” to help lead them in their prayers and help carry out a life worry enough for salvation#. The “leader of the flock” should be supported by the church and if removed from the “flock” should be replaced by another ordained pastor#. Basically they believe in a pastor to help lead and give a better understanding of God’s word to the people. The Protestants have a different take on priesthood. They believe in the “priesthood of men,” which makes the religious power equal to all people and they can interpret scripture themselves and without the aid of a priest or pastor#. The Anabaptist believe in going to church and that the church is “the body of christ on earth” and they must worship it#. They Also believe the church and the state they live in are two different aspects of life and the church was “the domain of God” and the real life world around the people was the “domain of evil”#. So the church should be a place for an individual to escape from the evils surrounding them. The Protestants believe church does not matter and the reading of scriptures is more important. They believe the church is just an object#.
The Anabaptist are rapidly growing and making a name for themselves throughout Europe. They are similar to the Reformation religion, but ultimately are a unique group of people.
Anabaptist vs. Other Religions
Anabaptism VS Other Reformation Religions
All throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, we have seen many changes with respect to the way of life of people living in Europe. Some central themes that summarize many of the changes that have occurred include moving away from faith and moving towards science, Art, Humanism, Philosophy, and perhaps the most important of them all, the Reformation of the Protestant religion. As we all know, much has changed in terms of the way we think from a couple hundred years ago until now. Some newly founded religions that we have been exposed to have branched off of the ideas of Protestantism. These new religions are merely altered versions, some more than others, of the Protestant Religion. In this article, we will be comparing and contrasting Anabaptism with Protestantism as well as Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Church of England.
We will start off comparing and contrasting Anabaptism to the Protestant Religion. One of the most prominent beliefs, or non beliefs, of Anabaptism is that Infants should not be baptized.# Anabaptists believe that baptizing a baby is wrong because the baby is ignorant and does not know what is happening. If you baptize an adult or follower of the religion, they realize and confirm that they believe in Anabaptism whereas a baby does not. In the Protestant Religion, baptizing infants is one of their many strong beliefs. Protestant families baptize their babies, “as a promise that the parents will raise the child in a godly home and bring the child to church services.”# Anabaptists disagree with this procedure as the infant is ignorant to the whole situation and cannot promise these things for himself. There are also comparisons between Protestantism and Anabaptism such as both religions base most of their beliefs of their interpretations of the Bible and the Scriptures. You could say they use them as rulebook for their religious beliefs.
Next, we will compare Anabaptism with Calvinism. One of the most crucial differences between the two religions is their beliefs on the theory of Predestination. Predestination states that God has predetermined the afterlife of all people and there is nothing the people can do to change their fate. The Calvinists are strong believers in this doctrine while, “Anabaptists completely rejected the doctrine of predestination."# Calvinism and Anabaptism also have some similarities. Both groups follow the Scriptures and the Bible as guidelines for their religion and believe they can only be interpreted by a Priest.
Lutheranism is the next religion we will examine, compare, and contrast to Anabaptism. There are many more differences than comparisons between Lutheranism and Anabaptism. While Anabaptism somewhat closely models the Protestants, Lutheranism tries to stray away from Protestant beliefs as much as possible. Part of the reason why this is true is because Martin Luther founded Lutheranism and he did not like the views of the Protestants or the corruption within their religion. Anabaptists believe you must work hard and go to church to get into heaven while Lutherans believe in Justification by Faith and the invisible church. Lutherans also kept two sacraments that they use in the Protestant religion which are baptism and Eucharist. Anabaptism also practices baptism but in a different way as stated earlier.
Lastly, we will compare Anabaptism with the Church of England. The Church of England was founded specifically to get around the limitations or laws of the Protestant religion and it was known as the English Reformation. Because this is true, Anabaptism does not have many similarities with the Church of England as Anabaptism is one of the closest reformation religions to the initial Protestant religion. The Church of England allows divorce while Anabaptism does not.# This is one of the specific examples that show why the Church of England was founded. Before the Church of England, it was highly uncommon for people to get divorced. King Henry VIII wanted to get divorced from his wife Catherine of Aragon, but the Protestant religion would not allow it. It was for this reason the Church of England was founded, with King Henry VIII as the leader. If you are an Anabaptist, you are not allowed to get divorced while still being a member of the church. If you wish to get divorced, you must withdraw as a member of the church and as a follower of Anabaptism.
As you can see, there are many similarities and differences between Anabaptism, Protestantism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and the Church of England. The Protestant Reformation sparked the will to create these new reformed religions which is why they have many similarities. At the same time, the whole point of reformation is to change, which is why these religions also have many differences. In this article, we have summed up the similarities and differences between Anabaptism, and many of the other increasingly popular religions of our time.