Category: Anabaptism

2 Approaches to Protestantism

Alister McGrath’s brilliant work Christianity’s Dangerous Idea (full review coming) has this to say in its final section:

For the historian, such cycles of review and renewal seem to be an integral part of Protestant identity….

The pressure of these changes has created a furious debate within sections of Protestantism, leading to a confrontation between two very different visions – one static, the other dynamic – of Protestant identity. On the one hand are Protestant traditionalists who hold that the essence of Protestantism can only be preserved by “freezing” defining moments in the past… For such traditionalists, fidelity to the past is the touchstone of authenticity and integrity.

Anabaptist Megachurches

Greg Boyd for ReKnew has written up a great article on whether a “megachurch” can be Anabaptist. Anabaptists, like me and Greg and my church The Meeting House, tend to emphasize church as smaller community, so how do we justify when our churches grow into the hundreds and thousands of people? Here’s the heart of Greg’s answer:

Ironically, those who argue mega-churches can’t be Anabaptist churches are assuming, in the process of raising this objection, a non-Anabaptist definition of church as a weekend gathering. If the leadership of Woodland Hills thought that our  “mega” weekend gathering was “the church,” the objection would indeed be valid. But we don’t think this, precisely because this would be a very non-Anabaptist position to assume!

We rather view our “mega” weekend gathering to be nothing more than that – a weekend gathering.  It’s a large event that provides us with an opportunity to teach the Gospel and to begin to make disciples by drawing weekend attenders into our much smaller house churches. The event, therefore, isn’t the church, but simply a means of building the church. In this sense, it would be more accurate to see Woodland Hills as a network of house churches that happens to have a “mega” week event than it is to see us as a mega-church.

Introducing the MennoNerds Network

I’m proud to announce that the Emerging-Anabaptist is part of a new network called MennoNerds. Ok, so if you follow me on Twitter or even regularly follow the blog, you’ve probably heard of this and it isn’t really “new.” But I’ve finally gotten the site to the point that I feel comfortable promoting it. So here’s a quick introduction:

MennoNerds Logo

Gender - Male and Female Gummy

Church History Matters: Contextual Theology

I have a pet peeve in a lot of conversations with other Christians (particularly but not exclusively conservative Protestants): most Christians seem to be not only completely oblivious to their history but also don’t think that there’s any reason to change that.

Even conservative Christians will usually admit that the Bible has context. They don’t necessarily try to understand it before concluding the absolute truth for all time from the text, but they will usually admit it is theoretically there when they are asked. They don’t, however, admit that theological development of the past 2000 years – in other words, how we’ve interpreted the Bible – also all came from a context.


The Anabaptist Reading of Scripture

If you’re struggling to get your head around what separates Anabaptism from other Christians, I think this is the heart of it: we view Scripture through the lens of Jesus as we believe that this is how Scripture and Jesus speak of their own relationship. Most of the things which stand out as distinct – nonviolence, church-state separation, adult baptism, etc. – derive from this Christocentrism. Greg Boyd explains it really well in this sermon from a couple of weeks ago.

John Howard Yoder on Logos

Earlier today I was contacted by someone in the marketing department for Logos Bible Software. He wanted me to know, and to pass on to you the reader, that they now have available for pre-order a collection of works of John Howard Yoder. In case you’re unfamiliar with Yoder, here’s the description:

John Howard Yoder (1927–1997), professor of theology and ethics, was widely respected for his work on Christian pacifism, ecclesiology, and ethics. After leading relief and revival efforts in Europe after World War II, Yoder began teaching at both Goshen Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where his ideas on Christian pacifism made an indelible mark on his students. His influential works stirred up a whole new discourse in Christian political involvement.

Jim the Anabaptist Fireman

This has shown up a couple of times recently on my Google+ with my saved Anabaptist search. The comments that go with it usually find it hilarious. I’m not sure I get the humour, but maybe that’s just because I think their presentation of Anabaptist theology is quite ignorant. I’m assuming it was done in an attempt at humour so I’m not holding it against them or anything, but it is clearly an adventure in missing the point if they are trying to say something theological with it.

Essay: Menno Simons

This paper was initially written for the course Reformation and Revival in Winter 2012.

Of any of the Anabaptist leaders, the name Menno Simons is likely to be the most familiar. In fact, most would probably mistakenly assume that he was the founder of the Anabaptist movement, or at least of the Dutch Anabaptist movement. In reality, Simons did not even convert to Anabaptism until the movement was already a decade old in Switzerland and six years old in Holland. Instead, as this paper shall examine, “his real significance lies in the fact that he assumed leadership among the Dutch Anabaptists at a crisis point in their history, following the Munsterite debacle.”[1] Because of this and despite the fact that he inherited the movement from others, and initially conferred by the Reformed Minister John a Lasco, the name Mennonite stuck as the label for the biblical Anabaptists.[2] Although Simons was not the starting point for Anabaptism or even Dutch Anabaptism, for this reason it is fair to divide the eras of Dutch Anabaptism around Menno Simons: the before-Menno era, the with-Menno era, and the after-Menno era.[3]