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The Reformation: Its History and Legacy (December 2017): The Anabaptists

By Matthew Hill

The Anabaptists

No study of the Reformation would be complete without understanding the role of the Anabaptists—the so-called Radical Reformation. Although today Anabaptists such as the Mennonites are associated with conservatism, in their origins they argued that the Reformers did not go far enough in following through the logical implications of their theology. Although there were many strands in the Anabaptists’ thought, general themes include their insistence on severing ties between church and state, pacifist principles, opposition to infant baptism and rebaptizing adult believers, a high regard for ethical living, and simplistic living. Two works on the Anabaptists are especially helpful. William Estep’s thorough The Anabaptist Story offers a good blend in coverage between strategic leaders and their theological and moral visions. Another leading text and truly massive work is George Williams’s The Radical Reformation, which offers a comprehensive,  panoramic view of Anabaptist trends throughout Europe.