A Short History of Anabaptism

Who Where the Early Anabaptists?

The Anabaptists (which literally means "re-baptizers") made the most radical attempt of the Reformation era to renew the church in central Europe. Whilst Anabaptism was a grass roots movement with diverse expressions often opposed by the establishment in its early development, its enduring legacy has included:

  • a view of the church in which participation is voluntary and followers look to the scriptures and to each other for guidance.
  • a commitment to the way of peace and other teachings of Jesus as a rule for life.
  • a separation of church from civil authority.
  • baptism as a personal profession of faith.
  • worshipping congregations that create authentic community and reach out in mission and service.

For more information about the history of Anabaptism, the Anabaptist Network in the UK has produced a wonderful set of materials online, called What is Anabaptism?. It's worth your time to take a look.

For a deep examination of the history of Anabaptism, the best resource online is the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.