First of all, I’ve been reading this since the end of February and although a small book it’s packed full of information that I probably didn’t grasp all of. A little back history, Travis and I began attending a Mennonite church when we first arrived in COS in 2012. After moving to California we joined a Brethren church, cousin churches so to speak. Now, having grown up in the South, Anabaptist is NOT a word one hears very often, you’re either a Baptist, Methodist, or a Catholic.
So it came as no surprise when everyone began asking me what a Mennonite is or what do Brethren believe and why I’m anti-baptist. (That last one has been a top conversation over the years, I’m not anti-baptist by the way. Travis is ordained through the Baptist church and went to a Baptist Seminary.) Anabaptist essentially means they believe in a believers baptism over infant baptism, who are not able to make a conscious decision. Also, Anabaptists were heavily persecuted because of this point.
When I accepted a position at our Mennonite Church as Church Administrator, it seemed in my best interest to better understand what Anabaptistism was beyond my limited understanding of nonviolence and deeply involved in community programs.
What I really learned from Anabaptist Essentials was I have been living out an Anabaptist lifestyle and mindset for a long time without knowing what to call it.
- historic peace church committed to a nonviolent perspective- actively seeking peace and justice
- we believe in being responsible with what we’ve been given our money, resources, and talents and using such to benefit the church and others
- believe that you are a transformed person when you ask Jesus into your life
- my citizenship is first to the kingdom of God and second to my nation, and I won’t compromise my ethics for my nation
This is the short and very incomplete list. I’m no theologian but this was an easy read and I understand the perspective of the author and appreciated his ability to share the other perspectives of Catholicism and Protestantism. Having grown up in a Methodist church, and attended Baptist churches through college & afterward I know for sure he speaks with authority on how these branches of faith view and understand authority, the Holy Spirit, and the variety of ways of interpreting scripture.
This is by no means saying my faith is better than yours or that Anabaptists have it all figured out. I have a hard time articulating my faith and how I live it out. I encourage you to read this if you are interested in understanding the Anabaptist faith and visit with a church, each one is so unique.