Friday, November 21, 2008

Anabaptist Perspective (Ronald Sider) #1: Introduction and First Principle

Sider discusses the Anabaptist perspective, which I find commendable in many ways upon first glance, apart from the pacifism. And the fact that I like most of what he says otherwise, it makes me think I should at least take seriously his arguments for pacifism. His is the argument (thus far) most grounded in the biblical text (that’s not to say the others aren’t biblical). He gives a little history lesson to start, which is pretty interesting – though you could probably look it up on Wikipedia and get a better summary than I can give. The key gift of the Anabaptists, according to Sider, is religious freedom. They were persecuted by Lutherans and Calvinists early in their existence, but they have won the day with religious freedom being preferred in society over state religion.

The Center: Jesus Christ
Sider lays out his Anabaptist perspective by starting with Jesus. Specifically, he wants Jesus set as the example of what we’re to strive to be. While we may never attain Jesus’ values and character, He is normative. And this gospel He came to preach is not just a matter of having sins forgiven. It is that, but then these disciples are forming a new community that are living out the next age in the here and now.

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