‘Anglican-Anabaptists’, ‘Charismatic-Anabaptists’, ‘Emerging church-Anabaptists’, ‘Baptist-Anabaptists’, and even ‘Mennonite-Anabaptists’! :)
Anabaptism is the longest consistent witness to communal nonviolence in church history. Known as the ‘radical reformation’ for insisting that Luther, Calvin and others didn’t finish the work they started, the Anabaptists called the church to be filled with the Spirit of God’s new creation and live practically the Sermon on the Mount in the valleys of daily life. In short, To live like Jesus. the Anabaptist witness to the way of Jesus – the way of nonviolence— stretches over 500 years lasting longer than the early churches witness to nonviolence of the cross (300 odd years).
Emerging Peace Church Model (Or Open Anabaptism):
This model of the emerging church stresses the non-conformist tendencies of Jesus, and thus the church should follow in his footsteps through non-violence, love of enemy and caring for the poor. This one may be closest to a kind of [what in the US is known as] new monasticism that has so often been written about in recent times. While there are people from the various peace churches involved in this type of church, there are also people from a variety of traditions who are seeking to contextualize the Gospel within our culture. This group does not accept any one style of culture as being good, thus their non-conformist attitude is directed at modernity and postmodernity alike. They see Jesus (and his incarnation) as their primary model for engaging culture. They are influenced by Wittgenstein, Barth, Bonhoeffer, John H. Yoder, McClendon and Nancey Murphy to name a few. In this group you will find people like & the">Jarrod McKenna and the Peace Tree, Shane Claiborne, some Mennonites, Rob Bell’s Mars Hill, Submergent, Jesus Radical and convergent Friends, to name a few. This group is counter any kind of Christendom styled church and thus would be sometimes for and sometimes against institutionalization, and would see contextualization as important only up to the point that it remains ultimately an extension of Jesus’ ministry and message.
The famous story of Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems who risked his life to save his drowning pursuer may serve as icon for the prophetic role Anabaptism could play in the larger church today. There is a ground swell of people from diverse Christian traditions who feel Anabaptism (once heavily persecuted by a Christianity comfortable with violence) might be in the 21st century offering a hand out of the waters of Christendom, Empire, Militarism, Individualism and dualism which threaten drowning the church.
But as Isaiah has announced “God is doing a new thing” and a fresh wind is blowing.
To become a part of this exciting conversation drawing on this amazing tradition contact Mary or Mark at AAANZ@iprimus.com.au
“Behold, I am doing a new thing.
Even now it is springing to light.
Do you not perceive it?
A way will I make in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert!”