Historic Anabaptism and the Orthodox God: Follow Up

Found an interesting comment today that encapsulates the heart of the Anabaptist position regarding orthodoxy.  The Dutch Mennonite elder Tieleman Jansz van Braght (1625-1664) in his work the Martyrs Mirror: The Story of Seventeen Centuries of Christian Martyrdom From the Time of Christ to A.D. 1660 during the course of his analysis of the Council of Nicea he presented the epitome of the Anabaptist’s position on the historic orthodox creed.

This is the great Council which is extolled as orthodox and Christian by nearly all so-called Christians. Be this as it may, we see no reason to praise it so highly, seeing that we must honor the precepts of God’s holy Word alone, whereas the rules of that council were made by fallible men. Yet, so far as these men have laid down precepts that accord with the precepts of God’s holy Word, or, at least, do not militate against them, so far we accept, or, at least, do not oppose them.[1]

Scripture was the Anabaptist’s standard for determining those in the Body of Christ. Scripture was the means for defining the nature of God. The Christological narrative that they found in scripture was the foundations for their principal teachings and praxis. The above principal would apply across the board to include Niceno–Constantinopolitan, Chalcedon and Athanasian or any other historic ecumenical statement of belief that originated leading to or during the “Constantinian shift” or “reversal”.

 

 

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[1] Thieleman J. van Braght, Martyrs Mirror (Scottdale, PA and Waterloo: Herald Press, n.d.), 156, accessed June 30, 2014, http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/martyrs019.htm.

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Historic Anabaptism and the Orthodox God

At present many profess to adhere to some form of Anabaptism, they will attempt to mix and match all forms of (in my opinion incompatible) forms of Protestant and Roman Catholic practices and teachings and contriving a plethora of fantastical names to differentiate their supposed unique form of Anabaptism. Yet probably the one common thing a person can claim about these Neo-anabaptists is that they make a profession of orthodox belief regarding the nature of God and Christ. That is they claim to hold to the Trinity. It’s also more than likely that they would say that this is one of the earmarks of authentic Christianity. While Nicea and Chalcedon may have been the measuring rod for Protestantism and Roman Catholicism but what about Anabaptism or rather looking back was it a precondition for identifying Anabaptists?

My answer is no based on the fact that (1):

 The Anabaptists never attached the weight to creeds or confessions given to them by the remainder of Christendom; they were biblicists who produced a large number of confessions, not as instruments to which the laity or ministry subscribed ex anima, but as instructional tools for the indoctrination of their young people and as witnesses to their faith for distribution in society or as a means of better understanding between differing groups.[1]

Yes it is true that they produced their own confessions but that is the main point. Their beliefs and definition of Christianity come about through their study of scripture. They did not let the activities of others during a problematic time in Church history establish the rule for who qualifies as a Christian and who does not. Take the Schleitheim Confession of 1527, it had very little to do with orthodoxy if at all. It’s focus was on the process of coming to faith, establishing oneself as a member of the Body of Christ and Kingdom living. If the first generation Swiss Brethren had ever thought differently regarding any of the seven articles of the confession they would have altered them. The confessions was not considered inspired of God, they were just an outline of their beliefs at that time in history.

(2) When attempting:

to understand 16th-century Anabaptist notions of God it is most important to note that what distinguished Anabaptism from its Reformation counterparts—the Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed and Anglican traditions—was the extent of its theological and sociological diversity. It was not one homogeneous mass but a collection of diverse movements spread throughout Europe, defined by local differences which affected each group’s theology. Consequently, one cannot assume that there was one Anabaptist doctrine of God. Here as in other theological doctrines there was a dynamic plurality of views, cross-fertilizing each other and undergoing evolution especially during the early period.[2]

This point is evident by the content of Anabaptist writings, in some instances you will find statements that at the least on the surface appear Trinitarian in nature but then later in another document authored by another Anabaptist writer you might find something that appears to be less Trinitarian or does not even address God’s nature at all. One will not find a detailed nuanced theological treatise in the fashion of Chalcedon or Nicea on the part of the Anabaptists. Some had different priorities when writing and speaking on the subject of God. And if anything that was written resembled orthodoxy it was done for the sake of argument.

(3) The initial generation did not concern themselves with systematic doctrinal articulations. Their focus was more on the practical aspects of the Christian life and doctrine. The early material from Swiss Brethren does not touch on God’s nature at all because their concern was on the affects that a relationship with the biblical God should have on the believer’s life.

(4) Some full-fledged Anabaptists did not believe in the Trinity at all.

The Polish Brethren

The Polish Brethren (a.k.a. the Minor Church) rejected the Trinity or in some instances Trinitarian language. Yet they are still Anabaptists in the truest sense. Thomas N. Finger explains that in the mid-late 16th century:

Although an enduring church body from each of Anabaptism’s original branches has attained distinctive form by now, believers’ baptism still spreads eastward. Eventually, the groups who are now adopting this rite will cease practicing it or die out altogether. Yet various threads connect these groups to other strands of our story. The Polish Brethren, who will endure for about a century, constitute a branch of historic Anabaptism.[3]

George H. Williams corroborates this by stating “the Polish-speaking Anabaptism emergent within the context of the Antitrinitarian Minor Church of Poland and Lithuania was, both by analogy and by genetic succession, a regional variant of the Radical Reformation which swept over Central Europe in the sixteenth century.”[4] The reason for the Polish Brethren’s questioning of orthodoxy was for the very thing people accused them of in the past and reason why contemporary individuals will not acknowledge the Polish Brethren as genuine Anabaptists or acknowledge them as being a part of their spiritual lineage. The Polish Brethren in the same fashion as those that proceeded them desired an ekklesia that was purely biblical in nature. They desired to do away with language that did not originate in the Bible and to not force “belief in anything beyond the minimum contained in Holy Scripture and the Apostles’ Creed, generally acknowledged for centuries, the Church removes the possibility of the propagation of heresy.”[5]

Qualification as Authentic Anabaptists

According to C. Arnold Snyder “the Anabaptist movement’ included all the ‘adult baptizers’ of the sixteenth century.”[6]  Thus in his estimation the group had to be engage in adult baptism which during the 16th century was a unique and dangerous practice. Not too many would even fathom participating so the Anabaptists could stand out in this area.

Before moving forward it must be noted that there have been attempts at presenting an outline of specific doctrines that all Anabaptists had in common because of the emphasis and recurrence of certain themes in their writings but orthodox Trinitarianism could hardly be considered one of them. Articulating orthodoxy was not on their list of priorities as mentioned. So now the question is does the Polish Brethren meet the qualifications?

The Polish Brethren that made up “the historic core of the later anti-Trinitarian Socinians, held to adult baptism”.[7] Not only that the “Polish Anabaptists, at the beginning at any rate, accepted nonresistance, too, as part of their religion. They rejected war and the magistracy as unchristian functions, just as the Swiss Brethren and the German and Dutch Mennonites did.”[8] An item of note is that the Polish Brethren held to nonresistance to such a degree that they “produced perhaps the most interesting writings on nonresistance that have come down to us from the sixteenth century.”[9]

Conclusion

When it relates to orthodoxy Anabaptists did not always blend with it, there has always been beliefs in play that many would call aberrant. A more notable example is the “celestial flesh” or “heavenly flesh” Christology of the Melchiorite Anabaptists and later the Mennonites. Much effort has been put forth to distance the Anabaptists from the Polish Brethren because of their beliefs and how Protestants and Roman Catholics would react to them. But Anabaptism was never about pleasing those bodies, it was about seeking truth found in God’s Word the Bible and applying what is learned to please God. To the Anabaptists no ecclesiastical authority could determine for them whether they was in the will of God. Therefore orthodoxy was never a determining factor when defining Anabaptism from a historical perspective.

 

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[1] Christian Neff et al., Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario: Herald Press, 1989), s.v. “Confessions, Doctrinal,” accessed June 24, 2014, http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Confessions,_Doctrinal#1955_Article.

[2] A. James Reimer, Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario: Herald Press, 1989), s.v. “God (Trinity), Doctrine Of.,” accessed June 24, 2014, http://gameo.org/index.php?title=God_(Trinity),_Doctrine_of#Sixteenth-Century_Anabaptists.

[3] Thomas N. Finger, A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 41.

[4] George H. Williams, “Anabaptism and Spiritualism in the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: An Obscure Phase in the Pre-History of Socininianism”, in Ludwik Chmaj, ed., Studia nadarianizmem (Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1959), 221.

[5] Stanislas Kot, Socinianism in Poland: The Social and Political Ideas of the Polish Antitrinitarians in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, trans. Earl Morse Wilbur (Boston: Starr king press, 1957), 192-93.

[6] C. Arnold Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology: An Introduction (Kitchener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 1995), 6.

[7] George Huntston Williams and Angel M. Mergal, eds., Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers, The Library of Christian Classics (1957; repr., Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 20.

[8] Peter Brock, ed. “A Polish Anabaptist Against War: The Question of Conscientious Objection in Marcin Czechowic’s Christian Dialogues of 1575”, Mennonite Quarterly Review 52, no. 4 (1978): 279.

[9] Ibid., 280.

A Beautiful Nuance of Anabaptist Thought: Open Theism

The more I study Anabaptistica the more I embrace their beliefs and practices as my own concerning faith and practice at present. Yet I do not hold to everything they taught 100% more like 98½%. Regarding those things, I have problems with in my opinion just needs to be nuanced or tweaked. Now this leads me to what I am want to present but first the reasons.

It is no secret that Anabaptists did not accept as true foreordination and other aspects of that line of thinking where it is would make God the author of evil. Regarding His sovereignty and foreknowledge, many tried to address them while others did not even bother. For those that did they put forth a valiant effort to present a theodicy that did not mar God’s character. In essence, they were in opposition to Reformed or Calvinistic thought on the issue.[1]

No one can or will argue with the fact that the Anabaptists held to free will or their concern for God’s character when a lack of free will is present, and they contended against Reformed theology from the very commencement of the movement.[2] What I desire to focus on is that what would slightly modify and create a well-reasoned fully-orbed theodicy based on Anabaptist thinking. Open Theism (a belief that I personally hold to) would be just the thing to accomplish this.  In my opinion, it harmonizes with the Anabaptists’ primitive non-Reformed Arminianism.[3]

The following is some useful links that will provide more information on this form of belief regarding the nature and character of God.

Open Theism Information Site
Open Theism Facebook Group
Open Theism Simplified
On Heffalumps and Heresies: Responses to Accusations Against Open Theism

For those that desire something more in-depth I recommend the following books.[4]

 

godofthepossible
opnnessofgod

The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God 
by Clark H. Pinnock (Author) , Richard Rice (Author) , John Sanders (Author) , William Hasker (Author) , David Basinger (Author)

thegodwhorisks

The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence 
by John Sanders


[1] In the future, I will most likely write a post that provides a little more detail.

[2] Some areas they held in common but those were nuanced from an Anabaptist perspective.

[3] The Five articles of Remonstrance was not drawn up until 1610, thus Anabaptism (1525) preceded a full presentation of Arminianism by some 85 years.

[4] If an individual would sticks with these books they will attain a pure unadulterated form of Open Theism.

The Cover Letter and a Message

I express my deepest regret to those that was looking forward to the Schleitheim Confession series but I have been inundated with various things relating to school and contributing elsewhere on the internet. The series will go forward in the near future but I desired to realize three things with this post. The first was the above apology the second was to let you know that prior to the initial installment of the series I will post a unique article this coming week the details of which will be explained in said piece of writing. Lastly, I desired to present to you the cover letter of the Schleitheim Confession of 1527 reproduced from the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online to prepare for the upcoming series. Thank you for your patience and without further ado the Introduction to the Confession.

 

May joy, peace, mercy from our Father, through the atonement[1] of the blood of Christ Jesus, together with the gift of the Spirit–who is sent by the Father to all believers to [give] strength and consolation and constance in all tribulation until the end, Amen, be with all who love God and all children of light, who are scattered everywhere, wherever they might have been placed[2] by God our Father, wherever they might be gathered in unity of spirit in one God and Father of us all; grace and peace of heart be with you all. Amen.

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord; first and primordially we are always concerned for your consolation and the assurance of your conscience (which was sometime confused), so that you might not always be separated from us as aliens and by right almost completely excluded,[3] but that you might turn to the true implanted members of Christ, who have been armed through patience and the knowledge of self, and thus be again united with us in the power of a godly Christian spirit and zeal for God.

It is manifest with what manifold cunning the devil has turned us aside, so that he might destroy and cast down the work of God, which in us mercifully and graciously has been partially begun. But the true Shepherd of our souls, Christ, who has begun such in us, will direct and teach[4] the same unto the end, to His glory and our salvation, Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters, we who have been assembled in the Lord at Schleitheim on the Randen[5] make known, in points and articles, unto all that love God, that as far as we are concerned, we have been united[6] to stand fast in the Lord as obedient children of God, sons and daughters, who have been and shall be separated from the world in all that we do and leave undone, and (the praise and glory be to God alone) uncontradicted by all the brothers, completely at peace.[7] Herein we have sensed the unity of the Father and of our common Christ as present with us in their Spirit. For the Lord is a Lord of peace and not of quarreling, as Paul indicates.[8] So that you understand at what points this occurred, you should observe and understand [what follows]:

A very great offense has been introduced by some false brothers among us,[9] whereby several have turned away from the faith, thinking to practice and observe the freedom of the Spirit and of Christ. But such have fallen short of the truth and (to their own condemnation)[10] are given over to the lasciviousness and license of the flesh. They have esteemed that faith and love may do and permit everything and that nothing can harm nor condemn them, since they are “believers.”

Note well, you members[11] of God in Christ Jesus, that faith in the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ is not thus formed; it produces and brings forth no such things as these false brothers and sisters practice and teach. Guard yourselves and be warned of such people, for they do not serve our Father, but their father, the devil.

But for you it is not so; for they who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with all its lusts and desires.[12] You understand me[13] well, and [know] the brothers whom we mean. Separate yourselves from them, for they are perverted. Pray the Lord that they may have knowledge unto repentance, and for us that we may have constance to persevere along the path we have entered upon, unto the glory of God and of Christ His Son. Amen.[14]


[1] A most significant concept in the thought of Michael Sattler is that of Vereinigung, which, according to the context, must be translated in many different ways. In the title we render it “Union”; here in the salutation it can most naturally be translated “reconciliation” or “atonement”; later in the text, in the passive participle form, it will mean “to be brought to unity.” Thus the same word can be used for the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, for the procedure whereby brothers come to a common mind, for the state of agreement in which they find themselves, and for the document which states the agreement to which they have come. Heinold Fast suggests that here, in connection with “the blood of Christ,’ the meaning might be “fellowship”; cf: 1 Corinthians 10:16.

[2] Or, literally, “ordered”; the rendering of J. C. Wenger, “scattered everywhere as it has been ordained of God our Father,” is a good paraphrase if “ordained” may be understood without sacramental or predestinarian connotations.

[3] This term “aliens” or “foreigners” was interpreted by Cramer BRN, 605, note 1, in the geographic or political sense, as referring to non-Swiss. Kiwiet, Pilgram Marpeck, Kassel, 1959, p. 44, takes for granted the same meaning and says more sharply that at Schleitheim the Swiss Anabaptists broke communion with the German ones. This understanding is impossible for several reasons:

  • There was no such strong sense of national identity, divided on clear geographic lines, in the 1520s;
  • Sattler and Reublin, leaders in the meeting, were not Swiss;
  • The libertines whom Schleitheim had in mind, although Denck (or Bucer) might have been included, were (if Anabaptist) surely mostly Swiss; namely, the enthusiasts of St. Gall (H. Fast “Die Sonderstellung der Täufer in St. Gallen and Appenzell,” Zwingliana XI, 1960, pp. 223 ff.), and Ludwig Hätzer.

This term has a quite different reference; it is an allusion to Ephesians 2:12 and 19, testifying to the reconciling effect of the gospel on men who previously had been alienated by unbelief.

[4] “Direct” and “teach” have as their object “the same,” i.e., the “work of God partially begun in us.” Wenger’s paraphrase, “direct the same and teach [us]” is smoother but weakens the striking image of a “work of God” within man which can be “partially begun,” “cast down,” “directed,” and “taught.” There is, however, ground for Böhmer’s conjecture that the original may have read keren (guide) rather than leren (teach).

[5] The “Langer Randen” and the “Hoher Randen” are hills overlooking Schleitheim and not, as a modern reader might think, a reference to the fact that Schleitheim is near the (contemporary, political) border.

The original reads “Schlaten am Randen.” A good halfdozen villages in southern Germany bear the names Schlat, Schlatt, or Schlatten. One, near Engen in Baden, also is identified as “am Randen,” and until recently was held by some to have been the place of origin of the Seven Articles. The evidence, now generally accepted, for Schleitheim near Schaffhausen, is easily surveyed:

  • J. J. Rüger, a Schaffhausen chronicler, writing around 1594, identifies Schleitheim with the Seven Articles;
  • In the local dialect, the equivalent of ei in modern German is long a as in Schlaten, whereas the other villages Schlatten or Schlat have a short a;
  • Being subject to overlapping jurisdictions and therefore hard to police, the Klettgau, and Schleitheim on its edge, were relatively safe and accessible for Anabaptists and thus a most fitting meeting place linking the major centers in southwest Germany and northeast Switzerland. This was the first area where Sattler’s colleague W. Reublin had been active after his expulsion from Zürich early in 1525. This juridical situation continued through the century; Anabaptism was still alive in the Kühtal above Schleitheim as late as Ruger’s writing.
  • Professor F. Blanke reviews the question of place in Z, VI, pp. 104 f.; cf. also Werner Pletscher, “Wo Entstand das Bekenntnis von 1527?” MGB, V, 1940, pp. 20 f.

[6] According to Bohmer, one line of print was misplaced in imprint A. The text seems to say literally, “we were assembled in points and articles.” The verb here is again “vereinigt.” The “points and articles” may well have stood elsewhere in the sentence in the original text: “we have been united in points and articles” or “to stand fast in the Lord in these points and articles.” Wenger’s translation, “we are of one mind to abide in the Lord” is the best paraphrase but sacrifices the passive verbal construction which is important to the writer.

[7] Beginning with the parenthesis “(the praise and glory be to God alone),” the closing phrases of this paragraph refer not simply to a common determination to be faithful to the Lord, but much more specifically to the actual Schleitheim experience and the sense of unity (Vereinigung) which the members had come to in the course of the meeting. “Without contradiction of all the brothers” is the formal description and “completely at peace” is the subjective definition of this sense of Holy Spirit guidance. Zwingli considered the very report that “we have come together” to be the proof of the culpable, sectarian, conspiratorial character of Anabaptism (Elenchus, Z, VI, p. 56).

[8] 1 Corinthians 14:33.

[9] Ds. H. W. Meihuizen has recently asked with great thoroughness “Who were the `False Brethren’ mentioned in the Schleitheim Articles?” (MQR, XLI, 1967, pp. 200 ff.). Meihuizen s method is to survey the entire Reformation scene, Anabaptists of all shadings as well as Reformers, especially those at Strasbourg whom Sattler had recently left. Comparing the known theological positions of these men with the Schleitheim statements, Meihuizen concludes that Schleitheim must have been aimed against Denck, Hubmaier, Hut, Hätzer, Bucer, and Capito. One can agree with this description of the positions in question, without being convinced that the meeting was this clearly directed  against a few particular men who were specifically not invited. If any one person was meant, if would most likely be Hätzer, whom Sattler had just been with in Strasbourg, and who was the only one of these who could be accused of libertinistic leanings. For present purposes, i.e., in order to understand the meaning of this document, it suffices to be clear from the internal evidence (in agreement with Meihuizen):

  • That some persons previously attached to some of the positions condemned were present at Schleitheim in order to be participants in the event of “being brought to unity”; the “false brothers” referred to by the cover letter were therefore not only state-church Reformers but at least some of them were within Anabaptism;
  • That the greatest emphasis in the Seven Articles themselves falls on those points of ultimate theological separateness from the Reformed: baptism, relation between ban and the supper, sword, oath. Here the list is so parallel to the document from Strasbourg that one surmises that Sattler may have been developing his outline already when he was at Strasbourg;
  • That in the juxtaposition of the cover letter and the Seven Articles, Sattler affirms an inner linkage between the positions of the marginal Anabaptists and Spiritualists who differed from the Zurich-Schleitheim stream, and those of the evangelical Reformers.

[10] H. W. Meihuizen reads the phrase “to their own condemnation” as meaning that the Schleitheim assembly took action to excommunicate the libertines whom the text here refers to. “The Concept of Restitution in the Anabaptism of Northwestern Europe,” MQR, Vol. XLIV, April 1970, p. 149. This is not possible. The verb ergeben refers to the libertines’ abandoning themselves to lasciviousness, not to the Anabaptists’ action. In order to enable this interpretation Meihuizen must omit the parentheses which are in the original.

[11] “Glieder” (members) has in German only the meaning related to the image of the body; the overtone of “membership” in a group, which makes the phrase “members of God” unusual in modern English, is not present in the original.

[12] Galatians 5:24

[13] The use of the first person singular here is the demonstration that the introductory letter was written, probably after the meeting, by an individual.

[14] This is the conclusion of the introductory letter and of the epistolary style. The “cover letter” is not in the Bern manuscript, and the Seven Articles probably circulated most often without it.

Schleitheim Series Introduction

It is my aspiration to begin a series addressing each of the Schleitheim Confession articles.[1] This very important document played an integral role in the life of the 16th century Anabaptists. It always astounds me that

Title page of the Schleitheimer Confession (15...

Schleitheim Confession (1527)

everyone likes to take the Anabaptist moniker upon him or herself but very few delve into those things that defined this group. Yes, pacifism is trendy especially when high profile pastors, speakers or even denominational conventions adopt it along with feeding and clothing the underprivileged or advocating equality towards marginalized groups.

However, what about what mattered to these men and women that originally bore this name? Does it even matter to these new arrivals what the progenitors even cared for or thought about while they were experiencing this movement at its commencement?

No because with all things considered what is viewed at present as Anabaptism is a modified version of evangelicalism, and the goal is to see what novel idea can be employed to make Anabaptism look all nice and shiny for the consumers who typically happens to be other professed Christians.

My goal in this series is not only do honor to 16th century Radical Reformers known as the Anabaptists but shed light from a core text and establish how it is still relevant for doctrine and praxis.


[1] The series Anabaptism New-Defined was originally planned but given the nature of it more research and time is required thus it will occur at a later date.

All Or Nothing!

Greg Boyd Teaching at Woodland Hills Church

Greg Boyd Teaching at Woodland Hills Church

Strasbourg Cathedral at sunset

Strasbourg Cathedral at sunset (Photo credit: Giant Ginkgo)

I am a fan of Greg Boyd’s books and sermons; I really appreciate his stand against Christendom or Constantinianism. Moreover, I value how he is one of the godfathers of contemporary Open Theism since I am an Open Theist as well. However, I recently heard a sermon entitled “We The Church” where his reasoning falls noticeably short. It appears that he forgoes thinking and looking at the matter all the way through because his criticism of others in this area could very well apply to himself. Let me explain the matter fully before continuing with the main point that I want to make.

In the sermon, he relates to his listeners how Woodland Hills Church identifies itself with Anabaptism. He provides a short history lesson on Anabaptistica and he focuses on the nature of the universal Ekklesia from the perspective of the Anabaptists. Eventually he addresses how post-first century Christianity in due course allowed the world to squeeze it “into its own mould” (Romans 12:2 J.B. Phillips). Resulting in the aligned Constantinian Ekklesia to become analogs of Roman and Grecian worshippers of pagan gods even adopting elaborate temples to worship their god, in other words they started to build elaborate cathedrals. Boyd goes on to admit that the Anabaptists met in homes to worship and that they viewed “the people as the Church” or God’s temple in place of a building in the same fashion as the first-century Christians (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Now we come to the problem, Woodland Hills is a 2,500-member church; technically this church would be qualified as a megachurch. A 2,000 + capacity facility hardly qualifies as someone’s living room. A megachurch is not someone’s home; it is a few marble statues or one ostentatious mural away from being called a cathedral. Just because you are not a member of some form of the Catholic Church that does not give you, a free pass if you know the truth of the matter.

This is one of things that really vex me about contemporary Anabaptism, even those that claim to be fully aligned with the renowned group of 16th century radicals treat the movement like a buffet in Vegas. They walk along and select the things they want but reject those things that may hamper his or her preferred religious lifestyle. In my opinion, it is all or nothing or just let it go!