The Anabaptist Vision by Harold S.

Bender was given as a presidential address to the American Soceity of Church History in 1943. Published the following year, i t soon became a classic essay. The Anabaptist Vison "forged Mennonites into a co mmunity of memory rooted in the 16th century, a community with strong religious impulses embodied in nonviolent service, devout discipleship, and a primary iden tity with the people of God, the church" (From the biograpahy by Albert N. Keim) . The Anabaptist Vision [1] by Harold S. Bender "Judged by the reception it met at the hands of those in power, both in Church a nd State, equally in Roman Catholic and in Protestant countries, the Anabaptist movement was one of the most tragic in the history of Christianity; but, judged by the principles, which were put into play by the men who bore this reproachful nickname, it must be pronounced one of the most momentous and significant under takings in man's eventful religious struggle after the truth. It gathered up the gains of earlier movements, it is the spiritual soil out of which all nonconfor mist sects have sprung, and it is the first plain announcement in modern history of a programme for a new type of Christian society which the modern world, espe cially in America and England, has been slowly realizing an absolutely free and independent religious society, and a State in which every man counts as a man, a nd has his share in shaping both Church and State." These words of Rufus M. Jones [2] constitute one of the best characterizations o f Anabaptism and its contribution to our modern Christian culture to be found in the English language. They were brave words when they were written thirty-five years ago, but they have been abundantly verified by a generation of Anabaptist research since that time. [3] There can be no question but that the great princi ples of freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, and voluntarism i n religion, so basic in American Protestantism and so essential to democracy, ul timately are derived from the Anabaptists of the Reformation period, who for the first time clearly enunciated them and challenged the Christian world to follow them in practice. The line of descent through the centuries since that time may not always be clear, and may have passed through other intermediate movements a nd groups, but the debt to original Anabaptism is unquestioned. The sixteenth-century reformers understood the Anabaptist position on this point all too well, and deliberately rejected it. The best witness is Heinrich Bullin ger, Zwingli's successor in Zurich, whose active life-span covers the first fift y years of the history of the Swiss Anabaptists and who knew them so well that h e published two extensive treatises against them in 1531 and 1561. According to Bullinger, the Swiss Brethren taught that: One cannot and should not use force to compel anyone to accept the faith, for fa ith is a free gift of God. It is wrong to compel anyone by force or coercion to embrace the faith, or to put to death anyone for the sake of his erring faith. I t is an error that in the church and sword other than that of the divine Word sh ould be used. The secular kingdom should be separated from the church, and no se cular ruler should exercise authority in the church. The Lord has commanded simp ly to preach the Gospel, not to compel anyone by force to accept it. The true ch urch of Christ has the characteristic that it suffers and endures persecution bu t does not inflict persecution upon anyone. [4] Bullinger reports these ideas, not in commendation but in condemnation urging th e need of rigid suppression. He attempts a point by point refutation of the Anab aptist teaching, closing with the assertion that to put to death Anabaptists is a necessary and commendable service.

But great as is the Anabaptist contribution to the development of religious libe rty, this concept not only does not exhaust but actually fails to define the tru e essence of Anabaptism. In the last analysis freedom of religion is a purely fo rmal concept, barren of content; it says nothing about the faith or the way of l ife of those who advocate it, nor does it reveal their goals or program of actio n. And Anabaptism had not only clearly defined goals but also an action program of definiteness and power. In fact the more intimately one becomes acquainted wi th this group the more one becomes conscious of the great vision that shaped the ir course in history and for which they gladly gave their lives. Before describing this vision it is well to note its attractiveness to the masse s of Christians of the sixteenth century. Sebastian Franck, himself an opponent, wrote in 1531, scarcely seven years after the rise of the movement in Zurich: The Anabaptists spread so rapidly that their teaching soon covered the land as i t were. They soon gained a large following, and baptized thousands, drawing to t hemselves many sincere souls who had a zeal for God.... They increased so rapidl y that the world feared an uprising by them though I have learned that this fear had no justification whatsoever. [5] In the same year Bullinger wrote that "the people were running after them as tho ugh they were living saints." [6] Another contemporary writer asserts that " Ana baptism spread with such speed that there was reason to fear that the majority o f the common people would unite with this sect." [7] Zwingli was so frightened b y the power of the movement that he complained that the struggle with the Cathol ic party was "tub child's play" compared to the conflict with the Anabaptists. [ 8] The dreadful severity of the persecution of the Anabaptist movement in the years 1527-60 not only in Switzerland, South Germany, and Thuringia, but in all the A ustrian lands as well as in the Low Countries, testifies to the power of the mov ement and the desperate haste with which Catholic, Lutheran, and Zwinglian autho rities alike strove to throttle it before it should be too late. The notorious d ecree issued in 1529 by the Diet of Spires (the same diet which protested the re striction of evangelical liberties) summarily passed the sentence of death upon all Anabaptists, ordering that "every Anabaptist and rebaptized person of either sex should be put to death by fire, sword, or some other way." [9] Repeatedly i n subsequent sessions of the imperial diet this decree was reinvoked and intensi fied; and as late as 1551 the Diet of Augsburg issued a decree ordering that jud ges and jurors who had scruples against pronouncing the death sentence on Anabap tists be removed from office and punished by heavy fines and imprisonment. The authorities had great difficulty in executing their program of suppression, for they soon discovered that the Anabaptists feared neither torture nor death, and gladly sealed their faith with their blood. In fact the joyful testimony of the Anabaptist martyrs was a great stimulus to new recruits, for it stirred the imagination of the populace as nothing else could have done. Finding, therefore, that the customary method of individual trials and sentences was proving totally inadequate to stem the tide, the authorities resorted to th e desperate expedient of sending out through the land companies of armed executi oners and mounted soldiers to hunt down the Anabaptists and kill them on the spo t singly or en masse without trial or sentence. The most atrocious application o f this policy was made in Swabia where the original 400 special police of 1528 s ent against the Anabaptists proved too small a force and had to be increased to 1,000. An imperial provost marshal, Berthold Aichele, served as chief administra tor of this bloody program in Swabia and other regions until he finally broke do wn in terror and dismay, and after an execution at Brixen lifted his hands to he aven and swore a solemn oath never again to put to death an Anabaptist, which vo w he kept. [10] The Count of Alzey in the Palatinate, after 350 Anabaptists had

been executed there, was heard to exclaim, "What shall I do, the more I kill, th e greater becomes their number!" The extensive persecution and martyrdom of the Anabaptists testify not only of t he great extent of the movement but also of the power of the vision that burned within them. This is most effectively presented in a moving account written in 1 542 and taken from the ancient Hutterian chronicle where it is found at the clos e of a report of 2,173 brethren and sisters who gave their lives for their faith . [11] No human ed, such ey would sake the being was able to take away out of their hearts what they had experienc zealous lovers of God were they. The fire of God burned within them. Th die the bitterest death, yea, they would die ten deaths rather than for divine truth which they had espoused....

They had drunk of the waters which had flowed from God's sanctuary, yea, the wat er of life. They realized that God helped them to bear the cross and to overcome the bitterness of death. The fire of God burned within them. Their tent they ha d pitched not here upon earth, but in eternity, and of their faith they had a fo undation 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 salvatio n. Therefore they bore all torture and agony without fear. The things of this wo rld they counted in their holy mind only as shadows, having the assurance of gre ater things. They were so drawn unto God that they knew nothing, sought nothing, desired nothing, loved nothing but God alone. Therefore they had more patience in their suffering than their enemies in tormenting them. . . . The persecutors thought they could dampen and extinguish the fire of God. But the prisoners sang in their prisons and rejoiced so that the enemies outside became much more fearful than the prisoners and did not know what to do with th em.... Many were talked to in wonderful ways, often day and night. They were argued wit h, with great cunning and cleverness, with many sweet and smooth words, by monks and priests, by doctors of theology, with much false testimony, with threats an d scolding and mockery, yea, with lies and grievous slander against the brotherh ood, but none of these things moved them or made them falter. From the shedding of such innocent blood arose Christians everywhere, brothers a ll, for all this persecution did not take place without fruit. Perhaps this interpretation of the Anabaptist spirit should be discounted as too glowing, coming as it does from the group itself, but certainly it is nearer to the truth than the typical harsh nineteenth-century interpretation of the movem ent which is well represented by the opening sentence of Ursula, the notable his torical novel on the Anabaptists published in 1878 by the Swiss Gottfried Keller , next to Goethe perhaps the greatest of all writers in the German language: Times of religious change are like times when the mountains open up; for then no t only do all the marvelous creatures of the human spirit come forth the great g olden dragons, magic beings and crystal spirits, but there also come to light al l the hateful vermin of humanity, the host of rats and mice and pestiferous crea tion, and so it was at the time of the Reformation in the northeast part of Swit zerland. [12] Before defining the Anabaptist vision, it is essential to state clearly who is m eant by the term "Anabaptist", since the name has come to be used in modern hist oriography to cover a wide variety of Reformation groups, sometimes thought of a s the whole "left wing of the Reformation" (Roland Bainton). "the Bolsheviks of

the Reformation" (Preserved Smith). Although the definitive history of Anabaptis m has not yet been written, we know enough today to draw a clear line of demarca tion between original evangelical and constructive Anabaptism on the one hand, w hich was born in the bosom of Zwinglianism in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1525, and established in the Low Countries in 1533, and the various mystical, spiritualist ic, revolutionary, or even antinomian related and unrelated groups on the other hand, which came and went like the flowers of the field in those days of the gre at renovation. The former, Anabaptism proper, maintained an unbroken course in S witzerland, South Germany, Austria, and Holland throughout the sixteenth century , and has continued until the present day in the Mennonite movement, now almost 500,000 baptized members strong in Europe and America. [13] There is no longer a ny excuse for permitting our understanding of the distinct character of this gen uine Anabaptism to be obscured by Thomas Müntzer and the Peasants War, the Munster ites, or any other aberration of Protestantism in the sixteenth century. There may be some excuse, however, for a failure on the part of the uninformed s tudent to see clearly what the Anabaptist vision was, because of the varying int erpretations placed upon the movement even by those who mean to appreciate and a pprove it. There are, for instance, the socialist writers, led by Kautsky, who w ould make Anabaptism either "the forerunner of the modern socialism" or the "cul minating effort of medieval communism," and who in reality see it only as the ex ternal religious shell of a class movement. [14] There are the sociologists with their partial socioeconomic determinism as reflected in Richard Niebuhr's appro ach to the social origin of religious denominations. There is Albert Ritschl, wh o sees in Anabaptism an ascetic semimonastic continuation of the medieval Franci scan tertiaries, and locates the seventeenth-century Pietists in the same line; [15] and Ludwig Keller, who finds Anabaptists throughout the pre-Reformation per iod in the guise of Waldenses and other similar groups whom he chooses to call " the old-evangelical brotherhood," [16] and for whom he posits a continuity from earliest times Related to Keller are the earlier Baptist historians (and certain Mennonites) who rejoice to find in the Anabaptists the missing link which keeps them in the apostolic succession of the true church back through the Waldenses, Bogomils, Cathari, Paulicians, and Donatists, to Pentecost. More recently there is Rufus M. Jones who is inclined to class the Anabaptists with the mystics, an d Walter Koehler who finds an Erasmian humanist origin for them. However, there is another line of interpretation, now almost 100 years old, whic h is being increasingly accepted and which is probably destined to dominate the field. It is the one which holds that Anabaptism is the culmination of the Refor mation, the fulfillment of the original vision of Luther and Zwingli, and thus m akes it a consistent evangelical Protestantism seeking to recreate without compr omise the original New Testament church, the vision of Christ and the apostles. This line of interpretation begins in 1848 with Max Göbel's great Geschichte des c hristlichen Lebens in der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Kirche, continues with the epoch -making work of C. A. Cornelius, particularly in his Geschichte des Münsterschen A ufruhrs (1855-1860), follows in the work of men like Johann Loserth, Karl Rember t, and John Horsch, and is represented by such contemporaries as Ernst Correll o f Washington and Fritz Blanke of Zurich. A quotation from Göbel may serve to illus trate this interpretation: The essential and distinguishing characteristic of this church is its great emph asis upon the actual personal conversion and regeneration of every Christian thr ough the Holy Spirit.... They aimed with special emphasis at carrying out and re alizing the Christian doctrine and faith in the heart and life of every Christia n in the whole Christian church. Their aim was the bringing together of all the true believers out of the great degenerated national churches into a true Christ ian church. That which the Reformation was originally intended to accomplish the y aimed to bring into full immediate realization. [17] And Johann Loserth says:

More radically than any other party for church reformation the Anabaptists strov e to follow the footsteps of the church of the first century and to renew unadul terated original Christianity. [18] The evidence in support of this interpretation is overwhelming, and can be taken from the statements of the contemporary opponents of the Anabaptists as well as from the Anabaptists themselves. Conrad Grebel, the founder of the Swiss Brethr en movement, states clearly this point of view in his letter to Thomas Müntzer of 1524, in words written on behalf of the entire group which constitute in effect the original Anabaptist pronunciamento: Just as our forebears [the Roman Catholic Papal Church] fell away from the true God and the knowledge of Jesus Christ and of the right faith in him, and from th e one true, common divine word, from the divine institutions, from Christian lov e and life, and lived without God's law and gospel in human, useless, un-Christi an customs and ceremonies, and expected to attain salvation therein, yet fell fa r short of it, as the evangelical preachers [Luther, Zwingli, etc.] have declare d, and to some extent are still declaring; so today, too, every man wants to be saved by superficial faith, without fruits of faith, without the baptism of test and probation without love and hope, without right Christian practices, and wan ts to persist in all the old fashion of personal vices, and in the common ritual istic and anti-Christian customs of baptism and of the Lord' s Supper, in disres pect for the divine word and in respect for the word of the pope and of the anti papal preachers, which yet is not equal to the divine word nor in harmony with i t. In respecting persons and in manifold seduction there is grosser and more per nicious error now than ever has been since the beginning of the world. In the sa me error we, too, lingered as long as we heard and read only the evangelical pre achers who are to blame for all this, in punishment for our sins. But after we t ook the Scriptures in hand, too, and consulted it on many points we have been in structed somewhat and have discovered the great and hurtful error of the shepher ds, of ours too, namely that we do not daily beseech God earnestly with constant groanings to be brought out of this destruction of all godly life and out of hu man abominations, and to attain to true faith and divine instruction. [19] A similar statement was made in 1538, after fourteen years of persecution, by an Anabaptist leader who spoke on behalf on his group in the great colloquy at Ber ne with the leaders of the Reformed Church: While yet in the national church, we obtained much instruction from the writings of Luther, Zwingli, and others, concerning the mass and other papal ceremonies, that they are vain. Yet we recognized a great lack as regards repentance, conve rsion, and the true Christian life. Upon these things my mind was bent. I waited and hoped for a year or two, since the minister had much to say of amendment of life, of giving to the poor, loving one another, and abstaining from evil. But I could not close my eyes to the fact that the doctrine which was preached and w hich was based on the Word of God, was not carried out. No beginning was made to ward true Christian living, and there was no unison in the teaching concerning t he things that were necessary. And although the mass and the images were finally abolished, true repentance and Christian love were not in evidence. Changes wer e made only as concerned external things. This gave me occasion to inquire furth er into these matters. Then God sent His messengers, Conrad Grebel and others, w ith whom I conferred about the fundamental teachings of the apostles and the Chr istian life and practice. I found them men who had surrendered themselves to the doctrine of Christ by " Bussfertigkeit" [repentance evidenced by fruits] . With their assistance we established a congregation in which repentance was in evide nce by newness of life in Christ. [20] It is evident from these statements that the Anabaptists were concerned most of all about "a true Christian life," that is, a life patterned after the teaching

and example of Christ. The reformers, they believed, whatever their profession m ay have been, did not secure among the people true repentance, regeneration, and Christian living as a result of their preaching. The Reformation emphasis on fa ith was good but inadequate, for without newness of life, they held, faith is hy pocritical. This Anabaptist critique of the Reformation was a sharp one, but it was not unfa ir. There is abundant evidence that although the original goal sought by Luther and Zwingli was "an earnest Christianity" for all, the actual outcome was far le ss, for the level of Christian living among the Protestant population was freque ntly lower than it had been before under Catholicism. Luther himself was keenly conscious of the deficiency. In April 1522 he expressed the hope that, "We who a t the present are well nigh heathen under a Christian name may yet organize a Ch ristian assembly." [2l] In December 1525 he had an important conversation with C aspar Schwenckfeld, concerning the establishment of the New Testament church. Sc hwenckfeld pointed out that the establishment of the new church had failed to re sult in spiritual and moral betterment of the people, a fact which Luther admitt ed, for Schwenckfeld states that "Luther regretted very much that no amendment o f life was in evidence." [22] Between 1522 and 1527 Luther repeatedly mentioned his concern to establish a true Christian church, and his desire to provide for earnest Christians ("Die mit Ernst Christen sein wollen") who would confess the gospel with their lives as well as with their tongues. He thought of entering th e names of these "earnest Christians" in a special book and having them meet sep arately from the mass of nominal Christians, but concluding that he would not ha ve sufficient of such people, he dropped the plan. [22a] Zwingli faced the same problem; he was in fact specifically challenged by the Swiss Brethren to set up such a church; but he refused and followed Luther's course. [23] Both reformers decided that it was better to include the masses within the fold of the church t han to form a fellowship of true Christians only. Both certainly expected the pr eaching of the Word and the ministration of the sacraments to bear fruit in an e arnest Christian life, at least among some, but they reckoned with a permanently large and indifferent mass. In taking this course, said the Anabaptists, the re formers surrendered their original purpose, and abandoned the divine intention. Others may say that they were wise and statesmanlike leaders. [24] The Anabaptists, however, retained the original vision of Luther and Zwingli, en larged it, gave it body and form, and set out to achieve it in actual experience . They proceeded to organize a church composed solely of earnest Christians, and actually found the people for it. They did not believe in any case that the siz e of the response should determine whether or not the truth of God should be app lied, and they refused to compromise. They preferred to make a radical break wit h 1,500 years of history and culture if necessary rather than to break with the New Testament. May it not be said that the decision of Luther and Zwingli to surrender their or iginal vision was the tragic turning point of the Reformation? Professor Karl Mu eller, one of the keenest and fairest interpreters of the Reformation, evidently thinks so, for he says, "The aggressive, conquering power, which Lutheranism ma nifested in its first period was lost everywhere at the moment when the governme nts took matters in hand and established the Lutheran Creed, [25] that is to say , when Luther's mass church concept was put into practice. Luther in his later y ears expressed disappointment at the final outcome of the Reformation, stating t hat the people had become more and more indifferent toward religion and the mora l outlook was more deplorable than ever. His last years were embittered by the c onsciousness of partial failure, and his expressions of dejection are well known . Contrast this sense of defeat at the end of Luther's outwardly successful care er with the sense of victory in the hearts of the Anabaptist martyrs who laid do wn their lives in what the world would call defeat, conscious of having kept fai th with their vision to the end.

Having defined genuine Anabaptism in its Reformation setting, we are ready to ex amine its central teachings. The Anabaptist vision included three major points o f emphasis; first, a new conception of the essence of Christianity as disciplesh ip; second, a new conception of the church as a brotherhood; and third, a new et hic of love and nonresistance. We turn now to an exposition of these points. First and fundamental in the Anabaptist vision was the conception of the essence of Christianity as discipleship. It was a concept which meant the transformatio n of the entire way of life of the individual believer and of society so that it should be fashioned after the teachings and example of Christ [26] The Anabapti sts could not understand a Christianity which made regeneration, holiness and lo ve primarily a matter of intellect, of doctrinal belief, or of subjective "exper ience," rather than one of the transformation of life. They demanded an outward expression of the inner experience. Repentance must be "evidenced" by newness of behavior. "In evidence" is the keynote which rings through the testimonies and challenges of the early Swiss Brethren when they are called to give an account o f themselves. The whole life was to be brought literally under the lordship of C hrist in a covenant of discipleship, a covenant which the Anabaptist writers del ighted to emphasize. [27] The focus of the Christian life was to be not so much the inward experience of the grace of God, as it was for Luther, but the outward application of that grace to all human conduct and the consequent Christianizat ion of all human relationships. The true test of the Christian, they held, is di scipleship. The great word of the Anabaptists was not "faith" as it was with the reformers, but "following" (nachfolge Christi). And baptism, the greatest of Ch ristian symbols, was accordingly to be for them the "covenant of a good conscien ce toward God" (1 Peter 3:21), [28] the pledge of a complete commitment to obey Christ, and not primarily the symbol of a past experience. The Anabaptists had f aith, indeed, but they used it to produce a life. Theology was for them a means, not an end. That the Anabaptists not only proclaimed the ideal of full Christian discipleshi p but achieved, in the eyes of their contemporaries and even of their opponents, a measurably higher level of performance than the average, is fully witnessed b y the sources. The early Swiss and South German reformers were keenly aware of t his achievement and its attractive power. Zwingli knew it best of all, but Bulli nger, Capito, Vadian, and many others confirm his judgment that the Anabaptist B rethren were unusually sincere, devoted, and effective Christians. However, sinc e the Brethren refused to accept the state church system which the reformers wer e building, and in addition made "radical"" demands which might have changed the entire social order, the leaders of the Reformation were completely baffled in their understanding of the movement, and professed to believe that the Anabaptis ts were hypocrites of the darkest dye. Bullinger, for instance, calls them ' ' d evilish enemies and destroyers of the Church of God." [29] Nevertheless they had to admit the apparent superiority of their life. In Zwingli's last book against the Swiss Brethren (1527), for instance, the following is found: If you investigate their life and conduct, it seems at first contact irreproacha ble, pious, unassuming, attractive, yea, above this world. Even those who are in clined to be critical will say that their lives are excellent. [30] Bullinger, himself, who wrote bitter diatribes against them, was compelled to ad mit of the early Swiss Brethren that Those who unite with them will by their ministers be received into their church by rebaptism and repentance and newness of life. They henceforth lead their live s under a semblance of a quite spiritual conduct. They denounce covetousness, pr ide, profanity, the lewd conversation and immorality of the world, drinking and gluttony. In short, their hypocrisy is great and manifold. [31] Bullinger's lament (1531) that "the people are running after them as though they

were the living saints" has been reported earlier. Vadian, the reformer of St. Gall, testified, that " none were more favorably inclined toward Anabaptism and more easily entangled with it than those who were of pious and honorable disposi tion." [32] Capito, the reformer of Strassburg, wrote in 1527 concerning the Swi ss Brethren: I frankly confess that in most [Anabaptists] there is in evidence piety and cons ecration and indeed a zeal which is beyond any suspicion of insincerity. For wha t earthly advantage could they hope to win by enduring exile, torture, and unspe akable punishment of the flesh? I testify before God that I cannot say that on a ccount of a lack of wisdom they are somewhat indifferent toward earthly things, but rather from divine motives. [33] The preachers of the Canton of Berne admitted in a letter to the Council of Bern e in 1532 that The Anabaptists have the semblance of outward piety to a far greater degree than we and all the churches which unitedly with us confess Christ, and they avoid o ffensive sins which are very common among us. [34] Walter Klarer, the Reformed chronicler of Appenzell, Switzerland, wrote: Most of the Anabaptists are people who at first had been the best with us in pro mulgating the word of God. [35] And the Roman Catholic theologian, Franz Agricola, in his book of 1582, Against the Terrible Errors of the Anabaptists, says: Among the existing heretical sects there is none which in appearance leads a mor e modest or pious life than the Anabaptist. As concerns their outward public lif e they are irreproachable. No lying, deception, swearing, strife, harsh language , no intemperate eating and drinking, no outward personal display, is found amon g them, but humility, patience, uprightness, neatness, honesty, temperance, stra ightforwardness in such measure that one would suppose that they had the Holy sp irit of God. [36] A mandate against the Swiss Brethren published in 1585 by the Council of Berne s tates that offensive sins and vices were common among the preachers and the memb ership of the Reformed Church, adding, "And this is the greatest reason that man y pious, God-fearing people who seek Christ from their heart are offended and fo rsake our church [to unite with the Brethren]". [37] One of the finest contemporary characterizations of the Anabaptists is that give n in 1531 by Sebastian Franck, an objective and sympathetic witness, though an o pponent of the Anabaptists, who wrote as follows: The Anabaptists... soon gained a large following,... drawing many sincere souls who had a zeal for God, for they taught nothing but love, faith, and the cross. They showed themselves humble, patient under much suffering; they brake bread wi th one another as an evidence of unity and love. They helped each other faithful ly, and called each other brothers... They died as martyrs, patiently and humbly enduring all persecution. [38] A further confirmation of the above evaluation of the achievement of the Anabapt ists is found in the fact that in many places those who lived a consistent Chris tian life were in danger of falling under the suspicion of being guilty of Anaba ptist heresy. Caspar Schwenckfeld, for instance, declared, "I am being maligned, by both preachers and others, with the charge of being Anabaptist, even as all others who lead a true, pious Christian life are now almost everywhere given thi s name." [39] Bullinger himself complained that

...there are those who in reality are not Anabaptists but have a pronounced aver seness to the sensuality and frivolity of the world and therefore reprove sin an d vice and are consequently called or misnamed Anabaptists by petulant persons. [40] The great collection of Anabaptist source materials, commonly called the Täufer-Ak ten, now in its third volume, contains a number of specific illustrations of thi s. In 1562 a certain Caspar Zacher of Wailblingen in Württemberg was accused of be ing an Anabaptist, but the court record reports that since he was an envious man who could not get along with others, and who often started quarrels, as well as being guilty of swearing and cursing and carrying a weapon, he was not consider ed to be an Anabaptist. [41] On the other hand in 1570 a certain Hans Jäger of Voh ringen in Württemberg was brought before the court on suspicion of being an Anabap tist primarily because he did not curse but lived an irreproachable life. [42] As a second major element in the Anabaptist vision, a new concept of the church was created by the central principle of newness of life and applied Christianity . Voluntary church membership based upon true conversion and involving a commitm ent to holy living and discipleship was the absolutely essential heart of this c oncept. This vision stands in sharp contrast to the church concept of the reform ers who retained the medieval idea of a mass church with membership of the entir e population from birth to the grave compulsory by law and force. It is from the standpoint of this new conception of the church that the Anabapti st opposition to infant baptism must be interpreted. Infant baptism was not the cause of their disavowal of the state church; it was only a symbol of the cause. How could infants give a commitment based upon a knowledge of what true Christi anity means? They might conceivably passively experience the grace of God (thoug h Anabaptists would question this), but they could not respond in pledging their lives to Christ. Such infant baptism would not only be meaningless, but would i n fact become a serious obstacle to a true understanding of the nature of Christ ianity and membership in the church. Only adult baptism could signify an intelli gent life commitment. An inevitable corollary of the concept of the church as a body of committed and practicing Christians pledged to the highest standard of New Testament living wa s the insistence on the separation of the church from the world, that is nonconf ormity of the Christian to the worldly way of life. The world would not tolerate the practice of true Christian principles in society, and the church could not tolerate the practice of worldly ways among its membership. Hence, the only way out was separation ("Absonderung"), the gathering of true Christians into their own Christian society where Christ's way could and would be practiced. On this p rinciple of separation Menno Simons says: All the evangelical scriptures teach us that the church of Christ was and is, in doctrine, life, and worship, a people separated from the world. [43] In the great debate of 1532 at Zofingen, spokesmen of the Swiss Brethren said: The true church is separated from the world and is conformed to the nature of Ch rist. If a church is yet at one with the world we cannot recognize it is a true church. [44] In a sense, this principle of nonconformity to the world is merely a negative ex pression of the positive requirement of discipleship, but it goes further in the sense that it represents a judgment on the contemporary social order, which the Anabaptists called "the world," as non-Christian, and sets up a line of demarca tion between the Christian community and worldly society.

A logical outcome of the concept of nonconformity to the world was the concept o f the suffering church. Conflict with the world was inevitable for those who end eavored to live an earnest Christian life. The Anabaptists expected opposition; they took literally the words of Jesus when He said, " In the world ye shall hav e tribulation," but they also took literally His words of encouragement, "But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Conrad Grebel said in 1524: True Christian believers are sheep among wolves, sheep for the slaughter; they m ust be baptized in anguish and affliction, tribulation, persecution, suffering, and death; they must be tried with fire and must reach the fatherland of eternal rest not by killing them bodily, but by mortifying their spiritual, enemies. [4 5] Professor Ernest Staehelin of Basel, Switzerland, says: Anabaptism by its earnest determination to follow in life and practice the primi tive Christian Church has kept alive the conviction that he who is in Christ is a new creature and that those who are identified with his cause will necessarily encounter the opposition of the world. [46] Perhaps it was persecution that made the Anabaptists so acutely aware of the con flict between the church and the world, but this persecution was due to the fact that they refused to accept what they considered the sub Christian way of life practiced in European Christendom. They could have avoided the persecution had t hey but conformed, or they could have suspended the practice of their faith to a more convenient time and sailed under false colors as did David Joris, but they chose with dauntless courage and simple honesty to live their faith, to defy th e existing world order, and to suffer the consequences. Basic to the Anabaptist vision of the church was the insistence on the practice of true brotherhood and love among the members of the church. [47] This principl e was understood to mean not merely the expression of pious sentiments, but the actual practice of sharing possessions to meet the needs of others in the spirit of true mutual aid. Hans Leopold, a Swiss Brethren martyr of 1528, said of the Brethren: If they know of any one who is in need, whether or not he is a member of their c hurch, they believe it their duty, out of love to God, to render help and aid. [ 48] Heinrich Seiler, a Swiss Brethren martyr of 1535 said: I do not believe it wrong that a Christian has property of his own, but yet he i s nothing more than a steward. [49] An early Hutterian book states that one of the questions addressed by the Swiss Brethren to applicants for baptism was: "Whether they would consecrate themselve s with all their temporal possessions to the service of God and His people." [50 ] A Protestant of Strassburg, visitor at a Swiss Brethren baptismal service in t hat city in 1557, reports that a question addressed to all applicants for baptis m was: "Whether they, if necessity require it, would devote all their possession s to the service of the brotherhood, and would not fail any member that is in ne ed, if they were able to render aid." [51] Heinrich Bullinger, the bitter enemy of the Brethren, states: They teach that every Christian is under duty before God from motives of love, t o use, if need be, all his possessions to supply the necessities of life to any of the brethren who are in need. [52] This principle of full brotherhood and stewardship was actually practiced, and n

ot merely speculatively considered. In its absolute form of Christian communism, with the complete repudiation of private property, it became the way of life of the Hutterian Brotherhood in 1528 and has remained so to this day, for the Hutt erites held that private property is the greatest enemy of Christian love. One o f the inspiring stories of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is the succes sful practice of the full communal way of life by this group. [53] The third great element in the Anabaptist vision was the ethic of love and nonre sistance as applied to all human relationships. The Brethren understood this to mean complete abandonment of all warfare, strife, and violence, and of the takin g of human life. [54] Conrad Grebel, the Swiss. said in 1524: True Christians use king human life has .... The Gospel and neither should they neither worldly sword nor engage in war, since among them ta ceased entirely, for we are no longer under the Old Covenant those who accept it are not to be protected with the sword, thus protect themselves. [55]

Pilgram Marpeck, the South German leader, in 1544, speaking of Matthew 5, said: All bodily, worldly, carnal, earthly fightings, conflicts, and wars are annulled and abolished among them through such law... which law of love Christ... Himsel f observed and thereby gave His followers a pattern to follow after. [56] Peter Riedemann, the Hutterian leader, wrote in 1545: Christ, the Prince of Peace, has established His Kingdom, that is, His Church, a nd has purchased it by His blood. In this kingdom all worldly warfare has ended. Therefore a Christian has no part in war nor does he wield the sword to execute vengeance. [57] Menno Simons, of Holland, wrote in 1550: [The regenerated do not go to war, nor engage in strife.]... They are the childr en of peace who have beaten their swords into plowshares and their spears into p runing hooks, and know of no war.... Spears and swords of iron we leave to those who, alas, consider human blood and swine's blood of well-nigh equal value. [58 ] In this principle of nonresistance, or biblical pacifism, which was thoroughly b elieved and resolutely practiced by all the original Anabaptist Brethren and the ir descendants throughout Europe from the beginning until the last century, [59] the Anabaptists were again creative leaders, far ahead of their times, in this antedating the Quakers by over a century and a quarter. It should also be rememb ered that they held this principle in a day when both Catholic and Protestant ch urches not only endorsed war as an instrument of state policy, but employed it i n religious conflicts. It is true, of course, that occasional earlier prophets, like Peter Chelcicky, had advocated similar views, but they left no continuing p ractice of the principle behind them. As we review the vision of the Anabaptists, it becomes clear that there are two foci in this vision. The first focus relates to the essential nature of Christia nity. Is Christianity primarily a matter of the reception of divine grace throug h a sacramental-sacerdotal institution (Roman Catholicism), is it chiefly enjoym ent of the inner experience of the grace of God through faith in Christ (Luthera nism), or is it most of all the transformation of life through discipleship (Ana baptism)? The Anabaptists were neither institutionalists, mystics, nor pietists, for they laid the weight of their emphasis upon following Christ in life. To th em it was unthinkable for one truly to be a Christian without creating a new lif e on divine principles both for himself and for all men who commit themselves to the Christian way.

The second focus relates to the church. For the Anabaptist, the church was neith er an institution (Catholicism), nor the instrument of God for the proclamation of the divine Word (Lutheranism), nor a resource group for individual piety (Pie tism). It was a brotherhood of love in which the fullness of the Christian life ideal is to be expressed. The Anabaptist vision may be further clarified by comparison of the social ethic s of the four main Christian groups of the Reformation period, Catholic, Calvini st, Lutheran, and Anabaptist. Catholic and Calvinist alike were optimistic about the world, agreeing that the world can be redeemed; they held that the entire s ocial order can be brought under the sovereignty of God and Christianized, altho ugh they used different means to attain this goal. Lutheran and Anabaptist were pessimistic about the world, denying the possibility of Christianizing the entir e social order; but the consequent attitudes of these two groups toward the soci al order were diametrically opposed. Lutheranism said that since the Christian m ust live in a world order that remains sinful, he must make a compromise with it . As a citizen he cannot avoid participation in the evil of the world, for insta nce in making war, and for this his only recourse is to seek forgiveness by the grace of God; only within his personal private experience can the Christian trul y Christianize his life. The Anabaptist rejected this view completely. Since for him no compromise dare be made with evil, the Christian may in no circumstance participate in any conduct in the existing social order which is contrary to the spirit and teaching of Christ and the apostolic practice. He must consequently withdraw from the worldly system and create a Christian social order within the fellowship of the church brotherhood. Extension of this Christian order by the c onversion of individuals and their transfer out of the world into the church is the only way by which progress can be made in Christianizing the social order. However, the Anabaptist was realistic. Down the long perspective of the future h e saw little chance that the mass of humankind would enter such a brotherhood wi th its high ideals. Hence he anticipated a long and grievous conflict between th e church and the world. Neither did he anticipate the time when the church would rule the world; the church would always be a suffering church. He agreed with t he words of Jesus when He said that those who would be His disciples must deny t hemselves and take up their cross daily and follow Him, and that there would be few who would enter the strait gate and travel the narrow way of life. If this p rospect should seem too discouraging, the Anabaptist would reply that the life w ithin the Christian brotherhood is satisfyingly full of love and joy. The Anabaptist vision was not a detailed blueprint for the reconstruction of hum an society, but the Brethren did believe that Jesus intended that the kingdom of God should be set up in the midst of earth, here and now, and this they propose d to do forthwith. We shall not believe, they said, that the Sermon on the Mount or any other vision that He had is only a heavenly vision meant but to keep His followers in tension until the last great day, but we shall practice what He ta ught, believing that where He walked we can by His grace follow in His steps.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright 1944 by Herald Press, Scottdale, Pa. 15683. Order The Anabaptist Visio n from Herald Press. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Harold S. Bender led and nurtured his people during one of the most cataclysmic eras in human history. He became a leader because the times demanded a leader an d because his particular qualities of personality and character commended him to his people.

Bender lived his life within the framework of conventional Mennonite tradition a nd piety. However, successful leaders not only reenact the tradition: they guide the symbols and institutions which maintain it. Almost all of Harold Bender's l ife and energy was devoted to the care and direction of Mennonite institutions. Successful leaders must possess ideas powerful enough to shape the identity of t heir followers. Among the most powerful ideas are those which link a meaningful past to a purposeful future. Bender's influential 1944 essay, "The Anabaptist Vi sion," did just that. It forged Mennonites into a community of memory rooted in the 16th century, a community with strong religious impulses embodied in nonviol ent service, devout discipleship, and a primary identity with the people of God, the church. (From the biography by Albert N. Keim.)

History of The Anabaptist Vision By Albert N. Keim

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Anabaptist Vision is legendary among North American Mennonites, as is its au thor, Harold S. Bender (1897-1962). The Vision gave Mennonites a respectable his tory and a useful theology during time of crisis. For all its formative influenc e, its creation and delivery were inauspicious-a small detail in Bender's frenet ic schedule. Albert Keim, who has since written a major biography of Bender, des cribes the creation and presentation of the speech, which was later printed and read widely. jes --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As the stout black-clad chairman opened the meeting with a brisk prayer, he gave the appearance of a middle-aged priest. His receding hairline, dark eyes, stron g nose and a mouth that smiled easily conveyed a sense of congenial intelligence , the personality of a good parish priest. But the coat was Mennonite, and its w earer was Harold S. Bender, dean and acting president of Goshen College. At that moment he was the presiding president of the fifty-fifth meeting of the America n Society of Church History. The place of the meeting was Room 104 in Milbank Chapel at Columbia University i n New York City. It was 3:20 in the afternoon on Tuesday, December 28, 1943. The meeting began twenty minutes late because the train Bender was traveling on fro m Indiana arrived late in New York, a not unusual occurrence under the condition s of wartime travel. Travel during that week after Christmas was even worse than usual because the railroad unions were threatening a strike to get higher overt ime pay. By the time Harold arrived in New York City, Roosevelt had ordered the army to t ake over the railroads. There would be no strike. Actually Bender was fortunate to be at the meeting. It was only at the last minute that a Pullman berth became available, and his twenty-hour rail journey to New York became possible. As presiding officer, Bender's first order of business was the sad announcement of the death of Dr. Thomas Clinton Pears, Jr., just 48 hours earlier. Pears, fro m Philadelphia, had been the long-time secretary of the society. The 25 members present then elected Professor Matthew Spinka to be acting secretary. After seve

ral other items of business, two papers were read. The most engaging paper was b y David M. Cory on "The Religious History of the Mohawk and Oneida Tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy." Interspersed during the reading of the paper were a numb er of songs in the Iroquois language sung by two members of the Iroquois tribe. It provided a colorful accent to the otherwise decorous proceedings of the socie ty meeting. At seven o'clock the Society held its annual dinner at the Columbia University M en's Faculty Club. The address of the outgoing president of the society followed the dinner. Harold Bender entitled his address The Anabaptist Vision. The 30-mi nute speech was followed by what the minutes described as "a very lively discuss ion which would have undoubtedly continued much longer were it not for lack of t ime, for President Bender had to leave soon afterwards by plane to attend a meet ing in Chicago." [1] As president, Bender also chaired the Council of the American Society of Church History. The council was the governing body of the church history society. At th e conclusion of the presidential address the council retired to one of the Men's Faculty Club chambers for their annual meeting. Bender presided. Only six of th e ten members of the Council were present. Acting secretary Spinka reported on m emberships. During the year membership had declined slightly. Total membership was 369. Included in the membership were Mennonites Cornelius K rahn, C. Henry Smith, and Harold's two colleagues on the Mennonite Quarterly Rev iew editorial board, Robert Friedmann and Ernst Correll. The previous year John C. Wenger had resigned his membership and Guy Hershberger had been dropped from the rolls for failure to pay society dues. New council members were elected, Harold being one of them. He was also appointe d chair of the committee on program and local arrangements for the 1944 meeting in Chicago. The other members of his committee were University of Chicago Profes sors Sidney Mead and Wilhelm Pauck. In his last action as President Bender appoi nted his friend Roland Bainton to preside at the meeting of the society the next day. That done he caught a taxi to LaGuardia Field and boarded a plane for Cleveland, where sometime after midnight he caught the train to Chicago. Just after lunch, at 12:30 he was at his place as secretary of the executive committee of Mennoni te Central Committee (MCC) in one of the conference rooms at the Atlantic Hotel, ready for a day and a half of intense meetings dealing with the burgeoning Civi lian Public Service program. [2] In the busy, hectic life of Harold Bender in 1943, the 42-hour dash to New York City was a minor episode. During the Fall of 1943 he served as acting president of Goshen College in addition to being dean while the president of the college, Ernest Miller, attended Princeton Seminary. As chair of the Mennonite Peace Problems Committee he was preoccupied with the g rowing criticism coming from conservatives in the church regarding the Civilian Public Service (CPS) program. He was also in charge of the educational program a t the CPS camps, which required frequent travel to CPS locations. As secretary o f MCC he carried on a huge correspondence. And he was editor of the Mennonite Qu arterly Review. Somehow he also found time to teach two courses. In the midst of such a maelstrom of activity it is no wonder that Bender was abl e to give very little time to the writing of The Anabaptist Vision. As late as D ecember 16, less than two weeks before it was to be given, it had not been writt en. [3] When he finally got to the writing, he wrote it in just a few days. His wife Elizabeth Horsch Bender remembered that she "was just amazed how he got tha t whole thing done and ready to give ... in no time at all: two or three days."

[4] In the rush of preparation he did not take time to do the careful source citatio ns the essay required. Because the annual presidential address was published in Church History, Bender had to go back and insert the necessary research apparatu s. Sometime in January 1944 a Goshen College student saw Harold and Elizabeth an d John C. Wenger sitting at the long table in the Historical Library at the coll ege surrounded by great mounds of books, intently searching for references. The student remembered John C. Wenger's gleeful chuckle as he announced "I've found another one." [5] They were busy preparing The Anabaptist Vision for publication . Thus the classic and seminal essay in Mennonite history was created. Written in haste, read to a tiny audience of less than 20 academicians, none of whom were M ennonite, in a richly paneled dining room at an Ivy League University in the hea rt of New York City, Harold Bender could not have imagined what his presidential address would ultimately become, nor guessed how powerful its influence would b e, both on the world of Anabaptist scholarship and on the self-understanding of his own people, the Mennonites. He did not know that he had produced a classic.

Concepts of The Anabaptist Vision Bender began the essay by acknowledging what most church historians accepted as true in 1943; the seeds of modem religious liberty were planted by the Anabaptis ts. But, he argued, religious liberty was not the true essence of Anabaptism. Ra ther "Anabaptism is the culmination of the Reformation, the fulfillment of the o riginal vision of Luther and Zwingli, and thus makes it a consistent evangelical Protestantism seeking to recreate without compromise the original New Testament church." [6] The Anabaptists "retained the original vision of Luther and Zwingl i, enlarged it, gave it body and form, and set out to achieve it in actual exper ience." [7] The content of the Vision was three-fold, said Bender. The key element was disci pleship, "a concept which meant the transformation of the entire way of life of the individual believer and of society so that it should be fashioned after the teachings and example of Christ..." The focus of the Christian life was not so m uch the inward experience of the grace of God, as it was for Luther, but the out ward application of that grace to all human conduct." [8] Second, the Vision embodied a new concept of the church. Bender put it this way: "Voluntary church membership based upon true conversion and involving a commitment to holy living and discipleship was the absolutely essential heart of this concept." [9] He con trasted this with the acceptance by the reformers of the medieval mass church. The third element of the Vision was the ethic of love and nonresistance applied, as he put it "to all human relationships." [10] He ended the essay with an acti on statement: "The Anabaptist vision was not a detailed blueprint for the recons truction of human society, but the Brethren did believe that Jesus intended that the Kingdom of God should be set in the midst of the earth, here and now, and t his they proposed to do forthwith. We shall not believe, they said, that the Ser mon on the Mount or any other vision that He had is only a heavenly vision meant but to keep his followers in tension until the last great day, but we shall pra ctise what He taught, believing that where He walked we can by His grace follow His steps." [11] Formative Influences on the Development of The Anabaptist Vision Essay

How did Bender arrive at the concepts in The Anabaptist Vision address? Since th e original address is not available we cannot determine how much the original di ffered from the published version, which appeared first in the March, 1944, issu e of Church History, and then in the April Mennonite Quarterly Review. But since he did not spend two months of intensive research in preparation--it was "dashe d off" as Elizabeth put it--it serves as an accurate guage of Harold Bender's un derstanding of Anabaptism at an intuitive level. He wrote what was in his unders tanding at the time: a kind of condensation of what he believed and knew. By 1943 Harold Bender had been working in the field of Anabaptist studies for 20 years, In 1923-24 he and Elizabeth Horsch Bender spent a year on a Princeton-sp onsored fellowship in Europe at the University of Tiibingen. During that year he discovered the fertile possibilities of European Anabaptist sources. Invited to join the faculty of newly reopened Goshen College, Harold and Elizabeth returne d in the Fall of 1924 with Ernst Correll in tow. Correll had just completed a Ph .D at the University of Munich under Ernst Troeltsch, where he had written about the economic situation of eighteenth century Swiss Mennonites. Within a few months the two young faculty members, (Harold was 27, Correll 30) h ad founded the Mennonite Historical Society, and announced ambitious plans to publish a two vol ume work on Conrad Grebel, the first volume to be completed in 1925 to celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of Grebel's baptism and the beginnings of the Sw iss Brethren. (It would actually be 1950, 25 years later before Bender's Grebel biography would be published.) In 1927 the two founded the Mennonite Quarterly R eview with Harold as editor. The journal quickly established itself as the premi er publication in Anabaptist studies, helped greatly by the prolific research an d writing of his father-in- law, John Horsch. During that time Harold was also b eginning the collection of Anabaptist sources which would make Goshen College, b y 1943, the best center for Anabaptist research in America. In 1930 and again in 1935 Harold studied at the University of Heidelberg, comple ting his dissertation on Grebel in one of those frantic Harold Bender efforts. I n less than six weeks during June and July of 1935, working day and night, he wr ote and typed, in German, the dissertation which got him his Ph.D. During the 19 30's, interspersed with his college dean duties (he became dean of Goshen Colleg e in 1931) Bender published a number of installments of his Grebel research in t he Mennonite Quarterly Review. No great work of any kind can ever be separated from the individual who produces it. When Bender produced The Anabaptist Vision, it was not the work of an esote ric academician, but of a busy administrator and church leader. In 1943 the 46-y ear-old Bender was at the height of his powers, both as a scholar and as a church leader. He was surely the ablest of the contemporar y church leaders. Only Orie Miller matched him, but Orie lacked the intellectual acumen of Bender. What they shared, however, was an ability to straddle conserv ative-liberal issues. By the 1940's Harold had developed that ability into somet hing of an art form. Built on a foundation of complete commitment to the Mennonite church, and a read iness to give ground on non-essentials for the sake of basics, Bender was nearly always able to outflank his critics. The crisis which World War II created push ed Bender and Miller to the front and center of Mennonite leadership. The two to gether, Miller with his administrative genius, and Bender with his theological a nd intellectual prowess, out-matched every one else. CPS and the war emergency g ave them the scope and challenge they needed. For two decades--the 1940s and 1950s--they domi nated Mennonite church affairs. The Anabaptist Vision could thrive in that envir onment.

Bender was not an original thinker, but he had a formidable ability to organize and digest large and complex bodies of information. The Anabaptist Vision must b e understood in those terms, for it distilled not only Bender's ideas, but the i deas of those around him. Four persons had significant influence on the content of the Vision. Harold Bender could not have become Harold Bender, but for the work of Elizabeth Horsch Bender. Her influence on the Vision was quite direct. In the summer of 1 942 Elizabeth began work on her Master's degree at the University of Minnesota. Her topic was "The Mennonites in German Literature." She completed the work and the degree in 1944. Harold, busy as he was, interested himself in the details of the research, even writing letters to help with her search for sources. [12] He r research revealed an enormous amount of misinformation about Anabaptists and M ennonites in literary sources. Since she was writing the thesis during the fall and winter of 1943, her finding s were fresh in Harold's mind and no doubt helped focus his concern to delineate the character of Anabaptism. In fact, Harold quoted a passage in the Vision bor rowed from Elizabeth's brilliant essay in the July 1943, Mennonite Quarterly Rev iew, entitled "The Portrayal of The Swiss Anabaptists In Gottfried Keller's URSA LA," in which Keller vilifies the Anabaptists. Bender borrowed Elizabeth's quota tion of Keller as a kind of negative example of the "spirit of the Anabaptists." [13] Guy F. Hershberger was present at the creation of the Anabaptist research focus at Goshen. He came to Goshen to teach in the fall of 1925 and was one of the fou nders of the Mennonite Quarterly Review and the Mennonite Historical Society. Hi s field was American history (his dissertation was on the Quakers in Pennsylvani a in the Colonial period). In the 1930s Bender as chair of the Mennonite Church' s Peace Problems Committee authorized Hershberger to prepare a manuscript on non resistance. For a variety of reasons the work was not completed until late 1943 (Hershberger wrote the preface in February 1944). It is significant that two Mennonite classics, Hershberger's War, Peace, and Non resistance and Bender's "The Anabaptist Vision," were being written during the f all of 1943 at Goshen. Bender read Hershberger's manuscript during late 1943 in preparation for its printing under the auspices of the Peace Problems Committee. Almost certainly Harold borrowed his opening quotation in the Vision, not from the original source, (Rufus Jones, Studies In Mystical Religion, 1909), but from Hershberger's War, Peace, and Nonresistance, page 305. It is also interesting that before the book went to the printers in early 1944 Hershberger completed his notating by citing The Anabapt ist Vision, (from Church History and the Mennonite Quarterly Review) five times as authority for his statements in the text and in his bibliographies. [14] John Horsch was Harold Bender's father-in-law. In the 1920s and 1930s it was hel pful to Harold to be John Horsch's son-in-law. It was a thin cover from conserva tive criticism, but it was a cover, nontheless. Harold and John Horsch had a co ngenial relationship. Harold had a high regard for Horsch's scholarship, while w incing sometimes at his father-in-law's use of rhetorical sledgehammers in the h eat of theological and historical combat. John Horsch died in October 1941 leavi ng the almost completed manuscript for Mennonites In Europe. Edward Yoder comple ted the editing and prepared it for publication. Bender, as secretary of the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church, proofr ead the completed manuscript, probably early in 1942. In five instances he borro ws quotations from Anabaptist sources quoted in Horsch. [15] He also uses Anabap tist source quotations from articles Horsch wrote for the Mennonite Quarterly Re view during the 1930s. [16] But the key term in the Vision, discipleship, never

appears in Mennonites In Europe. Harold Bender borrowed heavily from his fatherin-law, but he was also forging ahead into a new framework. Comparing Mennonites In Europe and The Anabaptist Vision is to compare two eras, one representing th e previous 30 years; the other the next 30 years. Another formative influence on Bender's Anabaptist understandings arrived at Gos hen College in July, 1940, in the person of Robert Friedmann. The 49-year-old Fr iedmann, a Jewish Christian refugee from Vienna, quickly became Harold's best fr iend and closest collaborator in Anabaptist studies and research. Harold Bender brought Friedmann to Goshen to help organize and catalog the Mennonite Historica l Library collection. The roughly 2,500 volumes of the Historical Library had ju st been brought to the basement floor of the new Memorial library and piled on s tacks all over the floor. It was Friedmann's task to identify and catalog the co llection, something he was eminently capable of and eager to do. More than anyon e else, Friedmann would turn Harold's mind toward the search for the essence of Anabaptism. Formative for Bender's emerging Anabaptist Vision was Friedmann's writing. Befor e being forced out of Vienna by the Nazis, Friedmann had begun a study of the re lationship between Anabaptism and Pietism. In 1940 he published a two-part serie s in the Mennonite Quarterly Review which summarized his findings. Of necessity he had to determine the essence of Anabaptism in order to compare it with Pietis m. The essential difference Friedmann believed to lie in the Anabaptist stress o n "Nachfolge Christi," which he translated discipleship. "Following Christ (Nach folge Christi) that is a central word of the Anabaptists...," he wrote. "...this concept of discipleship demands a great and voluntary obedience in thought and deed..." [17] Even more important was Friedmann's essay published in Church History in 1940. T he essay was entitled "Conception of The Anabaptists." [18] In The Anabaptist Vi sion essay, Bender followed that article more closely than any other. Friedmann began the article by describing what Anabaptists did not stand for. They were no t "Schwarmer" as labelled by Luther. They were not eschatological rebels. They w ere not antitrinitarians. Nor could they be defined by what Roland Bainton calle d "Left Wing Protestantism." (Bainton was writing the article so captioned at th e same time as Friedmann was writing his, and he let Friedmann see it before pub lication.) Bainton stressed adult baptism and separation of church and state as the key marks of the "Left Wing." [19] At the center of Friedmann's essay was a review of Toleranze und Offenbarung by Johannes Kuhn published in 1923. Whether Bender read Kuhn during his year at Tub ingen is not known, but there is evidence that he may have. Friedmann argued tha t Kuhn for the first time gave Anabaptism "equal rank" with other church movemen ts in history, and Kuhn highlighted five types of Protestantism. The third type Kuhn identified as "tauferishe Nachfolge," Anabaptist discipleship. "Nachfolge," Friedmann believed, means to live in the spirit of the Gospel. In e ssence discipleship means love and the cross. Love meant brotherhood, social com munity, and even as in the Hutterites, community of goods. But love often led to the cross. Suffering thus becomes the unavoidable fate of the true Christian on earth. Kuhn, claimed Friedmann, had delineated the essence of Anabaptism. Bende r would have read this essay and certainly discussed it at length with Friedmann , who was laboring to get Goshen College's historical library organized. In 1942 Friedmann read an address at the Mennonite Cultural Conference entitled "The Anabaptist Genius And Its Influence On Mennonites Today." The point of the article was that in the crisis of World War II, Mennonites could benefit from wh at he called the "old" spirit of the fathers. Friedmann's main point will become a key point in The Anabaptist Vision; that the reformers stopped, as Friedmann put it, "halfway." They failed to follow their convictions to the end. Unlike th

e reformers, Friedmann argued, the Anabaptists pursued the intent of the Reforma tion to its conclusion and the results were what he called "a Christian revoluti on." [20] The Anabaptist Vision and History The Anabaptist Vision has been criticized as a one-dimensional description of An abaptism. Bender's mind liked sharply drawn silhouettes. So did his contemporary Mennonites. Searching for the essence of a thing is of necessity an exercise in simplification. Bender's Anabaptist Vision was such an exercise, and is both it s strength and weakness. Kenneth Davis has commented that Bender did not give much credence to other than religious factors as explanations for Anabaptism. To a large degree that was a product of his own research, focused as it was on Conrad Grebel and the Swiss Br ethren. Economic, political and sociological phenomena were not in the range of his work. He was quite interested in such matters, but in his relatively narrowfocused research he had neither the time nor the training to pursue such concern s. The Swiss Brethren material he had mastered was virtually all religious. Kenn eth Davis believes Bender used the theological and historical material at his di sposal with great skill. But he did not nuance the implications very successfull y. [21] Recent historians of Anabaptism have disputed Bender's assertion that Anabaptism was simply the "culmination" of the Reformation. Walter Klaassen's Anabaptism: Neither Catholic Nor Protestant (1973) is a case in point. Bender found the "culmination of the Reformation" arg ument attractive for two reasons. It helped give Anabaptism legitimacy in the ey es of academic historians, and in the Vision Bender predicted that it was "desti ned to dominate the field." In the second place, it pleased contemporary Mennonites, nonresistants uneasy in the midst of a world war. Being the heirs of principled reformers rather than r eligious heretics was good news. Mennonites were reassured; they were also Prote stants, though with a difference. Denny Weaver has helpfully pointed out that Bender believed in the popularly hel d "tripartite division of history." There was an original "golden" age, followed by a "dark" age. The third stage is the era of the "recovery" of the qualities of the original age. Bender's portrait of the Swiss Brethren in the Vision is of such a golden era. The Swiss Brethren were pristine biblicists and heroic marty rs (the Vision has a long section on their heroism as a persecuted minority). The obvious point of the Vision for Bender's people is the need and the opportun ity to recapture the original vitality of Anabaptism. [22] There is a vast amoun t of commentary on The Anabaptist Vision, much of if revisionist in nature. It i s not possible in the scope of this essay to review that material. [23] Concluding Comments Where did Bender get his title? In his previous writing he hardly ever used the term "Vision." But the success of the essay must have impressed him, for by October, 1944, in his brief inaugural address as the new dean of the Goshen College Bible School he will us e the term vision frequently. The title of the essay, "The Anabaptist Vision," w as certainly felicitous. Ponder such titles as "The Anabaptist Idea," or "The Es sence of Anabaptism," or even "The Spirit Of Anabaptism." I doubt that Harold Be nder spent much time searching for a "marketable" title. But the title captures,

in a profound way, both the spirit and the content of the essay. It has been the purpose of this paper to reenact the writing of The Anabaptist V ision essay. In 1943 Harold Bender was ready to write The Anabaptist Vision. But it might well have b ecome just another forgotten American Society of Church History presidential add ress. It was not forgotten because the times were ripe for its message and meani ng. Another paper will be needed to describe that fullness of time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Albert N. Keirn, professor of history at Eastern Mennonite College in Virginia, was at this time writing a biography of Harold S. Bender. The above essay is the text of an address Keim gave to the Mennonite Church Historical Association mee ting July 29, 1993, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Mennonite Historical Bulletin, October 1993, pp. 1-7.

Bender, Harold Stauffer by Leonard Gross (19 July 1897-21 Sept. 1962). Harold S. Bender was the leading worldwide Mennoni te spirit in his time, ca.1930-1962. He remains best known for his essay, "The A nabaptist Vision" (1944)--a vision of faithful disciples gathered in the name an d spirit of the Christ of peace. This vision permeated Bender's life and thought throughout his lifetime. (See G. F. Hershberger, ed., The Recovery of the Anaba ptist Vision, 1957*) Bender was born in Elkhart, Ind. to George Lewis and Elsie (Kolb) Bender. At the time, Elkhart was at the hub of the Mennonite Church (MC), thanks to John F. Fu nk's periodical, Herald of Truth, and the other programs in publishing, relief w ork, mission work, mutual aid, and education that developed there in the 1880s a nd 1890s. Bender graduated from Elkhart High School (1914), Goshen College (Bachelor of Ar ts, 1918), Garrett Biblical Institute (Bachelor of Divinity, 1922), Princeton Th eological Seminary (Master of Theology, 1923), Princeton University (Master of A rts, 1923), and the University of Heidelberg (Doctorate of Theology, 1935). He a ttended the University of Tilbingen, 1923-24. In 1923 he married Elizabeth Barba ra Horsch; their children were Mary Eleanor (b. 1927) and Nancy Elizabeth (b. 19 33). Bender taught one year at the high school in Thorntown, IN (1916-17) and two yea rs at Hesston College (1918-20). From 1924 to 1962 he was professor at Goshen Co llege in church history, Bible, and sociology. He was dean of Goshen College, 19 31-44, and dean of Goshen College Biblical Seminary, 1944-62. Bender's birth coincided with the Mennonite renaissance or awakening of the 1880 s and 1890s, which was, in part, the result of a shift in language from German t o English. Mennonites during this era began accepting much within their new Engl ish-speaking, North American culture, including higher education and a renewed i

nterest in missions, at home and abroad. Bender's own interest in education shou ld be understood in this light. Bender's formative years, on the other hand, came during a new era of Mennonite Church (MC) leaders who attempted to establish a new Mennonite orthodoxy in doct rine and dress, with a certain codification of both, and imbued to some degree b y Fundamentalism. Daniel Kauffman was the major leader at the time (ca. 1898-193 0). His Manual of Bible Doctrines (1898, 1914, 1928) became the definitive word for many within the church at that time. The significance of Bender's work may be seen in part in terms of how he dealt w ith these new trends, both Fundamentalist and Liberal, within the church. Bender chose a route and approach to vision that differed from both. It stood in contr ast to the Kauffman view of doctrine and dress, not so much in criticizing it di rectly, but rather by circumventing it. Bender chose to express the Christian fa ith through the historical process and attempted to rediscover the Anabaptist vi sion of biblical faith and life. Bender believed he was not creating a new theol ogy but was returning to and recovering an old faith, the faith of his own foreb ears. In 1927 he created a journal, Mennonite Quarterly Review (MQR), and in 192 9 he founded a scholarly series, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, wr iting the first volume himself (Two Centuries of American Mennonite Literature). A dissertation on Conrad Grebel, one of the founders of Anabaptism (1935, publi shed 1950); a biography of Menno Simons (1936); Mennonite Origins in Europe (194 2); "The Anabaptist Vision" (1944); The Mennonite Encyclopedia (4 vols., 1955-59 ); Biblical Revelation and Inspiration (1959); These Are My People (1962), indic ate the scope of his efforts to bring about a return to the Anabaptist faith as he understood it. Throughout all these decades he edited the MQR and published m any shorter essays therin, , as well as in other scholarly journals and in churc h papers. Bender's leadership in the life of the Mennonite Church (MC), worldwide Mennonit ism, and in ecumenical contacts was evident, in part, through the long list of c ommittees and organizations in which he was active. Central in Bender's vision, on all levels of interaction, was his concern for the way of peace and love as i ntegral to the path Christians should take.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------* The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision has been reprinted in "The Dissent and N onconformity Series," No. 22, (Number One Iron Oaks Drive, Paris, Arkansas 72855 : The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., n.d.). Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 66-67. All rights reserved. Order the Mennoni te Encyclopedia frrm the publisher, Herald Press.

Anabaptist Theology by Robert Friedmann

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------This essay was Robert Friedmann's first-draft attempt at defining what should go into the Mennonite Encyclopedia under "Theology, Anabaptist." The editors did n ot see fit to use this approach, but the essay was published in the Mennonite Hi storical Bulletin, April 1990. One reason for this may well have been the fact t hat Friedmann's analysis was based more on the Swiss and Hutterian traditions, w

ith less emphasis upon Dutch Anabaptism. Even so, the essay is of great importan ce. Its significance lies in part in its early date, 1958, but also in unique fo rmulations. For here is none other than Friedmann's encapsulation of what later would appear as his Theology of Anabaptism (Herald Press, 1973). Friedmann's int erpretation may prove useful, currently, in the light of present interests in th e question of Mennonite merger, and in a conjoint Mennonite confession of faith. (Leonard Gross, Editor, Mennonite Historical Bulletin) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No Anabaptist ever wrote a book or tract approximating systematic theology, comp arable to what the Reformers of the sixteenth century have done. Therefore, a di scussion here can point only to an implied, not to an explicit system of theolog y or theological thought, underlying all other activities of the brethren. No Ch ristian group can exist without such an implied set of ideas, whereas their deta iled expounding depends rather on actual occasions of polemics or defense. The question which is foremost in the present endeavor of formulating this "impl ied" theology of the Anabaptists is whether or not Anabaptists accepted by and l arge the theology of the Protestant Reformers (Luther or Zwingli, hardly Calvin) , adding in addition only those aspects otherwise neglected. In other words, sho uld Anabaptism be regarded as a sort of Protestantism, with simply a greater emp hasis on practical works and conduct, otherwise in line with the Reformers? The older outlook (such as that of John Horsch) was inclined to accept this viewpoin t while at present it is felt that Anabaptist theology, as it gradually becomes better known, was in many ways as deeply different from Protestantism as the lat ter was different from Catholicism. Otherwise the violent opposition and persecu tion of the brethren would be hard to understand. According to this more recent viewpoint, Anabaptism was more than merely a radicalized Lutheranism or Zwinglia nism, even though elements of both are found in Anabaptist thought. While the great Reformers were in one sense or another Augustinians, Anabaptists were unaware of--or at least were uninterested in--the teachings of that great church father. As for the emphasis in biblical studies, the stress is shifted fr om Pauline doctrines, developed above all in the great Epistle to the Romans, to the basic instructions and teachings of Christ himself as found in the Synoptic gospels. The idea of discipleship therefore becomes foremost. In a rather gener al sense one could formulate this situation somewhat as follows: While for the R eformers the question of personal, individual salvation (from the taint of origi nal sin and punishment for it) stood in the foreground, a question usually answe red by the so-called "solafide" theology, the Anabaptists were primarily interes ted in the idea of Nachfolge (following Christ) which is based on an implied "th eology of the kingdom of God." Of course, the Anabaptists too were sure that this idea means, in the last analy sis, "salvation" (from the powers of darkness), but salvation as taught by Luthe r was certainly not their primary concern. Their concern was rather obedience to the Word of God which excluded from the outset too much thinking concerning one 's own fate. Only by obedience can one become a "disciple" and thus be active to wards the promotion of the kingdom of God. Original sin exists, of course, but m ust not necessarily prevent man from such a way of Nachfolge, if man only fights in his own depth all the opposing forces. Here we see immediately the great difference between them and the Reformers: the re is no inescapable pessimism concerning man's capacity to obey God's commandme nts (including those of the Sermon on the Mount). The reason for this is that An abaptism begins with the very idea of inner rebirth and a new and dedicated life , while Protestantism in general is inclined to despair of such an ability in ma n. Popularly, one might formulate the difference as an "emphasis on sanctificati

on" versus an "emphasis on justification"; such a formulation, however, is too s imple to satisfy, and the finer differences will become clearer only as we study the issue, point by point. In reading Anabaptist tracts of a quasi-theological nature (usually provoked by polemics) one discovers quickly the absence of certain key words so familiar to everyone from the writings of Luther or Zwingli: 1) There is first and foremost the almost complete absence of the term "original sin"--or, if it appears, it shows but marginal significance. All the classical loci quoted by Luther are absent (e.g., in Friedemann, see Mennonite Quarterly R eview, 1952, 210ff.), and their answer that "the sons do not inherit the guilt o f the fathers" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) is utterly un-Lutheran. In other words, total depravity is unthinkable for men who have dedicated their lives to Nachfolge and discipleship. The reborn person knows ways and means to fight the "old Adam" in us, primarily by a life of nonconformity. 2) The term "atonement" is found nearly nowhere, and Anabaptists often express t heir opposition to the idea that inasmuch as Christ had ransomed us from the bon dage of sin, we cannot do anything more but rely on this cosmic event and accept it as a free gift (cf. "Sweet or Bitter Christ," Mennonite Encyclopedia, IV, 68 8-9). Man is not saved through Christ in his sin, but from his sin. The only kno wn Anabaptist tract on this topic, from about 1530, Von der Genugtuung Christi [ "On the Satisfaction of Christ," in: John Howard Yoder, Ed., The Legacy of Micha el Sattler, 1973, 108ff.] does not really deal with the doctrine itself but only with the question: who may receive this divine grace? Only the disciple who ded icates himself altogether to a life of obedience is worth to receive this grace. Justification is Gerechtmachung, not only Gerechterklärung. 3) Salvation by faith alone: This formulation leads easily to confusion because the opposite formulation, "salvation by works," contains so much ambiguity that the issues become easily blurred. A passage by Riedemann may easily illustrate t his situation. He violently opposes the accusation "as if we would seek to be go od [fromm werden, the Anabaptist term for salvation] through our own works.... T o this we say 'no,' for we know that all our work, insofar as it is our work, is naught but sin and unrighteousness; but insofar as it is of Christ and done by Christ in us, so far is it truth--just and good...." (Riedemann, Account of our Religion, 1950, p.36). 4) The term "sacrament" is of course totally absent in Anabaptist writings, but the subject itself -- baptism and the Lord's Supper--was much discussed, more or less in a Zwinglian way (symbolism). That baptism means a "sealing up of the ne w birth" is of course specific with all groups favoring adult baptism. Often the Anabaptists call it with Titus 3:5 a "bath of rebirth"; to them it means a vow to walk the way of discipleship; till the end of life. Thus we might say that di scipleship is more than mere "sanctification of life," rather it is sanctificati on after having experienced God's grace of actual (existential) justification (G erechtmachung). Work under such condition is not a "marital act" (as with Cathol icism) but the evidencing of faith in life-obedience to God's commandments. Pete r's word, You are a royal people (1 Peter 2:9), is more central to Anabaptists t han Paul's cry of despondency in Romans 7. Once dedicated to this way the Anabaptist no longer worries about personal salva tion. His way is not "salvation by works" (as opponents used to say and still sa y so now and then) but the Anabaptist knows that no salvation is thinkable witho ut works which show the reality of one's conversion. The term "by faith alone" i s too indefinite as to be well usable for such a vision. II

Traditionally, theology is subdivided into several topics such as christology, s oteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology. Naturally, Anabaptist writings are un aware of this classification, but in broad outlines we may find some salient poi nts to each topic in these writings: 1) Christology. It has to be stressed that the Anabaptists were thoroughly "orth odox" in their faith, i.e., they accepted without any reservation the Apostolic Creed and the doctrine of the Trinity. That holds true for all groups without di stinction. Christ is the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, who redeemed mankind by his death -- that is, by opening a new w ay to fight the powers of Satan, and also by opening God's immeasurable grace to all who will follow him in true sonship. The Anabaptists accepted the orthodox "old-evangelical" teachings -- prior and up to the time of the Nicene Creed. Wit h Zwingli they eliminated all magical ideas, so often connected with the person of Christ. We should stress here also that the Anabaptists were soberly scriptur al, that is, all kinds of fanaticism, enthusiasm and false spiritualism were for eign to them. 2) Soteriology. That humans are born in sin, is of course readily admitted; but this birth does not mean a sort of fate which cannot be overcome or escaped. The basic presupposition of Anabaptist thought is the existential fact of inner reb irth, the total change of mind. Only individuals of this type could (and would) ever join the Anabaptist brotherhoods; those who passively despaired of any esse ntial change of life could never understand the Anabaptists both in their everyd ay life and in their stand at trials. Faith meant to them more than merely a "cr eedal assent," it meant rather an experience leading to decision and commitment. Naturally such an attitude will unavoidably lead to conflicts with the "world" ( which lives in a mixture of powers derived both from light and darkness), and wi th it, to persecution. The Anabaptist, however, is prepared to accept it, what w as aptly called the "theology of martyrdom," meaning the expectation of the cros s for the disciple -- "cross," not as a marital event, but as a sign of one's ow n stand, challenging the world which will always contradict the path of Christ a nd his disciples. (Note: theology of martyrdom, i.e., the "church under the cros s," is to be distinguished from a "theology of the cross," so well-known from la ter Pietism, but also from the writings of Thomas Müntzer and other writers of the sixteenth century.) The idea of a suffering church is not really a "theology" in the strict sense of the word, just as the idea of "discipleship" is not theology proper (though par t of it). Discipleship (Nachfolge) is often called "obedience" in Anabaptist tra cts. Neither this disciple-ship nor martyrdom as such has in itself any "saving" quality. The central concepts of Anabaptist theology therefore have to be sought on a sti ll deeper level. It was recently called the "theology of the two worlds," or kin gdom-of-God theology (Robert Friedmann, "The Doctrine of the Two Worlds," in: Th e Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision, 1957, 105-18). Its basic idea is the primit ive Christian dualism of God and Satan, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Sa tan, light and darkness, Spirit and flesh, and the like. Facing this prime situa tion of all existence, each person has to decide for himself which one of the tw o sides he is ready to join. All the well-known radicalism of the Anabaptist suc h as martyrdom, community of goods, innerworldly asceticism, etc., has its roots in this basic theological vision or outlook. To this "kingdom-theology" might be added as a supplementary thought the idea of "covenant" (Bund). The Anabaptists have made their covenant with God (1 Peter 3 :21) when accepting baptism, but more correctly God made his covenant with all t hose who are ready to be his children. Thus Anabaptists are "covenant people," h

aving committed themselves to unceasing enmity to whatever belongs to the prince of the world (such as violence, adultery, greed, hatred, etc.) (Note: One author prefers to speak of two aeons rather than two worlds, but it a ppears that the aeon-theology belongs in a different context.) 3) Eschatology. Except for marginal figures such as Melchior Hofmann and his lik e, eschatology has nowhere been treated in detail by Anabaptists. And yet, they draw courage and good cheer from an unelaborated-upon hope and confidence that " these are the last and most dangerous days." In other words, they believe that t he kingdom of God has drawn near and will come at any moment. That gives them ca lmness in tribulation -- they are sure that God will not delay for long his comi ng. Again, Anabaptists were reading Peter ("new heavens and a new earth," 2 Pete r 3:13) with more understanding in this regard than any one of the other epistle s of the New Testament. But one should stress the point that Anabaptists were ne ver adventists or millenarians of any kind. When, in 1527 at the famous Martyr's Synod in Augsburg, this question came up, Hans Hut was expressly instructed to keep back his own ideas concerning the near end of this world, and he kept his p romise. Anabaptists were loath to indulge in speculations of this kind. Only as an undercurrent would they allow remarks of this kind. After all, the kingdom of God was not only coming, it was already "among us." 4) Ecclesiology. The Corpus Christi is here stressed over against the Corpus Chr istianorum. In other words, the brotherhood of dedicated Christians stands here against the body of all baptized Christians, saints and sinners. The Catholics a s well as the Reformers accepted the Corpus Christianorum, the concept of a Chri stian society at large, hence their opposition to the idea of an exclusive Corpu s Christi[anum]. The church (Gemeinde, also Gemein, Gemeinschaft) and the brotherhood are with th e Anabaptists one and the same, both a sacred and a secular body without separat ion of these two functions. No one can ever reach God except together with his b rother. The Anabaptist church was once well-called the "fellowship of committed disciples," and the Lord's Supper among them is the external symbol of this fell owship (occasionally called the "fellowship at the Lord's Table"). Brotherhood i s more than a concern for the other's salvation, it is Gemeinschaft, community, both in things spiritual and worldly. It is essentially a love-relation (hence i t implies more than merely an "ethic" of love). At the same time this church is a disciplined church, a church which insists on supervision by the bishop or Vorsteher, and naturally insists on the ban. More t han once it was called a "church of order" (cf. Mennonite Encyclopedia, I, 595-a ), the term itself occurring time and again in Anabaptist tracts. Of course, the world of the children of God must be a world of order, and not one of confusion or arbitrariness. Whether Grebel or Riedemann, Marpeck or Menno Simons or Dirk Philips, they all stressed this element of order and discipline as part of the t rue church of God. It belongs as a second element to the first one of brotherly love and cooperation and sharing. III These then are the salient elements of Anabaptist theology. Its core appears to be the doctrine of the two worlds, with its corresponding idea that the Anabapti sts' task is to attempt to realize the kingdom of God in the here and now, at le ast in part, and in weakness. The disciple knows the temptation of sin, but he h as arrived at the decision where he will fight it and will try to follow the Mas ter. This is possible only if he separates from the "world," but in a different way from that of medieval monasticism.

That official Protestantism with its so profoundly different genius could not un derstand this vision and was bent to eliminate it altogether is regrettable but understandable. Only a period of slackening of this theology, and at the same ti me a converging towards a "general Protestant pattern" (around 1700, see Gerhard Roosen as an example) could radically change outlook and persecution. (October, 1958)