Anabaptist Approaches to Church Geleyn Corneliss, 1572by Joe Baker

As discussed yesterday, the Anabaptists had an innovative approach to authority, especially the authority scripture, and one that seems all the more relevant now in the context of post-modernity and for alternative approaches to church, such as the emerging church 'movement'.

Key to the Anabaptists understanding was community. Community is a term thrown about with gay abandon in the post-modern climate, but the Anabaptists understood community very particularly. They were members of:

I'll return to each of these over the next few days, with particular reference to how I see them fitting into our faith community. But, for the time being, here's a summary.

  • A Hermeneutic Community
    A community who share the responsiblity of interpretation, especially of the Bible. Individual skills and gifts are respected and revelled in, but no one individual has the final word in defining worldviews and perspectives - it is discerned, weighed and held by the community as a whole. Hermeneutic community is about shared faith.
  • A Eucharistic Community
    The Lord's Supper, sharing The Meal together is symbolic of lives lived together. No person is in need. Eucharistic community is about shared lives.
  • A Missional Community
    The community is meant to be an open community, living and being good news for the poor and the marginalised. Missional comunity is about shared goals.
  • A Peaceful Community
    is the underlying principle to the Christian community of faith, the peace of God that surpasses understanding, peace to those on the margins and peace to those at the centre. Peaceful community is about sharing in shalom.