Anabaptist Group Dynamics
Commands of Jesus
Difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals
Hutterite Sermon Prefaces
Marriage (Ulrich Stadler)
Living Word (Ulrich Stadler)
Modern views of Anabaptists
Mysteries of the Kingdom of God
April 14, 05
Nov 08, 06
Dec 28, 05
Apr 16, 08
Apr 23, 08
Apr 30, 08
May 07, 08
May 14, 08
June 18, 08
June 25, 08
Secret of the Strength
Sermons by Eli Hofer
The Writings of Ulrich Stadler
The Church and
the Narrow Path
To Vote or not to Vote
Way of the Lord
"Rejoice in the Lord always!"
The Anabaptist Church, which began in Switzerland in 1525, was a mighty
move of the Spirit of God, not unlike the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th
century and the charismatic renewal of the 1970s. Men everywhere, when touched
by the Holy Spirit, renounced and repented of their sins and sought to live a
holy life, following the Lord Jesus and obeying his commands.
born again believers fell under the mighty power of God to such an extent that
they tried to live as the early church did, with all things in common (Acts
Grebel and Felix Mantz, two of the founding fathers of the Anabaptist Church,
sought to set up a new church of faithful believers “according to evangelical
truth and the Word of God”. In this church, “all things must be in common”
as in the apostolic church in Jerusalem.
Radicals were bent upon a complete restitution of the Church, and not just a
reformation. They believed that one must enter the Church by confessing their
sins, washing them away in repentance, receive water baptism as a covenant in
the communion of the mutually forgiven and forgiving saints -- saints in the
language of Acts, men and women who are set apart from the world in the
acceptance of Jesus Christ as the lord of their lives and who live in obedience
to his commands and teachings, following the Way of the Lord.
These new believers, who called themselves Brothers in Christ, held the
Lord's Supper with common bread and wine. It is in this celebration of the
Lord's Supper that this first congregation of Anabaptists felt itself part' of
the communion of the saints, united in one bond of love to God and to the
brethren. They took seriously their commitment to the community of goods. Relief
from the tremendous conviction of sin and the yearning for a purity of life
prompted them to share all things. Mantz,
when questioned in prison, explained how the community of goods was the
consequences of a joyfully commemorative Communion in the benefits of the work
of Christ in undoing the Fall.
Grebel, Mantz and George Blaurock were preachers of repentance who were
able to bring their hearers to a moving consciousness of sin and their need for
forgiveness. The court records of the hearings of the Anabaptists from the year
1525 repeatedly testify to the deepness of their conviction of sin and the
anguished longing for forgiveness which characterized the early converts.
early Anabaptists were truly brothers in Christ and brothers with Christ as they
shared his rejection of this world in order to share in the glory of the world
Lessons From Israel's Quest For The Promised
(Written for publication in the Pastor's Column
of the March 14, 2001 issue of The Journal, a Montana newspaper, by Eli Hofer,
minister of the North Harlem, Montana, Hutterian Brethren)
The Bible is truly an unusual book. Not only can we focus in on a
particular event or person and learn a lesson for our lives, but we can also get
an overall view of the Christian life, laid out for us from beginning to end. We
can learn a valuable lesson in God's dealing with the Israelites and apply it to
Lord led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, into the
Wilderness of Sinai and then on into the promised land. As believers, we too
have been led out of Egypt (the world), through the Red Sea (type of baptism)
and into the Wilderness.
Wilderness experience was to teach the Israelites dependence on Jehovah. He led
them by a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire daily, providing shade by day
from the hot dessert sun and warmth and light during the cold dessert nights.
Not only did their clothes and sandals not get old and worn, but God also
provided both water and food for them through out their dessert wanderings. Yet
most of them never learned the lesson of dependency on the Lord, or moved on to
conquer the Promised Land. They choose instead to see everything in a negative
way, grumbling and complaining, until they finally died in the dessert, never
realizing the great plan God had in mind for them.
can be led and directed by God in our lives. God has given us his Word, the
Bible; He has given us his Holy Spirit, plus a great cloud of witnesses that
have gone on before us; yet many of us never really learn the lesson. We would
rather wander around in the wilderness pining for Egypt, being slaves to our
passions, than go on to a greater, deeper and more meaningful relationship with
the Lord. The next step for the Israelites was to learn to conquer Canaan, the
Promised Land. We too must learn to conquer our Canaan; we must learn to conquer
Book of Judges opens with the death of Joshua, and continues with the struggle
of the children of Israel in their quest to take hold of the land that Jehovah
had promised Abraham and his descendants.
casual reading of this book, it would simply be a series of wars and counter
wars, one nation having preeminence until another finds ways and methods to gain
the upper hand. But for the serious Christian, to whom the whole counsel of God
has a message and meaning, this book is a valid textbook of instructions,
teaching us how to do spiritual warfare. It makes us aware of the strongholds of
Satan around us. It teaches us to make war against the works of the flesh in our
the Children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord
strengthened Eglon, king of Moab, against Israel” (Judges 3:12,13). This is
usually what happens when we as believers begin to leave room for the sinful
desires of our flesh. We too lose our City of Palms, the place where we have our
rest, our peace, our tranquility, our shade and sustenance.
will notice that in Israel's struggles, Amalek keeps appearing over and over.
Amalek is a grandson of Esau, who sold his birthright for a pot of stew. Amalek
in Scripture usually typifies The Flesh, or our Carnal Nature. The Amelekites,
harassed Israel from the day they came out of Egypt. Satan used Amalek, either
alone or in collaboration with other enemies, to oppose and torment Israel in
every way possible.
we allow remnants of the World and the Flesh to gain control in our spiritual
dimension, they grow and fester, until they become chains that bind us. We would
do well to take heed what the Lord is teaching us in this Book. The test for
Israel was how faithfully they would adhere to God's commandments. See Judges
3:4. This is still the test for God's people today.
5:3,4 tells us: “for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments
and his commandments are not grievous.
For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that
overcomes the world, even our faith.”
as believers still act like the World, smell like the World, taste like the
World, we are losing the battle. We reveal our infatuation with the World.
Allowing peer pressure to influence us in these areas reveal our immaturity. We
are forgetting the seriousness of this spiritual battle.
God's plan to transform us into the image of his Son, therefore do not allow the
World to force you into it's mold. As Romans 12:1‑2 warns us. “I beseech
you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And
do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of
By Brian Pribis
We read in the sixteenth chapter of Numbers of a very interesting event. This
man, a Levite, named Korah and about two hundred and fifty others had a
complaint about Moses. They decided that the best way to handle their valid
grievances was to approach Moses and say something to the affect of, “Hey, we
are all holy and believers of God. What makes you think you are so much better
then us!” Now understand, these were not just every day people. The bible
tells us that they were “...Princes of the assembly, famous in the
congregation, men of renown.” I
am sure that they thought they were doing the right thing, and justified in
their actions. But God had another opinion. As we read on we see that God caused
the ground to split apart and swallow all the would be insurrectionists, burring
you think that this would have settled the question of whose side God was on.
Yet, as we read on, we find that the Israelites murmured against Moses, claiming
that he had killed holy men. Once again God let his vote be cast in favor of
Moses. This time over fourteen thousand people died.
this just a case of favoritism? Was God merely showing whom he was standing up
for? I think that there is more to the story. We also know that God sometimes
does expect us to correct those who are in leadership. I Timothy 5:19 says,
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three
witnesses.” However, I Samuel 15:23 tells us that “rebellion is as the sin
of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” It is our hearts
that God sees and not just our deeds. Perhaps Korah and his group had valid
complaints. Maybe Moses did need to repent of something. In the end, however, it
.seems that God was more interested in the hearts of Korah and Moses then he was
in what either group was doing or in the validity of the complaints being
issued. The writer of Proverbs tells us, “Every way of a man is right in his
own eyes but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” (Proverbs 21:2).
indeed will be times when we must correct those in leadership, when we must
speak up for the truth and what is right, and speak against what is wrong. When
these times come (and to those who truly seek to follow Jesus Christ in word and
deed, those times will come), let us take heed to the example made of Korah and
approach these matters with much fear and trembling. Let us be quick to hear,
slow to speak, slow to wrath. Let us get all the beams out of our own eyes, and
cleanse our hands and purify our hearts so that we my stand justified both in
deed and in our hearts before the living God (Matthew 7:3; James 4:8). Let us
love one another as Christ first loved us, even when we are offering correction.
The Radical Reformation
by George H. Williams
Published by Weidenfelid and Nicolson, London, England
This history of 16th century Anabaptism was written
by a professor of history at Harvard University and presents a fairly detailed
history of the events of that time.
Scholar George Huntston Williams properly points out, “The Anabaptists
continually distinguished between the covenant of servitude and that of sonship.”
He means by this that the Anabaptists saw the Old Covenant as the inferior
covenant. Under the Old Covenant God bound His people to physical shadows which,
not being reality, could not make good the glories they foreshadowed.
Furthermore, the law, rather than justifying Israel, only highlighted their
failures. God's people under the law lived, as Paul says in Galatians 4:1, as
children and slaves. However, since Christ fulfilled the law and established in
its place the reality of the Spirit, God's people no longer hold the position of
slaves, but of sons and heirs, Galatians 5:7.
The Anabaptists thought, in the words of David C. Steinmeetz, “The new
deed of God in Christ... made the old deeds through... Moses
Leonard Scheimer exemplifies this position when he says, “The first light has
been our schoolmaster until the other, that is Christ came, who is the light of
the world. When his Spirit enters me I am no longer under the schoolmaster but
under grace. There the law of works, sin, death, and members ceases, and the law
of the Spirit, faith, life, and the heart commences.”
in Scheimer's statement lies the idea that the Christian, far from being without
law, falls under the “law of the Spirit.” In addition, his shift in emphasis
from outward “members” to inward “heart” indicates that he sees this
“law of the Spirit” as the fulfillment of the figurative law.
believer's current position, being under the New Covenant and thus in the
fulfillment of the Mosaic law, does not mean he or she becomes lawless. Instead,
the figurative law finds its fulfillment by transformation from external and
physical to internal and spiritual.
Grebel illustrates this in a letter to Thomas Muntzer. He wrote, “We learned
with sorrow that you have set up tablets, for which we can find neither text nor
examples in the New Testament. In the Old, [the law) was of course to be written
outwardly, but now in the New it is to be written inwardly on the fleshy tablets
of the heart, as a comparison of the two Testaments show, as we are taught by
writing of the law upon the heart of spiritual, inward emphasis that Grebel
mentions, other Anabaptists dubbed “the law of love” or the “law of the
Hutter described it like this, “All those who live and walk in the spirit do
not fulfill the lusts of the flesh... For they no longer serve God in the old
manner of the letter but in the new manner of the spirit. Thus, the godly have
sin but they do not consent to it nor do they carry out its bidding. It is a
source of pain to them and they resist it with all their might. They restrain it
and force it down through the power of the spirit.”
means that the Spirit's presence in the New Covenant believer’s life allows
him or her to serve God in a new way. No longer does the figure of the law bind
the believer, its reality has come. In the believer an inward transformation
occurs enabling him or her to do real battle with sin. No longer does the
believer's concern focus on not committing adultery, now the concern lies in not
lusting. Thus, this “law of the Spirit” brings true transformation. It
shifts the emphasis off the flesh onto the real problem, the spirit, i.e., off
the outward onto the inward. They did not, then, allow or justify adultery.
Rather, they saw the real fight against sin as spiritual; and, if conquered
inwardly, adultery would not be committed outwardly.
Hutter says, 'All those who live and walk in the spirit do not fulfill the lusts
of the flesh.” This “law of the Spirit” ruled the outward actions, but not
by specifying what outward actions could or could not take place. Instead, it
ruled them by dealing with the heart. It changed the outward actions by virtue
of the fact that it changed the inward motivations. So, in place of the many
strictly regulated actions prescribed and required by the Mosaic law; there now
exists general character traits, against which no law stands. In the New
Covenant, love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
permeate the lives of God's people.
The following was posted on the Anabaptists
Seekers Forum on 04/03/2001
I was saved in July of 1999. 1 began to look for a church that believed
in conforming itself to the Bible instead of trying to conform Scripture to suit
it's own particular heresy. I found a “conservative” Mennonite church not
very far away and faithfully attended each worship service and prayer meeting. I
even took a “study course” and joined in February of 2000 at a baptismal
ceremony. The church had won my heart because it was true to the Bible on the
headship veiling, divorce and remarriage, and non-resistance.
I soon became aware that I WOULD ALWAYS BE AN “OUTSIDER” AND A “SEEKER”
because I was not born a Mennonite. I tearfully left my church later that year.
I find this disgusting attitude in
most “conservative” Mennonite churches and I find it simply appalling. Yes,
some of your churches do things by the book (on the outside), but where is their
heart for others?
Editor's note: This sinful attitude is also not
uncommon in Amish and Hutterite churches today. They rely upon their
forefathers, ignoring the teaching of Christ in John 8:31-59.