Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Anabaptist Theology

These studies come from the booklet Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House. I remember very well a gentleman at seminary saying that he felt strongly that the SBC got a lot of deep theological history from the Anabaptists and I agree with that statement. I give a hearty amen to their belief in believers baptism, where many of the early reformers believed in infant baptism.

Anabaptist Theology

-Anabaptists did not stress systematic theological studies. Rather, doctrine was forged as it applied to life. Anabaptists were characterized by missionary zeal, separation of life, and an emphasis on ecclesiology.

Revelation-The Bible is to be obeyed completely in one’s life. It is the sole authority and guide. The Spirit reveals the message of the Word to the believing community. Interpretation of Scripture is discerned primarily at church gatherings. Anabaptists tend to focus on the teachings of Christ and the New Testament more than on the Old Testament.

Salvation-Sin is not so much a bondage of the free will of men as it is a lost capacity to respond to God. The free will of man allows him to repent and be obedient to the gospel. When one repents and believes, God regenerates him to walk in the new life. The emphasis is more on obedience than on sin, more on regeneration than on justification.

Church-The church is a visible body of believers obedient to Christ. The church exists as a visible fellowship, not an invisible body of a state church.

Only believing adults can participate in baptism. Baptism testifies to the believer’s separation from the world and commitment to obeying Christ.

The sacraments-baptism and the Lord’s Supper-are only symbols of Christ’s work; they impart no grace to the participant. The characteristics of a church member’s life ought to be personal conversion, a holy life, suffering for Christ, separation, love for the brethren, nonresistance, and obedience to the Great Commission. The church is a kingdom of God that is in constant conflict with the evil kingdom in the world system. The church is to evangelize in the world but not to participate in its system. This precludes participation in any governmental office or military service.

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