Church History: The Anabaptists, Part 1

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139 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Imagine … baptism as sedition… just like in the days of ROME. Powerful revelations in these events.

  2. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael.

    It’s chilling to see how Christianity was used by the hands of civil government in collusion with the church. The armor of Christ became iron and steel, and the mind of Christ became emperor or king. May the church always remember its past.

  3. JTK says:

    The Reformers who received grace are unwilling to show grace to the next generation of Reformers?

  4. Ah, my favorite period in church history!

    I think there is more evidence for polygenesis – many individual groups springing up – than there is that Anabaptism was born with an event in 1525. I also think there is a pretty direct line to the Waldensians, which goes back to at least the 1100’s.

    That being said, it is impossible to date a vague, loosely connected movement, and I understand the desire to place a thumbtack on the calendar. So, well done!

  5. papiaslogia says:

    Anabaptists in this period are where we really begin to see a bunch of unknown people taking the Scriptures personally and REALLY running with them, which makes . Which makes me think that many of these disparate currents were there all along.

    Anabaptists are comprised of various groups, maybe this graphic will help: http://radixanabaptism.com/2013/05/28/categorizing-anabaptistica/

  6. Michael says:

    A few thoughts…

    I would not be overly critical of the Reformers for their mindset.
    This was how the world had worked for hundreds of years.
    Their objectives were noble…a godly society.
    The results are what we should take note of.

    Josh, I can’t find that line back to the Waldensians…that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but it appears that this movement came about from the renewed emphasis on Scripture at this time.

    We will be looking at the three main groups that comprised the radical Reformers…this group tends to get overlooked in favor of the Lutherans and the Reformed, but it’s my belief that this group has more to teach us today.

    I’ve been damned to hell a lot lately by the brethren…accused of being outside the faith because of “political” issues…I’m very glad that the church no longer has the power of the sword.

  7. ” it appears that this movement came about from the renewed emphasis on Scripture at this time.’

    Oh, totally agree. I just think it was more organic than a singular event, and obviously had roots in other movements.

    As far as the link to the Waldenses, I’ve read many scholarly sources from both sides and both were adamant that their position is correct. I can only say that in examining the evidence, it seems more likely to me that there is a link.

  8. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s possible.
    I haven’t read that scholarship, so it would be foolish for me to comment on it.

  9. I live by a college that TOTALLY buys into it, and I think that either A) they are right. There is a direct link between the Waldenses and the Anabaptists, or B.) There were smaller, similar groups in different parts of the world that did evolve from the Waldenses.

  10. The guiding light of the radical reformers was “if Rome does it, we won’t.”

    They are the kind of guys when they found out Catholics brushed their teeth, knocked out their own.

  11. “if Rome does it, we won’t.”

    That’s part of what I love about them.

  12. Josh, I know and evangelicals have been explaining away their theology and practices that way for centuries.

  13. The Radical Reformers weren’t Evangelicals were they?

  14. The battle cry out of the Radical Reformation was and is today “that’s too Catholic!!” LOL 🙂

  15. Jean says:

    “The battle cry out of the Radical Reformation was and is today “that’s too Catholic!!”

    MLD, is that why churches like CCFL have no cross in their sanctuary and prefer the movie theatre atmosphere?

  16. “Believer’s Baptism” is the overarching cry of the Radical Reformers.

  17. papiaslogia says:

    “The Radical Reformers weren’t Evangelicals were they?”

    Depends what you mean by “Evangelical”.

    Were they proselytizing their views – you betcha. I cannot explain their rapid growth otherwise.

    Did that get them into trouble – you betcha. When someone “converted” to Anabaptist, they had to rethink their political as well as religious views.

    Such as… paying taxes to their local prince – do you do it or not? What if he’s Lutheran or Reformed?

    What trips me out in these discussions is the relative lack of the whole Scriptures that they must have had back then. They had pamphlets and some of the more well to do folks might have had books, but by in large, how does this discourse occur?

    I think that the answer was – Word of mouth…..

  18. Jean,
    “MLD, is that why churches like CCFL have no cross in their sanctuary and prefer the movie theatre atmosphere?”

    1.) yes
    2.) they don’t want seekers to know that they are walking into a church.

    It’s funny, because we as Lutherans ( and there are others) open with “we are gathered here in the name of the Father, and the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit” – because we want to let anyone who may have accidentally walked into our building know the purpose of our gathering.

  19. Xenia says:

    First words of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy:

    “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, unto ages of ages.”

    And the people reply “Amen.”

  20. The Radical Reformers were not trying to hide their Christianity, they were dying for their Faith. That charge is silly and baseless.

    The question was asked about CCFL, but CCFL is not in the line of the radical reformers, that I am aware of.

  21. Xenia says:

    Calvary Chapel descends from Four Square (Sister Aimee)
    Four Square comes from the Pentecostal movement
    The Pentecostals come from the Methodists (The Holiness idea)
    The Methodists come from the Anglicans

    So CC is not directly connected w/ the Anabaptists.

    I believe the only genuine descendants of the Anabaptists today are the Mennonites.

  22. Opening line at an evangelical church (anabaptist or not) – “How’s that coffee?”
    LOL 🙂 just lightening up things around here.

  23. Why are we equating Anabaptists with Evangelicals and CCFL?!?!

  24. covered says:

    Dang… I’m going to just sit back and watch Josh, MLD, Xenia and a host of other friends parse this out. It’s great to have Josh back and I enjoy watching old friends share. Thanks Michael for providing the sand box. 🙂

  25. Join in covered! I miss talking to you. 🙂

  26. Xenia says:

    I’m happy to see you too, Josh!

  27. You too, Xenia!

    Question – Did you forget the Amish, not consider them legit ancestors of Anabaptists, or were you saying Amish and Mennonite are the same thing?

  28. Xenia says:

    I am a big fan of the Mennonites, by the way. When we home schooled, we used a lot of their curriculum, Rod and Staff. It was quite otherworldly. If Orthodoxy turned out to be false (will never happen) I would run away from home and ask a family of Mennonite farmers to take me in.

  29. Xenia says:

    Josh, I was lumping the Amish in with the Mennonites. There’s a few other rural groups likewise.

  30. I spent a few days last week with the Amish in PA. It was very interesting,

  31. Xenia says:

    I grew up in rural northeastern Ohio and the Amish lived in the counties just south of us. We used to buy cheese, sausage, and textbooks from them. Their lifestyle made me feel very wistful. Homesick for a place where I never actually lived. Their theology is not mine, of course.

  32. papiaslogia says:

    There’s Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, and Hutterites.

    http://radixthinking.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/anabaptist_denominations.jpg

    Guess no one reads my posts. 🙁

  33. The Amish in PA seemed to be a bit anti-education. I wonder if they differ across communities. Surely they do.

    They make good root beer. 🙂

  34. Xenia says:

    Ah, sorry Papias. My fault for lumping them all together.

    Josh, Rod and Staff curriculum only goes up to the 8th grade, as do some (most?) of their schools.

  35. I did read that earlier Papias, and it is a useful graphic. I think when I say Amish, I think of Old Order Amish. Maybe.

  36. “Rod and Staff curriculum only goes up to the 8th grade”

    Ahhh! Mel, our buggy driver, mentioned that the kids only go to school til 14 and then they go to work.

    He was very intent on the “One room school house”. I always assumed it was out of necessity, but some of the farms were so big, they could certainly have bigger schools. There seemed to be some kind of conviction behind it.

  37. Xenia says:

    I do remember (in a hazy sort of way) when I took church history at CC Bible College (extension campus) the teacher sort of plodded us through 1500 years of history that he didn’t personally relate to very well but when we got to the Anabaptists he perked up considerably and said something like “Now we are coming to a group that we have a lot in common with” or words to that effect.

  38. Xenia says:

    I took a nostalgic stroll down memory lane and visited Rod and Staff’s web site. They have textbooks up to the tenth grade now, I see.

    Boy, those books bring back happy memories.

  39. covered says:

    I want to give a shout out to the Mennonites in Haiti who will dig and install a new, fresh water well for $5000 which is awesome! I also love the fashion statement they make….

  40. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    Where in PA were you with the Amish? Horse and buggy only? Any electricity in the home?

  41. Bob says:

    I see a theme amongst all “radical reformers,” they seem to have begun with the reading of biblical text and finding fault in what the current organized church and rule are teaching and doing. However, things seem to be different today.

    It appears to me that the reformers of this generation and culture have been so indoctrinated by the culture that the bible is marginal and historical at best, reform seems to actually be anti-bible. Rather than searching the scriptures and roots of the faith many seem to deny what is being said and turn to the cultural perspective, with the best example being the current debate over homosexuality acceptance as a norm.

    Just some thoughts which came to mind as I read this thread.

  42. Kevin H – Lancaster County. They had horse and buggy, and these little scooters they kicked along. No electricity.

    Confession – We cheated. We stayed in a 200 year old farm house with a Presbyterian couple…and electricity 🙂

  43. Kevin H says:

    Josh,

    Yeah, you were probably with Old Order Amish. Possibly New Order as they split off from the Old Order but are still pretty similar. Just a little bit of differences in the rules from what I understand. But it was probably Old Order as they are much more common.

    Even so, the Amish of Lancsaster County are some of the most “liberal” of the Old Order. There are other Old Order communities in the state and other states which are even more strict and conservative, if you can belive that.

    Did you pickup any Pennsylvania Dutch while you were there? 🙂

  44. No Pennsylvania Dutch for me, though I can’t stop imitating the accent. The families we were around told me they spoke German in their homes, but I was told it wasn’t “real” German, but some sort of Pennsylvania German. Still, fascinating. My 11 year old daughter was just mesmerized by the whole experience.

  45. Sorry to hijack the thread with my vacation stories.

    Michael, I stopped in Gettysburg for a day, too, if you want to start a civil war thread 🙂

  46. Babylon's Dread says:

    My professor would tell us that history is a great river flowing and no one can judge another era of history until we have jumped into the current and encountered the forces they were faced with. Persecution had a logic to it. They believed that a heretic damned souls to hell and that it was better to silence a heretic that to allow his mischief to send people to hell.

    I will guarantee you that there are voices that agree with the logic and would still put you to the sword today if they had the power to do it. The times agreed with that logic. So people went to the gallows, to the dunking chair to the rack and to the block and were sent by those who felt they were doing the work of God.

    In our days the moral flood of sin has caught us all. We do not know how to defeat the forces so we make peace or war according to our ability and courage. In this forum we skewer both the warrior and the peacemaker.

    Such is history. Such is the force of the current.

  47. Kevin H says:

    Pennsylvania Dutch is a German dialect. It’s not Dutch at all. The German word for German is Deutsch, and so when the Germans were first settling here in Pennsylvania and were telling others who they were, the others thought they were saying they were Dutch. And then somewhere along the way, tehy got away from speaking their original pure German and ended up with what is now referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch. My great-grandparents on my Mom’s side of the family spoke it. Today, it’s pretty much only the Amish and maybe some very conservative Mennonite sects who speak it anymore.

    I’ve always have had an admiration for the Amish. Certainly can’t agree with a lot of their beliefs or methods, but I’ve still always admired them.

  48. Ahh! Thanks for that. I saw a lot of books about Penn. Dutch, then they told us they spoke German, I would have never put the two together. Awesome.

  49. Michael says:

    My belief is that the best of the Anabaptists were motivated by Scripture and conscience.
    As a Calvinist, it has been our norm to despise and degrade them…but I’m convinced we would do well to return to some of their basic precepts.
    Such will have to wait for an article or two, however…

  50. I don’t know that they were motivated by scripture – it always looked to me as if they were bailing anything that Rome or the government touched. The idea that they dumped infant baptism because the government had usurped it is wild.

    Nothing in scripture says to segregate who are allowed to be baptized and who cannot be baptized. The scripture say “go… and baptize’ I think the Anabaptist were saying no church has authority over me so I reject everything – even their baptism.

    This is the same thing that the atheists do who do their baptism reversal ceremonies.Anabaptists were the free thinkers of their day.

  51. Incorrect MLD. They were convicted that the scriptures teach Believe and be Baptised, NOT baptise your babies. They were so convicted of that they were willing to die.

  52. Muslims are so convicted that they are willing to die – so what does that mean?

  53. It means they are convicted.

  54. But conviction has nothing to do with accuracy or correctness.

    I think they were convicted that they did not want to do what the RCC was doing.

  55. Bob says:

    MLD:

    “I don’t know that they were motivated by scripture – it always looked to me as if they were bailing anything that Rome or the government touched”

    The question you bring up about motivation is valid, but I have to add when one has a motivation where do they turn?

    If these people either saw, felt or experienced wrath of the culture they would turn to the claimed source of their authority, the scriptures. So did the scriptures motivate or was it external, the results remain the same, they appear to answer their issues with scripture.

  56. Xenia says:

    I think the main distinctive that we see with today’s Anabaptists is their separation from the world, almost like monasticism in a family setting. No TV, no movies, no rock and roll, no Internet, very modest clothing, simple (yet difficult) life.

    Michael, you suggested that the next revival would be in the direction of the Anabaptists. You connected this with separation from government but when I think of Anabaptists, I think of separation from the world, that is, a radical unworldliness. Do you really see this happening? American Christians giving up their movies, iPhones and skinny jeans? I would love to see this but I think it is very unlikely at the present time.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    Muslims are so convicted that they are willing to die – so what does that mean?
    ———————————————————-
    Not to derail things, but most suicide bombers are younger men (and often women) the Muslim leaders were able to manipulate and brainwash to advance the earthly goals of the leaders. They are no different than cultists in some heaven’s gate like suicide pact.

    Let me ask you, when was the last time a major leader in Islam strapped on a bomb to go to the virgin paradise. I’m not talking about being killed in battle (while otherwise trying to survive with all the firepower at his disposal) but the willing giving of life in the Islamic form of martyrdom. To lay down any and all weapons and willingly offer himself to Allah’s will. Even Bin Laden went down fighting surrounded by his guards.

    There is zero comparison with the Christians of the past, many of whom were the most well known leaders that willingly, and without armed resistance gave their lives for Jesus and their convictions on what it meant to follow Him and take up His cross, in hopes of a better reward.

    Just an absolutely horrible comparison to remotely equate the two.

  58. Xenia says:

    JW’s have died for the sake of their Arianism, which they believe they find in the Bible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses

    Especially under the Nazis.

    I don’t put the Mennonites in the same category as the JW’s, of course.

    But just because someone thinks they see something in the Scriptures and are willing to die for their convictions doesn’t mean they are right.

  59. Steve,
    I was just responding to someone who was making the equivlence of conviction to being right. My point with the Muslim example is that one has nothing to do with the other.

  60. Bob,
    “So did the scriptures motivate or was it external, the results remain the same, they appear to answer their issues with scripture.”

    I think if you look at the actions of the radical reformers your question may be answered. had they just removed themselves from the ‘church scene’ and gone off to do their own thing, then perhaps you are right. But they destroyed people and property over this. They would tear down altars, break out stained glass windows, destroy statues, drag pastors from their churches and beat them.

    Doesn’t sound like gentle souls who went off into the hills to find truth from sciptures.

  61. Xenia says:

    Wait til we get to the Münster Rebellion.

  62. I like the Munsters although I think I watched more of the Adams Family. 🙂

  63. Steve Wright says:

    Convictions do not equal rightness, we all agree. However, I would argue that brainwashed people are not operating under “convictions” in the true sense of the word used here. And preserving one’s life is one of the strongest drives we have. That is why we universally agree that when one takes their own life by suicide they likely were not mentally well at the time (or in some cases they were intoxicated which is different but still speaks to a lack of sound mind at the moment of the act)

    Now, in contrast, if one is a Christian, that means the Holy Spirit has indwelt the person. That person has the mind of Christ. Now, we all may do things (or allow things to be done to us) that Christ would actually have us resist against – that are not in line with His will. Where we are not truly hearing and following His voice. And Church History obviously is rife with examples (though in some cases I would argue the attackers may in fact not have been born again and are in for a rude surprise at the judgement.

    There is an enemy – Satan – who leads all people in this world not led by the Holy Spirit. That is one of those absolutes (per Eph two) Led by Satan, or by God, but nobody is their own master, their own captain.

    My hope would be that no comparison of any kind be made to Christian martyrs with JWs, Muslims or anyone else, just because one sect disagrees with another sect’s take on the Scriptures – unless one just wants to come out and say such people were not really Christians and no different than JWs or Muslims in a false belief system, with no Holy Spirit to lead and guide them….and I don’t think anyone in this community is looking to do that.

  64. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m preparing to leave town so I missed your comment.
    One of the things I’m hearing from people on the backend (and feeling myself) is that many people want to practice a brand of Christianity divorced from partisan politics and nationalism.
    I also am hearing (and feeling myself) that all the social connectedness online is actually sometimes a deterrent to real community and the amount of hostility being demonstrated is a deterrent to a healthy spirituality.
    While I don’t envision radical Anabaptism gaining a major place in the market, the signs are that the next revival may be informed by it’s principles.

  65. Even Christians have crazy misfits.

  66. Anabaptist revival – didn’t we already do that? Wasn’t that what Christian dating and the V-Chips were all about?

  67. Xenia says:

    Michael, I don’t quite make the connection between divorcing oneself from the political realm, which I myself do with my localism and the Anabaptists, who I associate with unworldliness. It seems to me that turning one’s back on politics and nationalism can be done by all Christians, not just Anabaptists.

    Plus, I am not sure it is even a good idea for everyone to turn their backs on politics. In fact, I think that might just be a terrible idea, my own preferences notwithstanding.

  68. Xenia says:

    One of the things I’m hearing from people on the backend <<<

    This is a very curious statement, Michael.

  69. Bob says:

    MLD

    You probably haven’t forgotten the means of the day when “those who were right” was to do those things you mention. This wasn’t just a battle about racism, it was about whose understanding of scripture and therefore religious and political control, was correct.

    Today we sue over everything, use economic means and enact laws to force belief systems to often achieve the same or similar goals of domination as those of history.

  70. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I get a lot of email…and lately a lot more from people who fear commenting here and elsewhere because they don’t want to wear political labels for biblical convictions.

  71. Bob,
    “and enact laws to force belief systems to often achieve the same or similar goals of domination as those of history.”

    What laws have been passed that change or affect your Christian belief system? I cannot think of a single one that affects the individual and what he can believe.

  72. Babylon's Dread says:

    apolitical theology is an oxymoron … separatism is politics

  73. I think Jim Jones tried to withdraw from politics and form his own system

  74. Steve Wright says:

    The problem is with what is really just a two-party system. I fully understand why one would not want to be associated with the Republican Party – I know I don’t. The average Republican with any sort of power disgusts me. Fortunately, there at least is a move to primary some of these turkeys, though it often comes up short, it now has shown itself to be a legit threat (and the GOP response is “we have to stop our civil war” (gag))

    But good grief, while I can understand a Christian not wanting to vote Republican, it must be getting harder and harder to support the Democrat party (on the national level today) as it LEADS with gay activism and abortion. plus you can bet that if there is some malcontent whose life is so miserable that he/she must seek to remove crosses or other Christian references, attacking religious freedom, there will be an ACLU Democrat leading the case and hoping for a judge appointed by a Democrat governor or President.

    What America needs is about 6-7 parties getting at least 10% and no more than 25% or so support max that would require a coalition government to caucus and hold power.

    For example, if the GOP fractured into about 3 groups (the economic-only atheists, the social conservatives, the military wing etc) and the Democrats did the same (the social liberals, the unions, the welfare state/socialists, the mostly black voter, the mostly Jewish voter) there would have to be plenty of give and take and at the same time Christians in this country would not simply check-out from influence through the “pox on both their houses” mentality that exists today.

    I’ve been reading the Republicans are seriously thinking of pushing Romney again as the nominee in 2016. And he might be persuaded….maybe that would be the final piece of the fracture of the GOP…and maybe enough Christian Democrats will stand against the ungodly nonsense their party continues to endorse. Remember when the black voters stood strong against gay activism, largely due to Christian convictions. Now that the party has embraced perversion to the fullest, and all the big names like Obama, Hillary, Biden and others have changed their views, we see the black caucus coming right along – because the alternative is to possibly give the Republicans a win.

    No wonder so many Christians say they don’t want association with politics today. But if a minority party was needed for a working government, and we could pull up stakes and cause that government to collapse and order new elections (as is the case in many democracies in the world) THEN we would see some change,

    But America was designed for a 2-party system, and it is no coincidence that we always have had one, and when a legit 3rd party arose, within a short time one of the prior 2 parties died off.

  75. Jean says:

    I am still formulating my thoughts on the subject of “reform”, but where the Church can learn from the Anabaptist movement is not from any sort of radical withdrawal from the world, but a radical countercultural being in the world without being of the world. Taking up the commission of Jesus to be salt and light in the world; claiming the promises made to Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the world will be blessed.

    This reformation will not be measured by numbers or budgets, but by the singular biblical devotion of church members to the one true Lord (citizens of His kingdom being paramount) and the welfare of each other.

    This reformation will be led by the Holy Spirit as a bottom up movement. People in local churches agreeing to govern themselves and their fellowship not by the pattern of the world (i.e., “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” 1 John 2:16), but by the Word of God.

    If the church is moving into an era of post-Christendom, then the church should retrieve the mission it had before Christendom. That mission is accurately described in the New Testament. There is a definite political dynamic to the mission: Christ is Lord; Caesar is not. Christ will judge the living and the dead.

  76. Jean says:

    Steve,

    “plus you can bet that if there is some malcontent whose life is so miserable that he/she must seek to remove crosses or other Christian references, attacking religious freedom, there will be an ACLU Democrat leading the case and hoping for a judge appointed by a Democrat governor or President.”

    Why are you worried about a malcontent removing crosses when many of the churches today remove the crosses themselves?

    Any why are you so animated about fixing or saving the American political system? There is no mission or calling in the NT to political activision. For all we know, crappy civil government might just be the catalyst to revival in this country.

  77. “No wonder so many Christians say they don’t want association with politics today.”

    The problem is two fold.
    1.) People do not understand the doctrine of the 2 kingdoms – I am not looking for the civil kingdom to solve my faith problems and issues. The civil kingdom is to keep us safe, allow us to market our products and make the trains run on time.
    2.) People do not understand the doctrine of vocation – I have several Christian vocations, as a family person (husband, father, son, brother etc) along with a church vocation and a job vocation (employer, employee). I ALSO have a christian vocation to be a citizen in the civil kingdom … why would I want to run from that?

    If people understood this, life would be easier. Lutherans, who grew up in both kingdoms understanding vocation, do not sit around wringing their hands over these issues. Just do.

  78. Jean,
    “Taking up the commission of Jesus to be salt and light in the world; claiming the promises made to Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the world will be blessed.”

    Where do you see this? i see them holed up in their closed community – open for business as tourist attractions. I don’t see them out in the world being salt and light … in fact unless you go to them, they are pretty much those who hide their light under a bushel.

  79. Jean says:

    MLD, Read the immediately preceding sentence.

  80. Jean,
    “Why are you worried about a malcontent removing crosses when many of the churches today remove the crosses themselves?”

    You weren’t around during the heyday of this blog, but I used to tell the story that when Skip Heitzig became pastor at my old church and converted it to a CC, over a year period, he removed every cross from the property – all 27 … I counted.

    Can you imagine, those darn things make this place look too much like a church.

  81. Bob says:

    MLD:

    “What laws have been passed that change or affect your Christian belief system? I cannot think of a single one that affects the individual and what he can believe.”

    You miss my point about the means used for reform. At one time (not that long ago) it often comes with violence while today we force people to conform through “peaceful” means. Think about the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding and, BTW, lost in court. You could say it didn’t effect what you believed but it certainly changes the behavior of people as they attempt to avoid a similar situation.

    Also you forget about the “slippery slope” and how little things do effect what people believe. It wasn’t that long ago that many, if not a majority, believed in a supernaturally created world and yet today the Pope affirms evolution as the means God chose to accomplish His creation.

    The point isn’t the validity of a belief like creation or evolution it is how those beliefs are changed over time.

    I believe most of us “go with the flow” of our culture and the men whom this thread is about challenged the flow of their day.

    BTW what caused Luther to nail his thesis on the door of that church? He saw, he read, he reacted, and a fire started, which I believe far exceeded the complaints he nailed to the door on that fateful day.

  82. Steve Wright says:

    Any why are you so animated about fixing or saving the American political system?
    —————————————————————
    Uh….no. (might want to read the post again, and the posts from others that preceded it)

    As to your other comment…I make no apologies for my feelings towards those who desecrate the symbols of our Christian faith that by God’s grace have been part of our national heritage as well, and really don’t know what more to say to someone who is not troubled by the same…..we’re not the pagan Roman Empire of the New Testament.

    We are a uniquely blessed nation in the history of mankind and those blessings have come from the Almighty Himself…and I personally thank God for them. And to whom much is given, much is required, and liberty is sadly valued the most after it already is lost.

    And I know it is hard for you since you love the Lord and yet the party you support is behind the attempts to reduce the Christian influence as much as possible. They voted God out of their own platform in 2012 and then couldn’t even get the voice vote to vote Him back in. So I get it.

    And before the expected reply about our faith not being dependent upon landmarks, we might question why our God saw the value in them to teach the future generations – I have children and one day I hope grandchildren that will grow up in this country….Its just a small step towards “Who cares if they outlaw all the Bibles when they can’t take Jesus out of our hearts”…..some things are worth fighting for in order for the good of a future generation.

    I don’t have much tolerance for the Hezekiah mentality of “at least there will be peace and security in my time”…

  83. Bob says:

    MLD

    What bothered you so much about the removal of all those crosses? To some that follows the instruction to have no “graven images.”

    Personally I agree that having a dying or dead Jesus on the cross reminds the viewer of the wrong thing, He is alive, the first born from the dead, our living advocate and so much more.

    But Skip went further and removed the crosses. Makes it kind of Mormon don’t you think?

    I’ve exceeded my text limits so carry on!
    Thank you for the exchange.

  84. Jean – you are right – My eyeballs punctuated wrongly reading the previous sentence.

    So why do the Amish dress so funny and draw attention to themselves 🙂 Why do they all wear black – is it easier to make black cloth than orange cloth. They are like Hasidic Jews.

  85. Bob,
    There is no command to not have graven images – there is a command not to worship graven images. Right after God delivered the 10 commandments, he gave instruction on the temple furnishings, which included graven images.

    Jesus on the cross is where ALL the work was done – why would you want to remove that from view and hide it from the congregation?

  86. Jean says:

    MLD,

    “So why do the Amish dress so funny and draw attention to themselves 🙂 Why do they all wear black – is it easier to make black cloth than orange cloth. They are like Hasidic Jews.”

    I don’t know if this is a serious question or not, and you’re asking the wrong person anyway, but here goes: It’s easier in the morning to decide what to wear.

  87. Jean says:

    Steve,

    “I don’t have much tolerance for the Hezekiah mentality of ;at least there will be peace and security in my time’…”

    Why do you go to such places? How do you know what my mentality is? Kind of shuts down the conversation, doesn’t it.

    “And I know it is hard for you since you love the Lord and yet the party you support is behind the attempts to reduce the Christian influence as much as possible.”

    This will probably be difficult, if not possible for you to understand, but I don’t depend on the government to bolster Christian influence. The problem with the people I don’t support is that they give lip service to Christian values, but are on the forefront of the death penalty, unlimited guns for all of every shape and size, military intervention everywhere, removing what little environmental and food protections we have, denying science, eliminating the social safety net for the poor and unemployed, turning away the most vulnerable at the borders, and lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class. If that’s the Christian influence you support, I want no part of it.

  88. Bob says:

    MLD:

    Just seeing what you wrote, but you do prove the point that interpretation is everything.

    I don’t have a heartache about most Christian symbolism, as long as that’s all it is.

    But you didn’t answer about why you have such a thorn about Skip removing all the crosses?

    Did he do something wrong or do you just disagree with his reading of the text?

    NASB – “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them;”

    KJV – Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:

    Hebrew – idols/graven “pesel” from root word “to hew or to cut.”

    Interpretation is everything!

    Sorry I am a sinner, I have use all my allowance of texting.
    Thank you again.

  89. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think MLD was the only one who confused my statement on conviction. He is right. Muslims will die for their convictions. Jews did, JW’s did, etc.

    MLD was playing around with the idea that the Radical Reformers were just some snotty punks who didn’t like authority. Not true. No one dies for that. They had sincere convictons about their beliefs. That doesn’t mean they were right, I never said that. It means they totally believed they were right.

    I have to take that into consideration, because that either makes them admirable or very dangerous. Or maybe both.

  90. Steve Wright says:

    Why do you go to such places? How do you know what my mentality is? Kind of shuts down the conversation, doesn’t it.
    —————————————–
    Jean, I did not reply to you…you replied to ME first…are you now saying your comment to me above was an attempt at conversation? If so, it was a very weak one indeed.

    Now, as to the bulk of your #89, THAT is actually my point in the first post about the problems with the two-party system that you could have engaged with rather than the initial dismissive snark, and Jesus juke about NT apostles and government.

    I live in a town, a small one, pretty conservative too, and yet the American Humanists located in Washington D.C. have had two major legal wins against the fine people of my city, and no doubt those were very influential in scaring local pols (after a serious financial loss) to a 3rd win, just in my little town..JUST IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS. That’s quite a good run for Satan, huh.

    And that third win was not about landmarks, but rather the feeding and helping of homeless and very poor people in Jesus name. The same folks you care about – now being abandoned. You see, there IS a connection.

    As to my other point above. Here is the list of candidates the Humanists support with their PAC. Not fringe Green party types, but legit candidates trying to gain political power. 100% of them are Democrats, and no doubt, if you are in one of those districts, who you too will be voting for in the Fall.

    https://candidates.freethoughtequality.org/endorsements

    My original point was about how nice it would be for guys like you, and guys like me to find a common party with common ground that actually mattered in the ruling of our nation. So you did not have to pick one of these losers, and I would not have to pick one of the losers I often am dealt. That is what we could have discussed first.

    As far as “depending” on the government to bolster Christian influence (your word I certainly did not use), please tell that to your brothers and sisters around the world who do not have the luxury of such a laissez-faire attitude from the safety of a government that (presently at least) protects your Christian freedoms, as they fight to stay alive, keep their kids alive, hope for reuniting with their family.

  91. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Let me commend you for trying to offer a solution and for reaching across the table.
    Lately conservatives have only been reaching across the table to choke me out, so I appreciate it.
    Seriously.

  92. Jean says:

    Steve, I briefly looked at the link and the PAC supports candidates who support separation of church and state. Is that a problem? I think the experiment of evangelicals trying to win the favor of political power is a counter productive endeavor.

  93. Bob,
    “Did he do something wrong or do you just disagree with his reading of the text?”

    Sorry that I didn’t zero in on that part of your post. Let me put it this way – if a Church never had a cross or crosses I would have very little problem and would not make an issue. My first churches were CC with doves exclusively.

    But that was not the case here – this was a 25 yr old church that had crosses including one where the dove usually goes.Crosses are usually a no harm no foul issue – but what was Skip communicating when one after another they were gone? That is the issue,

    The story in the end was that the big cross on the platform was removed for remolding he said. For months I used to see it down in the basement as I worked in the food ministry.The night that I walked in to teach my last class, as I had decided to resign and leave the church, I see this glow in the sanctuary. I walk in and in the place where the old wooden cross had hung was now this backlit metal logo for the church – it was a combination of waves (we were near the beach) and pages flipping (I assume Bible pages.)

    It was like, boy am I glad I am leaving – we had a new cool corporate logo.

    So Bob, I know you don’t know, but if you had to take a guess, what do you think Skip was communicating about his view of church?

  94. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, you will appreciate that we are in the process of removing our big metal dove on the front/top of our building and replacing it with a big cross.

    We did the same a year+ ago to the pulpit face when one of the brothers built a new one.

  95. Steve, going from cross to dove or dove to cross to me is a non issue – but the question is back to you like I asked about Skip- what are you trying to communicate? or is it just a decorating decision? (which is OK too.)

  96. Steve Wright says:

    I want Lake Elsinore to know we are a church – using the universal symbol accordingly.

    (It is not a comment about our view of the gifts or our affiliation in any way)

  97. Steve Wright says:

    Hey MLD, Lutheran question for you. Does the ELCA call their pastors like you guys do in the LMS. From ELCA seminaries etc.

    We have both brands of Lutheran churches here and the ELCA one just announced a young female pastor, replacing someone (older male) who filled in the last 20 months.

    The LMS pastor I think has been there forever….

  98. Each has its own seminaries. LCMS can only call LCMS trained pastors.

    ELCA actually has pulpit fellowship with UCC, the Christian Reformed and Episcopal churches – so they could (I don;t know how often they do) call from those bodies also.

  99. Kevin H says:

    additional thought on current day Anabaptists while I’m thinking of it. There is a wide range today of how different Anabaptist groups interact or separate from the world. This can be seen some from the chart Papias linked to at #5 and again at #34. The Old Order Amish that we were discussing some earlier are at the extreme as far as being separate from the world. Then on the other end, you have some Mennonite and Brethren and Brethren in Christ groups who look pretty similar to the typical evangelical. They will still typically avoid politics and military service and generally remain pacifists, but besides that, there’s not much more distinctive about them separating from the world than other evangelicals. But they will still avoid the pitfalls that other evangelicals sometimes fall into where the import of politics seemingly trumps the import of living out the gospel.

  100. Bob says:

    MLD

    I wish I could tell you what Skip was communicating, but my eyes cross and I can’t see straight with just about anything CC. I might suggest it was all about him and his teaching.

    What I would really object to is being deceived, as it appears from your description, in the whole process.

  101. Nonnie says:

    Steve’s 98….Respect!!!

  102. Jim says:

    Jean,

    I’m an Article 1, Section 8/10th Amendment guy who believes progressives are mostly well intentioned. The problem for me, and for progressives I interact with, is that we don’t understand each other at all.

    I promise that I won’t argue with you, and I have no taste for yet another fruitless debate on the topic. I’d just like your opinion.

    Could you please name maybe five things that the Federal Government does really well?

  103. Jean says:

    Jim #105,
    How do you define “really well”? Against what bench mark? Compared to what?

    I’d like to answer you, but I need some definitions.

  104. Jim says:

    Jean,

    You can use your own descriptors. Adequate, pretty good, excellent, etc….

  105. PP Vet says:

    Compared to anarchy, the Federal Government does everything extremely well, and is beyond wonderful. And I am very very grateful for it every day.

    Compared to a free market, the Federal Government does everything atrociously. With the possible exception of highways, which is does only badly, and national defense, which compared to a theoretical free market option, it does well but with staggering inefficiency.

  106. PP Vet says:

    And by the way, this church history series is just great.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    Jim’s question (if I may Jim) is FEDERAL government….in other words, in lieu of state and local. Anarchy is not on the table, nor necessarily is the private marketplace the only option to compare with….

    The Constitution (and those of us who would like to be governed by it) is not “anti-government” in any general/anarchy sort of sense.

  108. PP Vet says:

    I understand your point, SW, but to paraphrase the late great Margaret Thatcher: Anarchy is on the table every single day.

  109. PP Vet says:

    Of course what she actually said, which I would expect most of us recall, was:

    “The veneer of civilization is very thin.”

    Anarchy is not on the table for most of us as a potentially willfully chosen alternative, true. But an ever-present threat nonetheless.

  110. Jean says:

    #107,

    I think the Federal Government does a good job in the following areas:

    National Defense and anti-terrorism
    Environmental Protection
    NASA
    Food Safety
    Disaster Relief
    Social Security and Medicare
    Regulating Banks and Financial Markets
    Promoting Equal Opportunity and Voting Rights

    One point I would like to put on the table: There is a valuable role that the Federal Government plays, which I don’t think is often talked about or appreciated by the public, which is to prevent (or limit) the various States from engaging in a “race to the bottom” in their competition with one another. In my profession, the two greatest examples I’ve seen are in the areas of State corporation laws and asset protection laws. In other areas, a “race to the bottom” can impact the environment (such as clean air and water – remember the acid rain problems of the 60s and 70s in the NE), and virtually any interstate commerce activity (or activity which impacts more than one State) which is left entirely to the States.

    I don’t advocate a Federal takeover of everything or more than the Constitution allows. There are issues which are squarely within the Federal domain, others squarely within the State domain, and others where the Federal Government and the State should partner.

    I think the influence of money in our election system and the large amounts of money spent on elections and lobbying are a bigger threat to our country than Federal Government overreach. Because it is the former which is responsible for corruption and crony capitalism IMO.

  111. Jean says:

    My #113, I would add drug safety to my list of activities the Federal Government does good.

  112. Jim says:

    Thanks Jean.

  113. People who want to romanticize the Amish lifestyle need to seriously read books like this.
    http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-Amish-A-Memoir-ebook/dp/B0051CC7LC/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

  114. Gregory says:

    Briefly browsed the comments and am quite agitated by the lack of respect and banter. Interesting how the written word comes across in my mind. Short and curt seems to be the tone I’m feeling from the article like the ones doing the burning and drowning write the history that the article is based on. Romanism (catholic-protestant-orthodox) is still alive here Michael, very sad. I think you need to start with this Confession and recognize swirling vortexes of spirituality on the fringes….some resources below.

    http://www.bibleviews.com/Schleitheim.html
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOkpYVi6zHw
    http://www.worldcat.org/title/anabaptism-and-reformation-in-switzerland-an-historical-and-theological-analysis-of-the-dialogues-between-anabaptists-and-reformers/oclc/56329782
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Naked-Anabaptist-Essentials-Collection/dp/0836195175

  115. Gregory – I read your Articles of Schleitheim – if you were trying to point out a religion of law you succeeded. Not a mention of the gospel in there – all law – oaths and bans.

    This is the problem of the anabaptist – they thought Rome was 100% wrong. In other words they said that God had totally lost control of his church and the anabaptists were now going to show God how it was done.

    I said last week, the creed of the anabaptists is “step aside God and let us show you how it is done.”

  116. Jean says:

    MLD, your indictment deserves a response. Perhaps someone here or someone Michael might invite could respond from an Anabaptist perspective.

  117. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Do you actually believe half the stuff you write?
    Like Luther didn’t make radical changes to Roman doctrine…

  118. Michael says:

    We’ll look at the mainstream Anabaptists next week…

  119. Steve Wright says:

    The gospel is laid right out there in the first article on baptism. And looks like the whole thing is loaded with direct Scripture quotes and references

  120. Michael,
    First, read my post – it was addressed to Gregory as a response to what he said and to the links he posted.

    He is the one who made the challenge by linking to The Articles of Schleitheim. If you think those represent Christian values,well go right ahead.

    Luther was like a surgeon in what he wanted changed in the RCC – not a bulldozer like the anabaptists.

  121. Steve,
    I don’t see how it can be gospel if you have to earn your baptism.

  122. Michael says:

    I was going to respond further, but it’s already too silly…

  123. Michael,
    If you refuse to read what Gregory said, then I guess your mind is made up and closed. He has stated that the divide is his Anabaptist beliefs, represented bythe links he posted against Romanism, which he describes as catholic-protestant-orthodox.

    His description from the POV of an Anabaptist is correct. If Rome does it, then it is Romanism and anti biblical andwrong. If anyone still does anything that Rome does, they too are classified as Romanists..

  124. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’ve been neck deep in reading Anabaptist history for a while now.
    In my opinion you grossly oversimplify the issues in play.
    We all know that if it isn’t LCMS it’s wrong in your opinion…I take a bit broader view of things.

  125. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t see how it can be gospel if you have to earn your baptism.
    ———————————————–
    Even with the differences you now have on baptism compared to all the guys out there like me, there is no way these words you typed express what you think all of us believe….”earn your baptism”

    Like Michael said, it is too silly to discuss if you actually think this…and if not, then you are just bored. 🙂 (I know the Dodgers played an early game today…)

  126. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD,
    .
    Luther is the author of this whole matter. He said no and the magistrate saved him. The radicals also said no. They are not all one but they are all one with Luther. They took his liberty of conscience and ran with it,

    Luther thinks he placed scripture above the Popes and Councils and he did but he also enthroned conscience and reason.

    We always want to set the boundaries but the boundaries never lie where we leave them.

  127. Michael – I don’t know why you don’t engage my comments based on why I made them – Gregory’s comment.

    All I can conclude is that your neck deep study has cemented an already narrow view.

  128. Michael says:

    MLD,

    BD nailed it at 129.

  129. Steve, I made no comment about your view of Baptism.
    The comment I made about ‘earning your baptism’ followed from The Articles of Schleitheim .

    My comment was not about baptism, but about the lack of gospel in that article – it was all law.
    What the believer must do – what he can’t do – what he will be banned from.

  130. Michael,
    There is a reason that history has chosen to call these folks the RADICAL reformers.

    So if the Anabaptist are right, why aren’t you one?

  131. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Where…oh, where…did I say they were right?

  132. I said they were wrong and then you said I was wrong about them being wrong.

    Make your own application. 😉

    btw, I know that you don’t think they are right or you would be one. See, you are just as narrow minded as I am ,,, nicer yes, but just as narrow.

  133. Gregory says:

    The resources are for everyone’s edification. Read or watch all the links especially the John Howard Yoder thesis. He did direct research at the University of Basel and handled the original Zurich city council documents to study the dialogue between Zwingli and his former students…..If I were to attach a label to myself it would be evangelical-anabaptist-quaker christian. When I do this it brings a bunch of baggage I have to sift through theologically because these labels were given by the roman church to so called heretics whom brought up great questions against the Institutional Church of the day. Whether Rome or the Reformed English church. So I prefer to be a follower of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth which is what is taught in the New Testament. I hate the hyphenated christian label….just a lover of JESUS….forgot about this resource….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Osuctvq4QU

  134. Just Josh says:

    Unfortunately, I use to enjoy sharing large swaths of ignorance.

  135. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’ve learned that ignorance is a gift and an opportunity if I recognize it…and I recognize I have a great deal of it…

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