Anabaptist Creeds and the Like ....

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  • Anabaptist Creeds and the Like ....

    Per a request here, I will answer the questions posed.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    No need to answer here Nahum, but I am curious as to why you affiliate Anabaptists with a denomination rather than a Sect or even Cult?
    True, the Anabaptist are more of a movement or a branch of Christianity, and not a denomination. There are several different churches under that umbrella, and many denominations of said churches. While the major doctrines of Protestantism are the same within the faith tradition (e.g., the nature of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the inerrancy of scripture, the virgin birth, the afterlife, et al.) there are some differences in faith and practice (e.g., concepts of discipleship, mode of baptism, strong separation from the world, the headcovering for sisters, nonresistance, etc.) that are unique to the faith tradition.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    For example, in the Nicene Creed, which all denominations profess, says "we believe in one baptism"... . does your church profess this or any Creed?
    Creeds are not a large factor in the Anabaptist world and adherence to the Apostolic and Nicene Creed varies a bit depending upon the group and geographic location. You'll find both printed in modern Mennonite hymnals though and the Apostolic Creed is recited at times.

    Some important confessions in the Mennonite tradition would be The Schleitheim Confession, The Dordrecht Confession, and The Mennonite Confession of Faith. Also, a good book on the doctrines of the faith is Doctrines of the Bible: A Brief Discussion of the Teachings of God's Work, by. Daniel Kauffman.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    I find your posts only to confuse me even more, because you seemingly appear most gracious towards other denominations, a trait that I find lacking in a lot of "credo-baptists" when it comes these days towards those denominations that baptize infants.
    I am sorry for any confusion. It is true that we hold to baptism for those that believe. However, that is not unique to the Anabaptists and a lot of Evangelicals (e.g., Baptists, etc.) hold similar views. I try to be gracious and friendly with believers. And I sincerely believe we can learn from each other's history and beliefs. A book that really got me thinking about that was Richard Fosters' Streams of Living Water.

    Originally posted by William View Post
    Perhaps you can share your view in the Creeds and Confessions sub-forum if you have time?
    Well, what was the super-duper short version. I could go on for a while. ;)

    Originally posted by William View Post
    Here's what I gathered on the Anabaptists thus far, I mean if you can share with us your thoughts, mainly how Anabapstist belong to the universal church I would gladly also make a subforum under the denominations category just for Anabaptist, but it seems that Anabaptist reject the universal church, claiming themselves to be "the" church, and not having only one baptism in common with the rest of Protestant denominations, that is, those that are convinced their infant baptism was null?
    Some Anabaptists do reject the notion. Some do not. Some, most perhaps, take the notion of, in my own words, "we're doing the best we can with our understanding of the New Testament".

    Perhaps more formally, and though my specific local, very small conference (Bible Mennonite) isn't directly affiliated with them, I think the Mennonite USA Article 16 says it better than I could:

    The church is the assembly of the people of God. The local congregation which meets frequently is the church. Larger conference groups which assemble less often are also the church (1 Thess. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1). Church membership involves commitment to a local congregation as well as to a larger church family which may have more than one level of conference affiliation. More broadly, we are united through our common Lord to the universal church, which includes believers in every place and time. We appreciate this wider family of believers and seek to nurture appropriate relationships with them.
    Originally posted by William View Post
    God bless,
    William
    May the Good Lord bless you too brother. :)

  • #2
    Originally posted by William View Post
    No need to answer here Nahum, but I am curious as to why you affiliate Anabaptists with a denomination rather than a Sect or even Cult? For example, in the Nicene Creed, which all denominations profess, says "we believe in one baptism"... . does your church profess this or any Creed? I find your posts only to confuse me even more, because you seemingly appear most gracious towards other denominations, a trait that I find lacking in a lot of "credo-baptists" when it comes these days towards those denominations that baptize infants.

    Perhaps you can share your view in the Creeds and Confessions sub-forum if you have time? Here's what I gathered on the Anabaptists thus far, and if you can share with us your thoughts, mainly how Anabapstist belong to the universal church I would gladly also make a subforum under the denominations category just for Anabaptist, but it seems that Anabaptist reject the universal church, claiming themselves to be "the" church, and not having only one baptism in common with the rest of Protestant denominations, that is, those that are convinced their infant baptism was null?
    William, I am curious as to why you place such importance on man-made creeds. Creeds are concerned with beliefs alone, while Anabaptists give equal importance to behavior, or at least some importance to behavior. It's not that the Anabaptists have rejected the statements contained in these creeds but that the authority of the church should be the Scriptures rather than man-made creeds, just as an American can be a patriot without signing his name to the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Off hand, I don't know of anything contained in the Apostles' Creed that I would disagree with, or that most Anabaptists would object to, and some Anabaptist groups do attest to the Apostles' Creed. For example, the Brethren in Christ include the Apostles' Creed in their Manual of Doctrine and Government of the Brethren in Christ Church.

    Since the Anabaptists came about through Bible study, I think that the greatest objection to creeds is that they are intended to stifle discussion and to divide. Indeed, they have been used as an excuse for horrible persecutions.

    Anabaptists have traditionally objected to swearing oaths, and these creeds may be viewed in that light, as well. On the other hand, as Nahum has pointed out, the Anabaptists have established Confessions, which serve much the same purpose.

    You seem to object to the practice of re-baptizing those who had been baptized as infants, but this is a practice that is true also of every Baptist denomination that I am familiar with. This is not considered a re-baptism, however, since neither the Anabaptists or the Baptists consider the baptism as infants to be an actual baptist, but rather a sign of dedication on the part of the parents. By the way, I was raised in a church that practiced infant baptism, but my real baptism was when I was in my twenties.

    Other than through books, of which I have read several, I am not personally familiar with every Anabaptist group but none that I am familiar with consider that the Anabaptists are the sole proprietors of Christianity, and this includes the Amish. The Amish may not fellowship with Protestant churches, but they do not consider them to be non-Christian. As a member of a Grace Brethren Church, my pastor would recommend members of the congregation to nearby Protestant colleges, given that there were no GBC colleges nearby.

    Living far away from the nearest Anabaptist Church, I have been a member of, and even a deacon in an American Baptist Church, and I certainly don't consider the Baptists to be non-Christian.

    Yes, there are large differences between the various Anabaptist denominations, but this is true of the Protestant denominations as well.

    Some Anabaptist denominations now consider themselves to be Protestant, while others view the emergence of the Anabaptists as part of the Radical Reformation, which broke off from the Protestant Reformation. As with the Protestants, the Anabaptists have had to deal with questions of same sex marriage and gays in the ministry, and some of them have followed the more liberal path, while others have remained quite conservative.

    Early statements of faith among Anabaptists have included:
    • The authority of the New Testament for daily living.
    • Adult or believers' baptism.
    • The power of the Holy Spirit.
    • Obedience to the teachings of Christ.
    • The practical fruits of conversion should be evident in Christian living.
    • The church as a covenant community.
    • A refusal to swear oaths.
    • A rejection of violence and military service.
    • The separation of church and state.
    • Social separation of the church from the evil in society.
    • The exclusion of wayward members from communion.
    Not all Anabaptist denominations adhere to all of these today, but some variation of most of them is common among most Anabaptist denominations, although not necessarily the larger ones.
    Last edited by Ken Anderson; 07-02-2016, 04:48 PM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ken Anderson View Post
      I am curious as to why you place such importance on man-made creeds. Creeds are concerned with beliefs alone, while Anabaptists give equal importance to behavior, or at least some importance to behavior. It's not that the Anabaptists have rejected the statements contained in these creeds but that the authority of the church should be the Scriptures rather than man-made creeds, just as an American can be a patriot without signing his name to the Pledge of Allegiance.
      G'day Ken,

      I am not challenging the authority of Scripture, nor do I place Creeds and Confessions above Scripture. However, the ecumenical Creeds are a great way to confess our faith and establish a test of orthodoxy. They have stood the test of time. Have you ever noticed, Ken, that liberal leaning bodies first disassociate themselves with ecumenical Creeds? The Creeds are usually the first to go. The ecumenical Creeds guard against historical errors, they tend to keep the body from swaying in a constantly changing culture, and in context tend to make a point about the unchanging faith we confess.

      I keep hearing about individuals that can be patriots or Americans while rejecting the Constitution and Old Glory... . though I tend to think Creeds and Confessions define us, that is, they define who "we" are by what we believe. Other than that I think rejecting the ecumenical Creeds are a red flag, just like rejecting the Constitution or pledge is an indicator to whom one holds questionable allegiance. For example, in the pledge it reads:

      "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
      Yea, I think red flags are raised by its rejection.

      Originally posted by Ken Anderson View Post
      Not all Anabaptist denominations adhere to all of these today, but some variation of most of them is common among most Anabaptist denominations, although not necessarily the larger ones.
      What do you mean by denomination Ken? This was what my question was all about, it seems that denomination has now been redefined by (an) Anabaptist's standards. This is exactly why I put so much emphasis on Creeds and Confessions when it comes to a body of believers. Not all denominations are denominations!!! Must be a relativistic point of view?

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Ken Anderson View Post
        Yes, there are large differences between the various Anabaptist denominations, but this is true of the Protestant denominations as well.
        This is most certainly true. The Anabaptist community ecompasses a lot of different groups: Mennonites, Amish, Brethren in Christ, Hutterites, Bruderhof, Schwarzenau Brethren (aka German Baptist), River Brethren, Apostolic Christian Church, et al. And within those churches there is a a lot of diversity. The Mennonites, for example, range from ultra conservative to (sadly) pretty liberal, and all points in between. The particular church I am a member of is solidly conservative, but not to the degree of some sects.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nahum View Post
          The particular church
          Hiya Nahum,

          I think the "Church" is the issue here, and how it is defined as an example. Just curious Nahum, how do you know that a particular body or church is conservative or liberal? Do you consider Creeds, Confessions, or Statement of faiths as useful tools? To what degree must a body or church disagree or reject the points made by the Anabaptist's confessions to not be considered Anabaptist? It just makes my head spin, how can one define a body that in itself does not want define itself? Seemingly, this comes across as rather individualistic.

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by William View Post
            I am not challenging the authority of Scripture, nor do I place Creeds and Confessions above Scripture. However, the ecumenical Creeds are a great way to confess our faith and establish a test of orthodoxy. They have stood the test of time.
            Yes, they have. Yet a declination to swear an oath by a man-made creed isn't necessarily the same thing as a denial of the truths that may be contained there. As I said, I don't know of an Anabaptist group that disagrees with the Apostles' Creed. Although some of the larger Anabaptist denominations have become liberal in recent years, this has been true perhaps to a greater extent among the Protestant denominations, and many remain very conservative. You may or may not agree with my opinion that the UCC is a very liberal Protestant denomination, yet they claim to adhere to at least the Nicene Creed, although I'm not sure about the others.

            Originally posted by William View Post
            What do you mean by denomination Ken? This was what my question was all about, it seems that denomination has now been redefined by (an) Anabaptist's standards. This is exactly why I put so much emphasis on Creeds and Confessions when it comes to a body of believers. Not all denominations are denominations!!! Must be a relativistic point of view?
            Nothing fancy, just the dictionary definition.

            denomination
            NOUN
            1. a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church.

            I don't see that the Anabaptists are using a standard different from the Protestant churches there. It's difficult to tell what a denomination is supposed to mean in the Protestant churches, given that there are Protestant bodies that claim to be non-denominational, but which function in ways that are not discernibly different from a denomination.

            I'm thinking here of the churches of Christ, not the UCC, but the ones that include both instrumental and non-instrumental bodies, and the Disciples of Christ. They claim to be non-denominational because they do not have a central governing body administering colleges, children's homes, or organized mission efforts, but that each church is autonomous and self-governing, yet if any of these autonomous congregation chooses to adopt beliefs or practices that differ from the larger body, they may be disassociated.

            The various Anabaptist fellowships are distinct bodies that are identified by traits, such as a common name, structure, leadership and doctrine. For all practical purposes, they are denominations.

            Among Protestant and Anabaptist denominations, these individual bodies may or may not consider themselves to be denominations however, as some will choose to refer to their body as a fellowship or simply a church.

            It has become a trend, I think, among Protestant churches to not associate with any denomination or fellowship, and I agree that this is often because they don't want to be answerable to anyone, and that probably includes God.

            Among Protestant and Anabaptist church bodies, I don't see any sharp differences as far as church structure. Some Protestant denominations are more similar to some of the Anabaptist denominations than other Protestant bodies, and vice versa. Among both Protestant and Anabaptist bodies, the larger danger is the constant move to the left, and this has placed many of them in danger of being on the wrong side when it comes to judgement, I am afraid.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by William View Post

              Hiya Nahum,
              Hello William. I will try to answer as best I can.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              I think the "Church" is the issue here, and how it is defined as an example. Just curious Nahum, how do you know that a particular body or church is conservative or liberal?
              We hold the Bible as the final authority on all matters. And the life of the Christian, both individually and corporally, the New Testament in particular. We have not comprised on these matters to please the world. There are other points, some common to most Protestants, others perhaps a bit more esoteric, that are the dividing line between conservative Mennonites and the others.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              Do you consider Creeds, Confessions, or Statement of faiths as useful tools?
              Yes indeed. Though the Bible is the authority in matters of faith and practice.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              To what degree must a body or church disagree or reject the points made by the Anabaptist's confessions to not be considered Anabaptist?
              This is a difficult question to answer. Anabaptism encompasses several different traditions. There are some common points, but there is also a good deal of variety too. I know the centrality of Christ and the New Testament is common among them all. The historical roots of the faiths bind together the Anabaptist sects.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              It just makes my head spin, how can one define a body that in itself does not want define itself? Seemingly, this comes across as rather individualistic.
              I don't know what to say. If I can clarify a finer point, I will do my best.

              Originally posted by William View Post
              God bless,
              William
              Blessings to you too.
              Last edited by Nahum; 07-02-2016, 11:39 PM.
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