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Category Archives: Anabaptist Theology

Two extremes

If you want to read something incredibly stupid, make sure to check out Mark Tooley’s dreck, “Mennonite Takeover.” This lovely piece of “writing” wonders if the malignant Neo-Anabaptists of today will someday repent of all the mean things they say about “traditional American Christianity,” you know, since mainline Christians have apologized profusely for killing all […]

Anabaptists and Ecumenism

I mentioned earlier Rowan Williams’ charitable comments about the Anabaptist/Mennonite stream of the Christian faith, and the important contribution it bears for the rest of Christianity as a whole. While I appreciate Williams’ comment greatly, the occasion — not the comment itself — reminded me of what I think is a common problem in the […]

Powers and Practices §2: Philip Stolzfus

The second chapter of Powers and Practices is a far cry, in terms of quality, from the first, and hopefully all the following essays. It is entitled “Nonviolent Jesus, Nonviolent God?” and it attempts to critique Yoder for allegedly not going far enough in purging his “concept of God” of violent images, such as those […]

On the Martyrdom of Michael Sattler

Brad posts the reasons given by the authorities for the torture and murder of Michael Sattler, one of the key figures in sixteenth century Anabaptism: “First, that he and his adherents have acted contrary to the mandate of the Emperor. “Secondly, he has taught, held and believed that the body and blood of Christ are […]

Is Conversion an Act of the Will?

To continue with the theme of voluntarism, let us examine a claim often made against advocates of believers’ baptism. It is generally argued that to require the subject of baptism to be professing believers is to make the grace of God contingent upon an act of the human will (voluntas). That is, by insisting that […]

More on the Voluntariness of the Church

According the free church tradition, only those who believe in Christ as Lord should be baptized into the church as members of his body. As such, for this tradition membership in the body of Christ is voluntary. It is not imposed, but rather is given to those who come to baptism out of a desire […]

The Voluntary Church

John Howard Yoder often gets critiqued (the work of Oliver O’Donovan is a good example) for his alleged “voluntarism.” Yoder, being an Anabaptist is, of course, opposed to infant baptism and insists that membership in the church must always be a voluntary, free, and uncoerced reality. Thus, the baptism of children is suspect for Yoder […]

Against “Christian” Education of Youth

Yoder has some pretty harsh (and quite Anabaptist) comments about the notion of churches attempting to deploy “education of the young people” as a sociological tool to preserve the church from the acids of the world. He attacks pretty furiously the notion that we have to work to “keep the young people.” He couches this […]

Does the Church Precede the World?

John Howard Yoder famously makes the claim that the “church precedes the world” in at least two key senses: “The church precedes the world epistemologically. We know more fully from Jesus Christ and in the context of the confessed faith than we know in other ways. The meaning and validity and limits of concepts like […]

Yoder on Protestant Identity

“All that is sure about ‘Protestant’ identity is that it is not Roman Catholic: it does not have a pope or magisterium with theologically imperative, morally binding authority, nor a structure of confession and absolution wherewith to educate and enforce. Yet that negation is not made on behalf of a counter-patriarch or an anti-magisterium, but […]

Benedictine Community and Anabaptist Ecclesiology

Anabaptism is unique among all ecclesial frames for reference derived from the Reformation in many ways, one of which involves its Catholic roots and specifically Benedictine roots. Unlike Luther the Augustinian, Calvin the lawyer, or Zwingli the Christian humanist, the Anabaptist tradition arose largely in the soil of the Benedictine tradition. This is seen most […]

The Purple Crown: A Review

The Purple Crown: The Politics of Martyrdom is the second book in Herald Press’s excellent new series, “Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies.” Chris Huebner’s book, A Precarious Peace opened up the series with a book of supreme quality, erudition, and sophistication. Tripp York’s The Purple Crown proves to be a solid addition to the series and a […]

Martyrological Epistemology

In his superb book, A Precarious Peace, Chris Huebner explores the connection between epistemology and martyrdom: “Martyrdom names and approach to knowledge and a way of life more generally which assumes that the truth of Christ cannot somehow be secured, but is rather a gift received and lived out in vulnerable yet hopeful giving in […]

Radical Reformation Historiography

One of the contributions of John Howard Yoder to Anabaptist ecclesiology and ecumenism is the way in which he articulates clearly the sort of historical method that underlies a Radical Reformation orientation. This is precisely the historical method that Yoder puts to work in his book, The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited. He claims that “There is […]

States of Exile: Great New Stuff From Herald Press

Herald Press continues to grace me with a steady supply of their new and excellent books.  The most recent one is the third volume in the incredibly good Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies series.  States of Exile: Visions of Diaspora, Witness, and Return by Alain Epp Weaver is a potent analysis of the nature of exile, […]

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