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The Anabaptist Voice

Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God:  Love, Joy and Peace in Jesus.
 

Jesus said, "Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you." (Mt 28:20)

The purpose of this web site to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as seen by the members of the Anabaptist religion.

Someone asked Jesus, "Lord, will only a few be saved?"  Jesus replied, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able."  (Luke 13:23)

Man is not saved through Christ in his sin, but from his sin. Who may receive this divine grace? Only the disciple who dedicates himself altogether to a life of obedience is worthy to receive this grace.   (From Anabaptist Theology by Robert Friedmann) 

Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all peoples, immerse them into the nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.  And remember that I am with you always." (The Great Commission at the end of the Gospel of Matthew)

"Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you."

Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you."   (Luke 6:46, John 14:23-24)

Jesus said, "Those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead ... are children of God, being children of the resurrection."  (Luke 20:34-36)

A very brief history of Christianity for the past 600 years:

Before the Reformation, the western world was long held in the grip of the state religion which was Catholic. Since it was a state religion, all who were born in the state were automatically Catholics and were baptized as infants as evidence of their citizenship in both the church and the state. The goal of the Reformation was to reform the Catholic religion but they kept the idea of a state religion so all who were born in Protestant states were automatically Protestants (Lutheran, Reformed, etc) and were baptized as infants. Both the Catholics and the Protestants used Scripture to support the baptism of infants.

In 1525 a small Bible study group in Switzerland was studying the life style of the early Church as shown in Scripture with the idea of restoring that life style.  They initially called themselves Brothers in Christ but later came to also accept the common name of Anabaptists, a term used by their opponents that meant to be baptized again; however, since they came to realize that their infant baptism was of no value, they did not consider that they were baptized again.

The first Anabaptist congregation was organized by Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock & Felix Manz in Zollikon, Switzerland in 1525.  This congregation began calling themselves "Brothers in Christ". They were truly brothers in Christ according to their first "Church Order", written in 1527, and called the Swiss Order or The Congregational Order:  "Of all the brothers and sisters in this congregation none shall have anything of his own, but rather, as the Christians in the time of the apostles held all in common, and especially stored up in a common fund, from which aid can be given to the poor, according as each will have need, and as in apostles' time permit no brother to be in need."  (translated by John H. Yoder)

A book that describes these people is "Brothers in Christ: The History of the Oldest Anabaptist Congregation Zollikon, Near Zurich, Switzerland" by Fritz Blanke and available on Amazon.com.

The term Anabaptist was used negatively by their opponents and later adopted for their own name.  They were also called the "Swiss Brethren" later on.

These Brothers in Christ came to the understanding that the Church consisted of members who made a covenant with God (like a marriage ceremony) to change their ways and to remain faithful to Him all of their days on earth, to love one another,  to take up their cross daily and to follow Jesus as Lord of their lives, obeying ALL that He taught. This covenant was publicly proclaimed in the water baptism ceremony. Thus, only adults could make this commitment and receive the sign of water baptism or what some call believer's baptism.

They also saw in Scripture that members of the Church were to be pacifists, non-resistant to the evil man as commanded by Christ. Therefore they could not be in the military or any government service that involved the use of force.

This small group came to understand the two kingdoms concept described in the Bible, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, and in God's kingdom love prevailed whereas in Satan's kingdom hatred prevailed. Therefore they sought to follow carefully the teachings of Christ and the example of the early Church in this matter which lead them to see that members of the Church had to renounce all things worldly (I John 2:15) which included the possession of property (Luke 12:33, Luke 14:33, Mt 19:21, Mt 6:19-34). This understanding caused them to begin to live together communally with all things in common as was done by the early church (Acts 2:44-47, 4:32-5:11). They understood that brotherly community is the highest command of love (John 13:34-35, Acts 4:32).

This is the Way of the Lord (Acts 18:25, also Acts 9:2, 18:26, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22) that was revealed to this small group in Switzerland in 1525.  They immediately spread the Word and soon this way of living began to spread across the land.

Since Satan is the god of this world (I John 5:19), his members immediately persecuted these members of the Kingdom of God and killed thousands of these Anabaptist saints in the 16th century. 

Since that time, the year 1525, many groups have separated from the Catholic and Protestant religions, many accepted the idea of believer's baptism, some accepted also the idea of pacifism but very few also accepted the more narrow way of communal living.

Jesus said, "Teach them to obey all that I have commanded you."

When that happens, then the local church is on the way to becoming an Acts 4:32 church:

"The believers are united, heart and soul.  No one claims private possessions, all material goods are held in common, all are equal, living in brotherly love."

 

A Major Problem
by Don Murphy
11/04/2009


     A terrible problem that we face today is that the gospel that Jesus preached is usually not preached in our churches.  The gospel about Jesus, about His death on the cross, is preached but not the Gospel of Jesus, the gospel that He preached. 

     This is a major problem because of the terrible consequences that result from not obeying the Gospel of Jesus.  Paul writes that the Lord Jesus shall take vengeance on them that that DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (II Thess 1:7‑9)  Peter asks what shall the end be of they that DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL of God?  (I Peter 4:17)

     The Gospel that the Lord Jesus preached was the good news of the kingdom of God, the love, joy and peace that its members can have.  That is the main theme of the preaching of Jesus and His apostles.  That gospel is not the gospel preached in today’s churches.  Jesus never once mentioned the word ‘grace’ which is the common theme of the preaching today.

     At the very beginning of His ministry the Bible says that Jesus went about in Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.  (Mt 4:23)  Again it states that Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the kingdom.  (Mt 9:35)  After John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe the good news.”  (Mk 1:14-15)  Jesus said, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”  (Luke 4:43)  Jesus went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings [gospel] of the kingdom of God.  (Luke 8:1)  The law and the prophets were until John.  Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.  (Luke 16:16)  The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Mt 24:14)

     The inspired Word of God makes it abundantly plain: The "good news" that Jesus Christ brought was about the Kingdom of God, a place of love, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.  (Rom 14:17)  How wonderful it is to live in that love.  John teaches us that God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.  (1 John 4:16)  Only when we are in the kingdom of God can we experience that wonderful sensation. 

     Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  (John 15:10-11)

     Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him…  If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”  (John 14:21-24)

     The purpose of the commands of the Lord Jesus is to teach us how to live in love, how to experience the love, joy and peace available in the Kingdom of God.  These commands help us to live in Jesus and allow Jesus to live in us.  (John 14:20, 17:20-23)  We want to be like Paul who said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  (Gal 2:20)

     The terrible problem that we face today is that the churches usually do not teach the gospel that Jesus taught, how to live a life of love, joy and peace that we can have when we live according to the teachings of the Lord Jesus, when we live in his kingdom of love.  The churches today will probably say that they do teach the gospel that Jesus taught but you are highly unlikely to hear them actually teaching their people to obey all of the Lord’s commands as the Lord said to do in the Great Commission.

See Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
       The Commands of Jesus
       The Words of Jesus
       Obeying The Commands of Jesus
       The Church and The Narrow Path
       Victorious Living
       Claus Felbinger's Confession of Faith (1560)
       The Schleitheim Confession of Faith (1527) with the Congregational Order of 1927 (translated by John Howard Yoder)
       Unconditional Eternal Security & Its Related Errors (Calvinism)
       Whether Rulers Can Be Christians (Peter Riedemann 1540)
       The Threefold Grace (Leonard Schiemer 1527)
       The Jesus of the Four Gospels (Eberhard Arnold 1934)
       What is Love?
       Saved by Grace
       Glory and Honor
       Broken Clock Salvation (Dean Taylor)
       Inspiration of the Bible

Audio sermons by Pastor Mike Gradwell of the Continental Baptist Church:
       6/28/2009:  "Doing Righteousness" 1 John 2:29 - 3:10 A very powerful sermon, please listen to it.     

 

The Anabaptists today (by Don Murphy)  The Anabaptist religion began in 1525 in Switzerland.  The original Anabaptists held to three beliefs that set them apart:  Believer's Baptism, Pacifism and Community of Goods.  However, within 15 years many of the Anabaptists no longer ... (more)

Anabaptist Theology (by Robert Friedmann)   No Anabaptist ever wrote a book or tract approximating systematic theology, comparable to what the Reformers of the sixteenth century have done. Therefore, a discussion here can point only to an implied, not to an explicit system of theology (more) 

 

The Hutterian Brethren, commonly called Hutterites, originated in 16th century Europe during the Reformation period when the Holy Spirit of God was stirring the hearts of those who were yearning for holiness. On January 21, 1525, a Bible study group in Zurich, Switzerland, met in the home of...  (more)



The Secret of the Strength  What would the Anabaptists tell this generation? (by Peter Hoover, Chapter 6: On to Christ)  In 1527, two years after the birth of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland, people already wondered about its secret. (more)

 

Modern views of  Anabaptism.  The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Anabaptists - A violent and extremely radical body of ecclesiastico-civil reformers which first made its appearance in 1521 at Zwickau, in the present kingdom of  (more)

 

 

Concerning Our Whole Life and Conduct  (A short Hutterite sermon from the 17th century)  Dear brothers and sisters, we are gathered here, we hope, in the name of the Lord our God, under His fatherly blessing, care and protection, that we might further remind and admonish ... (more)


The Way of the Lord
(by Don Murphy)  The Christian religion contains the teachings about Jesus, that He is the Christ, about what He did, what He is doing, and what He will do for the chosen people of God.  That is the Gospel about Christ, the Good News... (more)

 

Can a Christian be a pacifist?  (by Don Murphy)  Pacifism means different things to different people. Its dictionary definition is ‘the opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes'. To some it means demonstrations which try to stop the nuclear subs... (more)


Community (by Elmo Stoll, late pastor of the Christian Community in Tennessee)   But now be prepared to go into shock - my observations compel me to tell you that for most people living without wheels and gadgets is not the biggest hurdle. For most the most difficult challenge is learning to live in... (more) 

 

The Living Word and its Work (by Ulrich Stadler, a 16th century Anabaptist)
All things are well ordered and created by God, and are good as the creation and work of God in which the eternal power and Godhead is known. If you recognize this power, then you see that... (more)

 

The Beginning of our Church History (from the Chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren, Volume II) GOD HAS LOVED THE HUMAN race from the very beginning and did not create it for destruction. In order to forestall the damage caused by the devil's deceit, God in his mercy began... (more)

 

True Baptism (by Hans Hut) Baptism follows when one hears the gospel and believes it. Baptism occurs only after the person is ready to accept and suffer all that the Father through Christ has in store for him. He must have set his heart upon the Lord and have forsaken the world. He accepts the sign of ... (more)

 

The Differences between Evangelical Protestants and Anabaptists (by Nolan Martin)  Within the Christian community, Evangelicals probably have the most influence on Anabaptists. There are a couple reasons for this.  First, they believe like us on many issues so we feel a certain kinship to them. One example of this - we both have a high view of ... (more)

 

The Christian Way of Life - Community of Goods (by Peter Riedemann)   All believers have fellowship in holy things, that is, in God. (1 John 1:1-3)  He has given them all things in his Son, Christ Jesus.  (Rom. 1:16-17)  Just as Christ has nothing for himself, since all he has is for us, so too, no members of Christ's body should possess any gift for themselves or for their own sake... (more)

 
 

Which Kingdom are You living for? (by the Pastor of Hermas, 1st century A.D.)    As in this world we have no abiding city, we ought to seek one to come. He (the Lord) says to me, "You know that you who are the servants of God dwell in a strange land, for your city is far away from this one. If, then", He continues, "you are aware of the city in which you are going to live..." (more)

 


Contact us 

Editor:      Don Murphy
                Tucson, Arizona, USA
                 Email:  Don@AnabaptistChurch.org

We publish a weekly newsletter, sent both by email and by regular mail.  If you would like to be on the mailing list, just let us know.

Psalm 133:  "For there [in brotherly community] the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore."

(This page was last updated on 02/17/2012