By Harold S. Bender
"Judged via the reception it met by the hands of these in strength, either in Church and kingdom, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant international locations, the Anabaptist circulation was once probably the most tragic within the heritage of Christianity; yet, judged by means of the foundations, which have been positioned into play by means of the lads who bore this reproachful nickname, it has to be stated the most momentous and important undertakings in man’s eventful non secular fight after the reality. It accrued up the earnings of previous pursuits, it's the non secular soil out of which all nonconformist sects have sprung, and it's the first undeniable assertion in glossy background of a programme for a brand new kind of Christian society which the fashionable global, in particular in the US and England, has been slowly realizing—an completely unfastened and autonomous spiritual society, and a country within which each guy counts as a guy, and has his percentage in shaping either Church and State." those phrases of Rufus M. Jones represent the best characterizations of Anabaptism and its contribution to our sleek Christian tradition to be present in the English language.
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32 Capito, the reformer of Strassburg, wrote in 1527 concerning the Swiss Brethren: I frankly confess that in most [Anabaptists] there is in evidence piety and consecration and indeed a zeal which is beyond any suspicion of insincerity. For what earthly advantage could they hope to win by enduring exile, torture, and unspeakable punishment of the flesh? 34 Walter Klarer, the Reformed chronicler of Apenzell. Switzerland, wrote: Page 24 Most of the Anabaptists are people who at first had been the best with us in promulgating the word of God.
Böhmer-Kirn, op. , 97. 46. , 386. 47. P. " 48. Johannes Kühn, op. , 231. fol. 22v. 49. Ernst Müller, op. , 44. See Ernst Correll, op. , 15 f. on the attitude of the various Anabaptist groups on community of goods. 50. Horsch, op. , 317. 51. A. Hulshof Geschiedenis van de Doopsgezinden te Straatsburg van 1525 tot 1557 (Amsterdam, 1905), 216. 52. Bullinger, Der Widertäufferen Ursprung, fol. 129v. 53. John Horsch, The Hutterian Brethren 15281931 (Goshen, Indiana, 1931), gives the only adequate account in English of the Hutterian Brethren.
Related to Keller are the earlier Baptist historians (and certain Mennonites) who rejoice to find in the Anabaptists the missing link which keeps them in the apostolic succession of the true church back through the Waldenses, Bogomils, Cathari, Paulicians, and Donatists, to Pentecost. More recently there is Rufus M. Jones who is inclined to class the Anabaptists with the mystics, and Walter Koehler who finds an Erasmian humanist origin for them. However, there is another line of interpre- Page 13 tation, now almost 100 years old, which is being increasingly accepted and which is probably destined to dominate the field.
Anabaptist Vision by Harold S. Bender