The Anabaptist tradition in high demand!

In his new book “The Naked Anabaptist,” Stewart Murray shows the increased interest in “anabaptism.” Someone may ask, “what is new in an ‘insignificant’ 16th century Christian sect? This question could be answered by noting that “anabaptist” is not simply a time period as John H. Yoder once suggested.

Yoder put it succinctly, ” ‘Anabaptist’ is not a century but a hermeneutic (a way of reading scripture). It is represented for certain types of discussion by the 16thcenutry movement, but it can be valid a part from a particular period.” He continues, To be Anabaptist meant, in the 16th century, to claim that the recourse to Scripture was an authoritative guide for church renewal, to be applied not only to certain evident abuses but even to the basic structure and identity of Christendom which had been inherited from the centuries before. To take seriously this kind of recourse to Scripture means many other things as well, but structurally it means giving special attention to the dimensions of power and Voluntarism.” (From the Aspen essay entitled, “Anabaptist Vision and Mennonite Reality”).

I take that Yoder is right in framing the issue as he did above and given our generation’s resistance to power and control that flows through rigorous chain of command and the demand to comply, anabaptist’s dimension of power and voluntarism is more appealing to our generation in addition to its focus on the story of Jesus and the life of serious discipleship. Stewart’s assertion in his book that Christians are turning to anabaptism for guidance in this post-christian society was affirmed my wife Jessica’s post on facebook last evening. She wrote, thus,

“Jessica Okanya Is giving up the title, and all the baggage that comes with it- I am no longer a “Christian”- as defined by our current “Christian” culture- which often times is so far from the life and teachings of Jesus. Instead I am simply a follower of Jesus..on a journey, learning how to have a more authentic whole life faith. Thanks to Stuart Murray and his book “The Naked Anabaptist” for inspiring this!”

Within a short moment, she received over 20 responses to her post. Some are here below;

Akeia Rossiter-I have thought about that alot…
Amber Straughn me too.
Mary Minor I totally agree!! I, too, am a follower of Jesus.
Adam Fo I’m tired of how politicized it has become. It seems that in this country you’re either a Christian/Conservative/Republican or your some degenerate who is going to burn in hell.
Jessica Okanya Adam I think you would enjoy the book!
Charlene Benjamin Funny how the title given to the Jesus Freaks of the first century, in order to be sarcastic and make fun (“Who do they think they are? The little Christs. ha, ha, ha”), has become a banner that no longer reflects its origin. Interesting….I choose “faithful servant” or “friend” because that is what I want Christ to call me in the end.
Nelson Okanya Awesome. I am enjoying the book and will be blogging about it soon
Carla Sheats Heslop I bought the book for my Dad for Christmas. I’ll have to borrow it when he is done.
Judah Melton If only more people had half the common sense you do.
Tracey Brown Me, too.
Trina Trotter Nussbaum I so totally agree with you, Jessica!!!

Yes indeed! the radical tradition is back, most of the comments came from our church, Capital Christian Fellowship, a multicultural anabaptist congregation near Washington D.C. We are striving to live like followers of Jesus! I highly recommend the book.


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