Were the anabaptists heretics?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by Bladestunner316, Nov 4, 2006.

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  1. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Im having a discussion over baptism with another brother of mine. I was told to read John McArthurs article on Infant Baptism. In the article John wrote something that kinda stung me the wrong way and I wanted a solid answer from anyone here who might know.

    Is this true? Offhand from my poor memory this seems to be misconstrued to make paedo-baptisers appear even more wrong then need be.
     
  2. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    From the Wiki - so caveat emptor...

     
  3. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Moderator

    Most of the Anabaptists were heretical in their views on the Trinity and soteriology. In that day that meant death. The rebaptism issue is historically brought to the fore, but I'm not convinced that was the main cause for their persecution. It certainly marked these groups apart and perhaps became associated with their other heresies in the popular mind. I think looking back most of us would disagree with persecuting them, but we didn't live back then. It's not an excuse, but we just need to understand the times. Also remember that some of the Anabaptists were militant, not pacifists. I'm sure some of the persecutors failed to make that distinction when they wanted to suppress heresy.
     
  4. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    There are older threads on this.

    Virtually all the Anabaptists denied the doctrine of justification on the grounds that justification sola gratia sola fide leads to immorality.

    Several of the Anabaptist leaders held a docetic Christology, that Jesus had a "heavenly flesh."

    Some of them did move toward and/or embrace heretical views of the Trinity.

    By denying infant baptism they placed themselves outside all forms of the established churches (Roman or Protestant).

    Many of them held an ontological dualism (material is bad; immaterial is good) so that the material world was perceived to be evil per se. Their radicalism lead them to a radical form of separatism.

    They were widely perceived as a threat to the social oder and, indeed, they gave evidence more than once of being just that.

    Judged by the catholic, ecumenical creeds, yes, several Anabaptist leaders were heretics. The Belgic Confession Art 29 describes the Anabaptist congregations as "sects" who falsely call themselves churches.

    rsc

     
  5. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you. From what I got MacArthur was saying is that they were persecuted for baptizing adults.
     
  6. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    As I said in another thread, the number of Anabaptists who were killed is often over-stated. It is hip to identify with them as an oppressed minority.

    Something like 3,000 Anabaptists were killed. In the 16th century something like 50-60,000 Reformed folk were killed.

    Seems to me that the Reformed were the oppressed minority!

    rsc
     
  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As I recall, Nathan, there were people in my former (original) Continental Reformed church who were excommunicated for rebaptism. The grounds were along the line of denying the efficacy of the Spirit's witness through the ecclesiastical sacrament of baptism (or something like that; I'm trying to say as an adult now what I was hearing as a child back then.) I remember a friend of my wife's, before we were married and when we were seeing each other regularly, whose father was excommunicated for those reasons. We talked about it a lot whenever we had leisure to do so. And some of what I said above comes from that, but mostly from what we were taught when I was in my teens.

    In summary it works like this: baptism is a once-and-for-all thing that the Church conveys by her authority from Christ. She must be responsible in who she baptizes, of course, but once baptized always baptized, assuming that the baptism was done in proper manner according to the confessional standards. To repeat it is to deny the first one, and that is considered a very serious offence.

    There may have been examples of what McArthur is talking about. Unfortunately the Protestants as a whole were not as unified in doctrine and practice as would have been desirable. But the term 'Protestants' is a pretty general term too. It included everyone who broke from the RCC, and was not confined to the Reformed only.
     
  8. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum Puritan Board Sophomore

    How much have groups like the Mennonites inherited that?
     
  9. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    All of it...they still believe that way. Except there are certain Brethren churches that are now calvinistic (as in very much like the SBC).


    It's true, the issues with anabaptist persecution had to do with alot of other issues aside from believer's baptism (though they would have you think otherwise). Also, as much as they try to disassociate themselves with the incident, look at the case in Munster where they took over a city. It was only AFTER that incident that Menno started preaching and enforcing "nonresistance".
     
  10. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    It is used that way sometimes, but most Reformation scholars distinguish between magisterial Reformers and the radicals. The Anabaptists, the rationalists, and mystics are usually described as radicals.

    Sometimes (Lutherans I think) define Protestant very narrowly to refer only to those who were present at Diet of Spire (1529). Most often, however, it is used to refer to the confessional Protestants, i.e., Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican.

    rsc
     
  11. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Can I ask another question to go along with this. Im confused why MacArthur says people were persecuted solely for adult baptism(not rebaptism) just plain old adult baptism.

    I honestly dont think that the reformers-puritans did not baptize adult converts?

    Blade
     
  12. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I would think they would if the person was an adult convert (ie., not baptised as an infant). Did they not baptise the NAs amoung others? Therefore, the issue was not the baptising of an adult...it was the rebaptising of an adult.
     
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