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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Ben W, Jul 23, 2004.
Would it be reasonable to say that the Anabaptists were the first Baptists?
That depends on how you define Anabaptists and Baptists, and also whether you mean Donatist-era Anabaptism or Radical Reformation Anabaptism.
The Anabaptist had a strong influence on the early Baptists....especially the General Baptists. But there was no direct link between the anabaptists and the Particular Baptists, from where most modern American Baptists descend. Most modern baptist denominations have little in common with the Anabaptists.
Vedder, the Baptist historian, writes about seventeenth century Baptist practices:
"The Baptists of the seventeenth century had many curious customs, some of which were borrowed from them by the Friends, and survive among the latter body to this day. The quaint garb of the Quaker is that of the seventeenth century Baptist. In public worship men and women sat on opposite sides of the house, both participating in the exhorting and “prophesying,” as the “Spirit moved.” Whether singing was an allowable part of worship was fiercely disputed, and a salaried or “hireling” ministry was in great disfavor. The imposition of hands was practised, in the ordination not only of pastors, but of deacons, and in many churches hands were laid on all who had been baptized, an act that has given place among American Baptists, at least, to the “hand of fellowship.” Fasting was a common observance, feet-washing was practised by many churches, though its obligation was earnestly questioned, and the anointing of the sick was so common as to be almost the rule. Pastors and deacons were often elected by the casting of lots, and love feasts before the Lord’s Supper were a common practice."
Many of these practices were taken from the anabaptists.
Scroll Publishing (www.scrollpublishing.com) is doing a special which ends in a day or two (if it hasn't already expired)....The Complete Works of Menno Simons for about$12, plus a few other books on the anabaptists on sale, plus if you buy two or more a free CD message on the Anabaptists.
That would depend on what you mean by the word "Baptist". I would say from what I have read and my limited spec of observation that the "anabaptist's" (however broad or specific you apply that term) would probably not be accepted in most "Baptist" associations or fellowships today. I would welcome any comments or corrections to this observation.
The Anabaptist movement around Menno Simons is the sort of group one can proudly point to as ancestors.
The ones led by Jan van Leiden at Münster were the sort of guys that can make one support the side of the Inquisition.
I think it would be fair to say that some Anabaptist groups, such as Simons', contributed to some streams of modern Baptist life, but I would hesitate to make a direct linkage, especially in light of the obvious Separatist origins of the Particular Baptists.
At this point it is good to remember our Continental cousins the German Baptists and through them the Evangelical Christian-Baptists of the former USSR still exist as descendents of the Ana-Baptists.
Point taken; continental Baptists have a different history than Anglo Baptists.
However, Anglo Baptists did play a part in the spread of the Baptist message in Europe. J.G. Oncken, for example, was a trailblazer for the Baptists and was a missionary of the Triennial Convention.
The Russian Baptist churches contain a mixture of Mennonite, English Baptist and Plymouth Brethren, and even reforming Orthodox thought.
rsr: I will not do a "am I not..." post. But, I have observed the EC-B up close and personally for the last forteen years. So, I am well qualified to make these observations. (Have you ever read De Chalendeau?)
The German Pietist Baptists (aka the Stundists) who settled in the Volga River region are the foundation of the EC-B. It was though them the first Russian was scripturally baptized in the 1850s. This heritage is the backbone for the EC-B. Yes, British Baptist and P.B. merchants were active in the St. Petersburg region. And with the amalgamation of the different "Evangelical Sects" in the 20s, the was an enfusion of P.B. influence. This can be seen in the order of EC-B worship.
As for the Mennonite influence, I think you are refering to the EC-B stance on headcoverings for women. I am not to sure about it originating with the Mennonites.
As for the "reforming Orthodox thought", do you mean the Molokans? I know there was some colportage work done with them down in the Caucasus region in the late 19th century. But, I don't see any of their influence in today's EC-B.
I certainly didn't mean to contradict your observations, Squire. Yes, I was referring to the Molokans; you obviously have more information than I do about their continued influence.
I had been under the impression that the Stundists were influenced by the Mennonites (I think it was McBeth), but need to check some more.
There's a woman at my church whose name is "Anna", who is the oldest of four choldren. She'll definitely agree that Anna Baptists are the first Baptists.
Considering their geographic closeness, I wouldn't be surpised about any cross pollination. The Mennonites (Dutch/Low German Ana-Baptists) immigrated to the Volga region at the same time as the German Baptists. It seems after the Russians under Catherine the Great pushed the Ottoman Turks south towards the Black Sea they needed farmers. At the time, there was a need for pacifist Mennonites and Baptists to get out of the way of the Napoleonic and other late 18th century wars. So, many of these brethren went east and not west.
Yes, it was McBeth who talks about the Mennonite influence on the Stundists.
Like I said, I wasn't surprised by the cross-polination. But how much and of what knid was the influence? Let's face it culturally there would not have been that many differences between a Mennonite and a Pietist German Baptist. Language maybe, the Ms were Plattdeutsch and the PGBs Hochdeutsch. IIRC, They were both Armenian. Not a whole lot of difference there. Though the EC-B are alot more evangelical than the Mennonites.
Sounds like a discussion to be continued
The Anabaptists and the Baptists are one and the same people. "Baptist" is simply a later name for the original Anabaptists.
The theory that the Baptists and Anabaptists were two different groups of people was invented by modernist revisionist Baptist historians (such as William Whitsitt and Henry Vedder) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.