Anabaptist Core Convictions

I don't endorse all of these totally, but do find them very refreshing and largely on point:

1. Jesus is our example, teacher, friend, redeemer and Lord. He is the source of our life, the central reference point for our faith and lifestyle, for our understanding of church and our engagement with society. We are committed to following Jesus as well as worshipping him.

2. Jesus is the focal point of God’s revelation. We are committed to a Jesus-centred approach to the Bible, and to the community of faith as the primary context in which we read the Bible and discern and apply its implications for discipleship.

3. Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. Whatever its positive contributions on values and institutions, Christendom seriously distorted the gospel, marginalised Jesus, and has left the churches ill-equipped for mission in a post-Christendom culture. As we reflect on this, we are committed to learning from the experience and perspectives of movements such as Anabaptism that rejected standard Christendom assumptions and pursued alternative ways of thinking and behaving.

4. The frequent association of the church with status, wealth and force is inappropriate for followers of Jesus and damages our witness. We are committed to exploring ways of being good news to the poor, powerless and persecuted, aware that such discipleship may attract opposition, resulting in suffering and sometimes ultimately martyrdom.

5. Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability and multi-voiced worship. As we eat together, sharing bread and wine, we sustain hope as we seek God’s kingdom together. We are committed to nurturing and developing such churches, in which young and old are valued, leadership is consultative, roles are related to gifts rather than gender and baptism is for believers.

6. Spirituality and economics are inter-connected. In an individualist and consumerist culture and in a world where economic injustice is rife, we are committed to finding ways of living simply, sharing generously, caring for creation, and working for justice.

7. Peace is at the heart of the gospel. As followers of Jesus in a divided and violent world, we are committed to finding non-violent alternatives and to learning how to make peace between individuals, within and among churches, in society, and between nations.

(From Stuart Murray's The Naked Anabaptist, 45-46.)

C. Arnold Snyder summarizes the convictions widely shared by Anabaptists by the end of the 16th century as the following:


  • Christians are to follow the example of Jesus and obey his teachings, whatever the consequences.
  • The Bible is authoritative on ethical and ecclesial issues as well as theology.
  • Church and state are both divinely ordained but are to be kept seperate.
  • Churches are communities of baptized disciples who are accountable to and for one another.
  • Church discipline (including the use of the 'ban') is crucial to maintain the purity and distinctiveness of the church.
  • Followers of Jesus are to share their resources freely with one another.
  • Nonviolence and truth telling are essential aspects of discipleship, so Christians should not fight or swear oaths.
  • Suffering is normal for faithful disciples and is a mark of the true church.

(see his Anabaptist History and Theology)


In his book, Anabaptist Essentials, Palmer Becker lays out 10 essentials:


Part 1: Jesus is the Center of Our Life

1. Christianity is discipleship

2. Scripture is interpreted through Jesus

3. Jesus is Lord

Part 2: Community is the Center of our Life

4. Forgiveness is Essential for Community

5. God's Will is Discerned in Community

6. Members Are Held Accountable

Part 3: Reconciliation is the Center of Our Work

7. Individuals are Reconciled to God

*. Member are Reconciled to Each Other

9. Conflicts in the World are Reconciled

10. The Holy Spirit's Work is Essential