restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Why I Love the Anabaptists

 David Alan Black  

I suggested in a previous series (click here for part 1) that the sixteenth century Anabaptists have much to teach us about following Christ. Discipleship – following after Jesus’ example – became the key Anabaptist criterion for describing the life of faith.

Here’s what they stood for. They believed in:

  • serving instead of ruling,

  • breaking down walls instead of isolationism,

  • biblical authority instead of ecclesiastical tradition,

  • brotherhood instead of hierarchy,

  • the towel instead of the sword,

  • the headship of Christ instead of that of any pastor,

  • the way of peace instead of “just war,”

  • the church as a living organism instead of as a human institution,

  • the reign of God instead of a political kingdom,

  • the catholicity of the true church instead of sectarianism,

  • the power of suffering instead of the cult of power,

  • the Bible as a book of the church instead of as a book of scholars,

  • loyalty to their heavenly citizenship instead of loyalty to the principalities and powers,

  • Spirit-orientation instead of forced structures of church life,

  • being a “light to the nations” instead of a Christian enclave,

  • suffering instead of inflicting suffering,

  • knowing Christ instead of merely knowing about Him,

  • faith that works (in both senses) instead of dead orthodoxy,

  • effectual grace as a living reality instead of as a theological dogma,

  • every-member ministry instead of clergyism,

  • baptism into Christ instead of baptism into a denomination,

  • a unity that is lived instead of a unity that is merely extolled,

  • welcoming the despised and marginalized instead of ignoring them,

  • a hermeneutic of obedience instead of a hermeneutic of knowledge,

  • individual conscience instead of theological conformity,

  • volunteerism instead of professionalism,

  • and allegiance to Christ instead of allegiance to the state.

Now you know why I love the Anabaptists!

July 12, 2008

David Alan Black is the editor of

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