The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists: A Socialist Reading of the Anabaptist Kingdom of God in Münster
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Three Cages in Münster Germany -What was the Anabaptist Rebellion?
Statistics are updated weekly using participating publisher data sourced exclusively from Crossref. The diverse world of social enterprise : A collection of social enterprise stories. The impact of mobile phone penetration on African inequality. Social entrepreneurship: a different model? By Author Daniel J. This represents a rejection of the previous standard held by Mennonite scholars such as Bender and Friedmann.
Historians and sociologists have made further distinctions between radical Anabaptists, who were prepared to use violence in their attempts to build a New Jerusalem , and their pacifist brethren, later broadly known as Mennonites. The crisis came in the so-called Peasants' War in South Germany in In its origin a revolt against feudal oppression, it became, under the leadership of Muentzer, a war against all constituted authorities, and an attempt to establish by revolution an ideal Christian commonwealth, with absolute equality and the community of goods.
Many of the followers of Muentzer and Bockelson seem to have fled from persecution in Germany and the Netherlands to be subjected to a persecution scarcely less severe in England. The mildest measure adopted towards these refugees was banishment from the kingdom, and a large number suffered at the stake. Their Christology and negative attitude towards the state rather indicate, as in the case of John Wyclif , Jan Hus and the Fraticelli Brethren , an affinity to the Cathars and other medieval sects. But this affiliation is hard to establish.
Later on Hermann Schyn claimed descent for the peaceful Baptists from the Waldensians, who certainly, as the records of the Flemish inquisition , collected by P. Fredericq, prove, were widespread during the 15th century over north France and Flanders. It would appear from the way in which Anabaptism sprang up everywhere independently, as if more than one ancient sect took in and through it a new lease of life.
Setting the Stage for Rebellion
Ritschl discerned in it the leaven of the Fraticelli or Franciscan Tertiaries. In Moravia , if what Alexander Rost related be true, namely that they called themselves Apostolici , and went barefooted healing the sick, they must have at least absorbed into themselves a sect of whom we hear in the 12th century in the north of Europe as deferring baptism to the age of 30, and rejecting oaths, prayers for the dead, relics and invocation of saints.
The Moravian Anabaptists, says Rost, went bare-footed, washed each other's feet like the Fraticelli , had all goods in common, worked everyone at a handicraft, had a spiritual father who prayed with them every morning and taught them, dressed in black and had long graces before and after meals. Zeiler also in his German Itinerary describes their way of life. The Lord's Supper , or bread-breaking, was a commemoration of the Passion , held once a year. They sat at long tables, the elders read the words of institution and prayed, and passed a loaf round from which each broke off a bit and ate, the wine being handed round in flagons.
Children in their colonies were separated from the parents, and lived in the school, each having his bed and blanket. They were taught reading, writing and summing, cleanliness, truthfulness and industry, and the girls married the men chosen for them. On April 12 , , certain London Anabaptists brought before a commission of bishops asserted:. One of the most notable features of the early Anabaptists is that they regarded any true religious reform as involving social amelioration.
The socialism of the 16th century was necessarily Christian and Anabaptist. Lutheranism was more attractive to grand-ducal patriots and well-to-do burghers than to the poor and oppressed and disinherited.
The Lutherans and Zwinglians never converted the Anabaptists. In Austrian-controlled territories, the Jesuits had somewhat better success in persuading or coercing many Hutterites to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church. Social scientist Robert Cialdini see Mind Control notes that early Anabaptists were unusual among doomsday groups because rather than disintegrating in the face of false doomsday predictions, Anabaptists were able to grow and prosper through extraordinarly effective recruitment efforts.
He notes that: "When the Dutch Anabaptists saw their prophesied year of destruction, , pass uneventfully, they became rabid seekers after converts, pouring unprecedented amounts of energy into the cause. One extraordinarily eloquent missionary, Jakob van Kampen, is reported to have baptized persons in single day.
So powerful was the snowballing social evidence in support of the Anabaptist position that it rapidly over-whelmed the disconfirming physical evidence and turned two-thirds of Holland's great cities into adherents". He theorizes that groups of 'true believers' suddenly shift from secret conspirators to zealous missionaries precisely when direct disconfirmation of their beliefs renders them least convincing to outsiders because publicity and recruitment provide the only remaining hope, that, through social evidence, "their threatened but treasured beliefs would become truer ".
Few contemporary doomsday groups are as successful as these early Anabaptists were at actually gaining new converts in the face of false physical evidence. Much historic Roman Catholic and Protestant literature has represented the Anabaptists as groups who preached false doctrine and led people into apostasy.
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That negative historiography remained popular for about four centuries. The Catholics and Protestants alike persecuted the Anabaptists, resorted to torture and other types of physical abuse, in attempts both to curb the growth of the movement and bring about the salvation of the heretics through recantation.
The Protestants under Zwingli were the first to persecute the Reformation Anabaptists.
Felix Manz became the first martyr in On May 20 , , Catholic authorities executed Michael Sattler. King Ferdinand declared drowning called the third baptism "the best antidote to Anabaptism".
Münster rebellion - Wikipedia
It has been said that a "16th century man who did not drink to excess, curse, or abuse his workmen or family could be suspected of being an Anabaptist and thus persecuted. Thieleman J.
Continuing persecution in Europe was largely responsible for the mass immigrations to North America by Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites. Several existing denominational bodies may be legitimately regarded as the successors of the Continental Anabaptists — Amish, Baptists, Brethren, Hutterites, Mennonites, Bruderhof Communities and Quakers.
Some writers prefer to distinguish institutionally lineal descendants Amish , Hutterites , Mennonites and spiritual descendants Baptists , Brethren , the Bruderhof Communities , and Seventh-day Adventists ; the Quakers share the distinction of also being a peace church. Nevertheless, some historical connections have been demonstrated for all of these spiritual descendants, though perhaps not as clearly as the notable institutionally lineal descendants.
However, although many see the more well known Anabaptist groups Amish , Hutterites and Mennonites as ethnic groups, the Anabaptist bodies of today are largely no longer ethnically descended from the Continental Anabaptists. Total membership in Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and related churches totals 1,, as of with about 60 percent in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
One of the historical Anabaptist doctrines — that people must personally, volitionally, and consciously relate to God — is a doctrine found among much of Evangelical Protestantism, even though these churches may not be historically linked to the Anabaptists. Today in response to post-modernism, what some theologians are calling 'the end of Christendom' and the global ecological crisis, some churches and theologians are drawing upon the Anabaptist traditions as a paradigm for Christian spirituality in the 21st century.
This movement, sometimes referred to as 'neo-anabaptism', includes theologians and communities from wide diversity of Christian denominations which are not part of the Historic Peace Churches , yet who see in the witness of the 16th century radical reformers an authentic witness to early Christianity and to the life and teachings of Christ.
Yoder "inspired a whole generation of Christians to follow the way of Jesus into social action and peacemaking. Outworkings of this spirituality include simple yet joyful lifestyle, peace and justice making, the practice of nonviolence , communal living and the voluntary sharing of goods, particularly with those in need. All those who hold the idea of a free church and freedom of religion sometimes called separation of church and state are greatly indebted to the Anabaptists.
When it was introduced by the Anabaptists in the 15th and 16th centuries, religious freedom independent of the state was a radical idea, and unthinkable to both clerical and governmental leaders. Religious liberty was equated with anarchy and Peter Kropotkin traces the birth of anarchist thought in Europe to these early Anabaptist communities. According to Estep, "Where men believe in the freedom of religion, supported by a guarantee of separation of church and state, they have entered into that heritage. Where men have caught the Anabaptist vision of discipleship, they have become worthy of that heritage.
Where corporate discipleship submits itself to the New Testament pattern of the church, the heir has then entered full possession of his legacy. Genealogists are also indebted to the Anabaptists, because Anabaptism was part of the cause for Protestant churches adopting the confirmation service, and baptismal registers came into being. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Contents [ show ]. Categories :.