January AN Website Update

Dear friends,

This is the second edition of our monthly website update that goes out to all registered users on the Anabaptist Network website. Our goal is to keep you up to date on new items and resources available on the site. This month we have three six new items to highlight and we've included a brief selection from each.

If you have problems reading this email you can find it on-line at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/jan06update

New study group in Cheshire?

Do you live within reach of Altrincham in Cheshire? If so, you might be interested in a meeting taking place soon, to explore the possibility of starting a new Anabaptist study group.

More info at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/339

Faith and Politics after Christendom on 1 July, 2006

A day conference in Birmingham to mark the launch of the long awaited third book in the After Christendom series - Faith and Politics after Christendom – the Church as a Movement for Anarchy.

In a follow up to Stuart Murray's first two publications, the book will tackle some of the thorny issues that arise from the changing relationship between church and state. 'Faith and Politics after Christendom' will explore the apparent paradox of an increasingly politicised and radicalised church which is at the same time is at its most distant from government for 1700 years.

More info at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/330

Neglected Voices on Issues of War and Peace
by Christopher Rowland

There is a long tradition of Christian support for war in certain, carefully defined, circumstances. This essay is about aspects of that other tradition. Five authors are considered who in different ways have challenged the culture of violence in the name of Christ. Two are representatives of what may be termed the radical Christian tradition Hans Denck in the sixteenth, and Gerrard Winstanley in the seventeenth, centuries. The other three come from the twentieth century, one of whom, John Howard Yoder, as a Mennonite, is the inheritor of the Radical Reformation practice of the sixteenth century, of whom Hans Denck is one of the earliest advocates. René Girard has influenced many with his big large-scale explanation of the origin of violence and its place in culture. Finally, William Stringfellow is the only Anglican writer. The book of Revelation illuminates his protest against the Vietnam War. There is reluctance on his part to be absolutist about pacifism in that he asserts that in any good contextual theology one cannot decide in advance how one should act.

Read more at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/337

Pelagians, Donatists, Monks, Anabaptists and other Perfectionists
by Stuart Murray Williams

‘Anabaptist’ was only one of several damning epithets used to discredit, rather than merely describe, the various radical groups that emerging across Europe in the first half of the 16th century. ‘Anabaptist’ was especially damaging because it invoked a centuries-old threat of capital punishment against re-baptisers. The epithet ‘Donatist’ carried a similar implication1, recalling the North African movement that insisted on re-baptising those whom the Catholic churches had already baptised.

But labelling the Anabaptist groups ‘Donatists’ also suggested they shared another characteristic with the earlier movement – the search for a pure and spotless church. Other epithets hammered home the same accusation: Anabaptists were ‘Pelagians’2, who advocated a form of salvation by human effort that diminished the grace of God; and they were a new form of ‘monasticism’ 3, worryingly suggesting that all Christians should separate from the world and aspire to monastic levels of discipleship.

Read more at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/336

2 Timothy 3:12 and 'the Ideal of Good Christian Citizenship': An Anabaptist Perspective
by Lloyd Pietersen

This paper was presented at the annual conference of the Society for Biblical Literature. As far as we are aware this was the first time ever that an explicitly Anabaptist presentation has been given at this event. Responses to the paper were very positive, with a number of scholars recognising that they had not previously taken into account Anabaptist perspectives on New Testament interpretation.

Download the paper at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/343

Table Lamp or City Lights?
By Alan Kreider

‘You are light for the world’ (Matthew 5:14). Unlike salt, to which a baroque complexity of interpretations has been attached, light has been less troubling to interpreters, lay and professional. It seems pretty obvious what light does! Nevertheless, differences remain.

Some stress that the light represents the Christian message - purity, knowledge, revelation, the truth of the gospel. Being light thus entails illuminating people through ‘evangelizing’. Others see the light less in terms of message than of the disciples’ corporate life: they are ‘the eschatological congregation of the faithful’.

Read more at http://www.anabaptistnetwork.com/node/340