By Harold S. Bender
"Judged by means of the reception it met by the hands of these in strength, either in Church and kingdom, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant international locations, the Anabaptist stream used to be probably the most tragic within the historical past of Christianity; yet, judged via the rules, that have been placed into play via the boys who bore this reproachful nickname, it needs to be suggested essentially the most momentous and critical undertakings in man’s eventful non secular fight after the reality. It accrued up the earnings of prior events, it's the non secular soil out of which all nonconformist sects have sprung, and it's the first undeniable statement in glossy heritage of a programme for a brand new form of Christian society which the fashionable international, specially in the United States and England, has been slowly realizing—an completely unfastened and autonomous non secular society, and a kingdom within which each guy counts as a guy, and has his percentage in shaping either Church and State." those phrases of Rufus M. Jones represent the most effective characterizations of Anabaptism and its contribution to our glossy Christian tradition to be present in the English language.
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Their tent they had pitched not here upon earth, but in eternity, and of their faith they had a foundation and assurance. Their faith blossomed as a lily, their loyalty as a rose, their piety and sincerity as the flower of the garden of God. The angel of the Lord battled for them that they could not be deprived of the helmet of salvation. Therefore they bore all torture and agony without fear. The things of this world they counted in their holy mind only as shadows, having the assurance of greater things.
They increased so rapidly that the world feared an uprising by them though I have learned that this fear had no justification whatsoever. 8 The dreadful severity of the persecution of the Anabaptist movement in the years 152760 not only in Switzerland, South Germany, and Thuringia, but in all the Austrian lands as well as in the Low Countries, testifies to the power of the movement and the desperate haste with Page 7 which Catholic, Lutheran, and Zwinglian authorities alike strove to throttle it before it should be too late.
See also the discussion on this topic in J. Horsch, "The Rise of State Church Protestantism," Mennonite Quarterly Review (July 1932), VI, 189191. 22a See Luther's Deutsche Messe, translated in Works of Martin Luther (ed. C. M. ) Vol. VI (Philadelphia, 1932), 172, 173. 23. "Drei Zeugenaussagen Zwinglis im Täuferprozess" in Huldreich Zwinglis Sämtliche Werke (Leipzig, 1927), IV, 169. 24. Against this interpretation of Luther (and Zwingli) it may be argued that Luther never completely and consistently adopted the concept of a church of "earnest Christians only" which is here attributed to him, but that along with it he also retained the contradictory concept of the church functioning as a "corpus regens," that is, as an institution of social control.