In the past I have been very critical of the Southern Baptist Convention and their relatively newfound fascination with Anabaptism. Recently I have been rethinking my stance on the matter and the SBC in general when it relates to this subject. And I realized that I have a lot in common with them, and in light of some recent events this has become even clearer to me. Take for instance many of my beliefs that I attained from my study of the proto-Anabaptists would be considered conservative or as my progressive critics would most likely call “Fundamentalist” a point which I would vehemently disagree.
My belief model originates with the 16th century Anabaptists and therefore if it is “fundie” in nature then the designation applies to those men and women from the past as well. Wearing pejoratives goes with the Anabaptist territory. Another area that I share with this particular segment of the SBC is a passionate dislike of Calvinism and Reformed thought, which is inherent in Anabaptist thought. My last point I would like to bring attention to is a shared appreciation for the source material (whether it be in the original German or English translations). Who better to define Anabaptism than the Anabaptists themselves?
Now with that being said, I still have issues with the SBC when it relates to implying a historical connection with Anabaptism that can barely be made to begin with. And naturally I have issues with traditional views that the SBC held to for many years and some even today regarding war, military service, political involvement and issues relating to “race”. Now I know all SBC members do not approach those matters in the same fashion but those are still relevant issues that need addressing.
Last night I went ahead and purchased The Anabaptists and Contemporary Baptists: Restoring New Testament Christianity edited by Malcolm B. Yarnell III.
Not too long ago I was granted limited access to the work and from what I looked at it was a good effort. The authors actually went to the sources i.e. the original Anabaptists and took what they believed and tried to demonstrate how we can apply those teachings at present. I do not see that much today, in its place I see political and social ideology passed off as Anabaptism.
Going forward I think I am going to reach out to some of these Baptists and see what comes of it.