This website is for the sake of God’s church, which consists of all believers worldwide who place their allegiance in Jesus Christ. It’s not an attempt to idolize one church tradition above all others, or to bash anyone anywhere who is serving God’s Kingdom. Why, then, is it called “Anabaptist Faith”?
Why the Anabaptist faith?
It is important for us to return to the apostolic faith, since what the apostles taught is complete and for all time. But misunderstandings and foreign doctrines over the centuries have deadened us to that faith. Still, many Christians throughout all these years have been returning to Jesus’ call individually and in groups. That’s where the Anabaptist faith comes in.
We believe that the Anabaptists for the most part faithfully recovered the apostolic faith. The core of the Anabaptist faith is that living as citizens of the Kingdom of God by obeying New Testament commands (like those found in the Sermon on the Mount) is essential to the Christian faith. Holding right beliefs is also important, but not as important as holy living. However, the theology we put forward here is not claiming to represent all Anabaptists. Instead, we’re offering biblically and historically sound argumentation that Anabaptists can use to better understand their faith.
We could just call this “the Christian faith” and not refer to the name Anabaptist. Some have argued that calling it “Anabaptist” is too limiting. However, the reason for this name is not pride, but an attempt at humility. Since all the different Christian denominations believe themselves to be living the true Christian faith, it seems only polite to admit that we hold to one of many Christian viewpoints, even though we believe our viewpoint is the closest to the original faith. We want to show respect for all Christians, even where we disagree with them.
Reconstructing the Ancient Faith
The Anabaptist movement started in the 1500s. That is a long time ago; it is also a long time after the founding of Christianity. Since the first Anabaptists hadn’t been given authority from the apostles, one could wonder why it would matter what they believed. Since they lived a long time ago (even though their spiritual descendants are found all over the globe today), one could wonder why what they believed still matters. What exactly did the Anabaptists do that would make them worth emulating?
Here’s an analogy. When Jews from all over the world returned to the land of their history, Hebrew was a dead language that survived only in highly-altered derivative languages, like Yiddish. Yet the Jewish people wanted to speak their original tongue.
Scholars reconstructed ancient Hebrew and taught it to modern Yiddish speakers, finding old Hebrew words for new technologies and innovations, like computers and cars. Today, Modern Hebrew is therefore a reconstruction of that ancient language. It differs in some dialectal ways, and there are some inaccuracies that could be corrected. Eventually, the language will probably again diverge farther and farther from Hebrew as time goes on. However, for many people, it has made an ancient language come alive again.
Similarly, in the Reformation, when many Reformers were content to return to a form of Christianity that post-dated Constantine, the Anabaptists, through their unique way of faithfully reading Scripture, were able to reconstruct the faith that was taught before Constantine and the council of Nicaea. They were not perfectly accurate in every area, and there were many groups among them that followed crazy interpretations. Still, we can tell from reading the pre-Nicene Christians that the distinctive beliefs of the Anabaptists closely followed the original faith. In fact, the Anabaptists pioneered the idea of separation of church and state, a doctrine that was held in the early days of Christianity, and which most people in the West believe today.
So that’s why the Anabaptist faith is valuable. It is one of the major traditions within Christianity that resulted in a large shift back toward apostolic Christianity, and one of even fewer traditions that are alive today while still having kept many of the distinctively Christian beliefs that the original Anabaptists rediscovered.
Encouraging All Christians
We want to provide these articles in a spirit of humility. Many Roman Catholics and Protestants have studied these issues longer than we have. Maybe we’ll find that we’re wrong. However, it seems that other Christians haven’t had a chance to engage with good reasons for the Anabaptist faith. Since we believe it is left untried by many Christians today, sometimes because they have never seen any good reasons for it, we want to present those reasons in an accessible format.
By providing sound reasons for the apostolic faith, which the Anabaptists have helped us rediscover, we hope to encourage all Christians—Protestant, Catholic, or any others, in the unchanging faith. The point is not to find the right church, but to find the right faith. And through strengthening the intellectual tradition of the Anabaptists, who still adhere to many of the values of the earliest Christians, we hope to encourage stable people who can build the church for the sake of the one who died for them.
Defending the Apostolic Faith
Our aim is not to represent all Anabaptists. That would be difficult! There are many Anabaptist churches and there are many who don’t call themselves Anabaptist, but believe in the same faith.
I aim to defend the faith of the New Testament and the early church, which we hope to show resembles the Anabaptist faith in pretty much all the essentials. The goal is a living, apostolic faith that is rooted in the teachings of the apostles and can take its stand among the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox faiths without fear. We intend to keep updating the articles on this website to respond to the best arguments from the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant perspectives.
What is most important is whether what we write lines up with what the apostles taught in the New Testament. Search that out. Read our citations and the context around them.
We invite you to join us in building God’s Kingdom. Here are a few opportunities that are immediately available:
- To support this ministry, please consider donating.
- If you would like to write an apologetic for Anabaptism for this website, please contact us.
- If we have facts or doctrines wrong, please comment or contact us with clarifications and corrections.
About the Authors
Lynn Martin, editor, is a poet, writer, organizer, and a committed Anabaptist. He edits for the Curator and writes for Think Truth. He grew up steeped in an Anabaptist heritage, and loved it. As he grew older, he became more critical of Anabaptist churches, but after wrestling with the essence of Christianity, he came to a deep appreciation for the way Anabaptists had revitalized the faith that the apostles held two thousand years ago. He also came to love and appreciate Anabaptists themselves, with all their strengths and their flaws. He serves as a deacon at Chambersburg Christian Fellowship.