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Biblical Anabaptism

by on December 30, 2015

Biblical Anabaptism:
Notes from a Myron Dietz lecture

Myron Dietz passed away this year. He was an Old Order River Brethren educator. He taught school for many years. Anabaptist history was one of his favorite subjects. I was privileged to sit under his teaching on several occasions. The following ten points were notes taken from one of his lectures. He was contrasting Anabaptist beliefs and practices with Protestant teachings. I share these notes for those who would like to experience some of his teaching.

1. Christ as Savior and Lord –Phil 3:10, II Cor. 3:11
Christ is focus of life

2. Bible – Theology of the fellowship, no flat Bible -James 1:22

3. Repentance (Bussfertigkeit) a continual process, Metanoia-a change of mind
Confession and restitution (Reformers emphasized faith alone)

4. Believers’ Baptism- Acts 2:38
Augustine said that babies are born with original sin therefore need baptism to be saved
Zwingli said baptism is the New Testament covenant symbol

5. Obedient discipleship-Luke 9:23

6. Church as visible body- Matt. 16:18
Protestants believed in an invisible church

7. Pure Church by discipline-Matt. 18:15-18

8. Holiness of life – being human is not an excuse for an unholy life

9. Peace – first 300 years the Church kept the peace position – Matt. 5:39
Augustine said, Christians would not fight for pagan empire but Christians would fight for a Christian empire.
Protestants taught that clergy do not fight but also taught the priesthood of all believers (so therefore none should fight). Their position is inconsistent.

10. Two kingdoms
Luther- state is over the Church
Zwingli – Church is over the state
Anabaptists – we are pilgrims and strangers,
We are not citizens

My notes on Myron’s notes:
1. The emphasis is on Jesus being LORD of life. Not just savior from sin.
2. A flat Bible is the concept that the Old Testament and the New Testament are of equal value for determining Godly behavior. Anabaptists held to the New Testament being a higher standard to follow the way of Jesus.
3. The German word for repentance implies a continual life of repentance, not just a one-time experience.
4. Anabaptists did not believe that babies/children were responsible for sin. They became responsible at the age of accountability.
5. Discipleship is obedience without which there is no salvation.
6. A pure, visible Church is possible. Children of the Kingdom of God can be known by their fruit/lives.
7. By discipline the Church can be kept pure.
8. Being human does not exempt believers from living an obedient and holy life. Humanity is not an excuse to live an unholy life. The power of the Holy Spirit keeps believers from sin.
9. Peace and non-resistance are integral to the Christian life.
10. The basis of all Anabaptist beliefs is the two-kingdom concept. You cannot live in both kingdoms with divided loyalties. You must make a choice. Are you in the kingdom of this world or are you in the Kingdom of God.

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