Key Definitions

Some of the terms Anabaptists use aren’t familiar to non-Anabaptists. Also, some of the terms I’m using on this site aren’t widely understood. So this post is meant to include short, understandable definitions of the terms as I use them. If any of these definitions aren’t clear enough, please let me know.

Terms Used by Anabaptists

These are doctrines and practices specific to Christianity. I have included examples of practical applications of these doctrines.

  • Believer’s baptism—the practice of reserving baptism for those who choose to believe in Christ
    • Baptism on one’s confession of faith—baptizing someone after they have declared their faith in Christ
    • Don’t forcibly baptize a nation
    • Baptize adults rather than infants
  • Two kingdoms/two-kingdom concept—the doctrine that Christianity has nothing to do with earthly governments, and Christians should have as little to do with governing as possible.
    • Respect and obey all governing leaders
    • Don’t lobby or vote
    • Don’t hold political office
    • All patriotism goes to the Kingdom of God
  • Separation from the world—the doctrine that we shouldn’t be drawn into caring about the things that mainstream society cares about
    • Especially give to your church community
    • Choose clothing, vehicles, and homes for how they fit Kingdom values, rather than following fashions or expectations
    • Be careful what entertainment you watch
    • Don’t take part in the pursuits that are driven by celebrity culture, like fashion, sports, etc.
  • Nonresistance—the doctrine that Christians should be nonviolent peacemakers, doing good rather than harm, even to enemies.
    • Actively show love to everyone, neighbor or enemy
    • Do not do violence even in self-defense
    • Don’t sue anyone or take anyone to court
    • Stay away from entertainment that glorifies violence
    • Be willing to lose your life in order to bring peace into a situation

Terms Used in These Arguments

  • Ante-Nicene Fathers/pre-Nicene Christians—the orthodox Christians who lived before the Council of Nicaea in 325
  • Apostolic tradition/teachings—the instructions for all Christians that the apostles handed down to the churches they established
  • Canon—a trusted (but not necessarily authoritative) list of which books are considered Scripture
  • Doctrinal authority—what defines true Christian doctrine (Scripture, Church, or Apostles)
  • Exegesis—reading and interpreting a text
  • Hermeneutic—a method for interpreting a text

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