« 'Christ our Representative' by Christmas Evans | Main | Early American Baptists divided over atonement and missions »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

pam knight

Thanks..Peter....downloading now....


I will be downloading this one. Thanks.

"Anabaptists like Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, William Reublin, Simon Stumpff, and Ludwig Hetzer, Baltazar Hubmaier, Menno Simon and their followers put in place socio-religious principles which "helped immensely to establish the principle of free conscience, separation of Church and State, the inalienable right of a man to be religious in his own way." In short, the Radical Reformation sowed the Baptist seeds of religious liberty and the politico-conception of a "free church in a free state."

For the life of me, I cannot understand why more people cannot see this or that it is ignored so much in Theological Academic circles.

When studying the Radical Reformers, it was not so much their specific doctrines at odds that was inspiring to me but the overarching issue of religous liberty. And the insidious nature of a "state church". What a courageous people whose shoulders we stand on today. Reading what they went through makes guys like Calvin look like petty insecure dictators. Not the "great men of God" so many want us to follow today.

peter lumpkins

I agree Lydia. If you are not familiar with Verduin's The Reformers and their Stepchildren I encourage you to get it.


Even if not all Verduin's conclusions from the historical records he cites follow, he nonetheless ought to turn upside down anyone's rigid belief that Baptists are, for the most part, but children of English Separatists. Verduin colorfully refers to the Radical Reformers as a "motley crew" indicative of their broad diversity.

And I think you are spot on to center in on religious liberty being at the core of our kinship with them. Calvin ended up being little more than a Protestant Pope speaking ex cathedra from Geneva rather than Rome. Indeed as H.D. Foster pointed out, in 1552 the Institutes were declared by the Genevan council "to be well and truly made, and their doctrine to be the holy doctrine of God." Imagine it. Calvin's systematic theology was, for an entire city, the Holy Doctrine of God. Sounds pretty Popish to me. http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/blog-resources/Calvins%20Puritan%20State.pdf

Anabaptists saw through the half-hearted measures of men like Zwingli and broke away from them. Consequently, they were hunted down like animals and executed or banished for their alleged "heresy." Apparently, religious freedom for the Magisterial Reformers meant "what's free for me is not necessarily free for you." Anabaptists--and their spiritual descendants, Baptists--challenged that notion, a challenge which literally cost them their blood.

Scott Shaver

Anabaptists "throwing off the theological dead wood" of the middle ages is the way I've always understood church history.

Thanks for posting this Pete.


Peter, I read that book about 8 years ago and have reread it 3 times even attempting to translate the footnotes the best I could with online resources. He really got me interested in that much ignored part of history.

If anyone here has not read his "Anatomy of a Hybrid", I highly recommend it. It is not easy to find, though. He is a brilliant researcher and scholar. Not to mention he looks a lot like my late father! :o)

Here is a question I have been pondering. How does a determinist God fit with the American declaration that man has the ability to govern himself?

The comments to this entry are closed.