Understanding the Mennonites - 3

As well as generally embracing the substance of the historic Christian creeds, the C16 Anabaptist movement also emphasized Biblical themes sometimes understated or omitted by these same creeds.

Of particular importance was the emphasis on Christ's way of life as our example, characterized by suffering love.

The image (left) is of an Anabaptist about to be drowned, in a cruel parody of their practice of believers' baptism.

Two quotes from Menno Simmons illustrate this emphasis:

Inasmuch, then, as the Lamb and its chosen members, from the beginning, have been persecuted and slain by the malice of the creatures of the conquered serpent, and inasmuch (according to Scriptures) as this persecution will not cease so long as there are righteous and unrighteous people on earth; and as in our days, especially, the cross of Christ, on every hand (as it was in the days of our ancestors), is laid upon all God fearing children, who are inwardly born again from the powerful seed of the holy word; therefore I cannot neglect to admonish my beloved brethren and sisters, fellow believers and fellow sufferers with the word of the Lord, concerning the suffering, cross and persecution of the saints, which is abundantly related in the Scriptures, and was abundantly visited upon our fathers, both of the Old and New Testaments, and also upon many pious witnesses of our own days; that they may, according to the example of our fathers, fearlessly and valiantly continue the undertaken contest, in all constancy, patience, strength, courage and valor, through the power of their faith in Christ Jesus; and that they may thus receive the promised crown. For this purpose may the Father of every good and perfect gift, through his beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us the riches of his grace, in the power of his Holy Spirit, Amen.

in A Consoling Admonition is well known to many thousands of honest and reasonable people (as I suppose) that we seek nothing else upon earth but that we may in our weakness, willingly walk in the footsteps of Christ, in obedience to his word; that we may again light the extinguished lamp of truth, may call many unto righteousness, and that we may save our souls by the assistance and grace of the Lord, on which account we, poor ones everywhere, must endure so much tribulation, misery, anxiety, cross and persecution;

A Reply to a Publication of Gellius Faber, 1562

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