Kurt Willems – If I wasn’t Anabaptist, I’d probably become Anglican – Reflections on an ancient-future faith orientation

I’m Anabaptist, but even more than that, I’m a follower of the resurrected Jesus. If these two identifiers ever get out of order, something in my faith journey has gone seriously awry.

I didn’t even embrace Anabaptist theology until seminary. Actually, it was a long journey that started with two strands of complementary thought: the emerging church and an Anglican Bishop, namely N.T. Wright.

Neither Wright nor the emerging church is specifically Anabaptist, but much of what these voices were saying (when I was in college / seminary) gave me the courage to move into the Anabaptist way of faith. These voices questioned “traditional” modes of understanding the Scriptures and politics, pointing me to a much richer faith experience than I could have hoped for.

I grew up in the Mennonite Brethren denomination, which is on paper Anabaptist. In my childhood and early young adult context, this was not the case outside of educational institutions. All of the MB churches I ever was part of or visited were basically right wing evangelical communities with some unique traditions.* The traditions were great, but I eventually wanted the theology that had been left behind in more ways than one. And this is why I’ve chosen to remain part of a historical Anabaptist denomination (Brethren in Christ) as a church planter.

Yet, as I’ve attempted to demonstrate, it wasn’t as though my faith journey started with such a perspective, rather I’ve been influenced by many Christian traditions. Continue reading “Kurt Willems – If I wasn’t Anabaptist, I’d probably become Anglican – Reflections on an ancient-future faith orientation”

Caius Obeada despre ‘orientarile anabaptiste ale fratelui Iosif Ton’

Dupa ce focul anatemizarilor si blamarilor reciproce s-a mai stins, lucrurile au reintrat in ‘normal’ si a venit, se pare, vremea analizelor. Caius Obeada, care scrie blogul Baptist Midrash. Blog de exegeza baptista, asociat sitului Vox Dei Baptist, isi incearca si el pana analitica intr-un prim articol, care promite sa aiba o continuare. Iata ce spune el in intruducerea la acesta:

Nu este ușor să poți răspunde ”noilor” învățături lansate de fratele Țon frățietății evanghelice române, mai ales frăţietăţii baptiste. În general, este mult mai uşor să ataci persoana decât conţinutul învăţăturilor sale. Cu mare hărnicie în scriere, fratele deja a lansat 7 mesaje pe site-ul dânsului la adresa http://iosif-ton-mesaje.eu/start/ – ca o provocare la studiu și la o înțelegere a direcției pe care o sugerează. Citind primele 4 mesaje am observat tendințele anabaptiste la care fratele ajunge să adere, o orientare a celor pe care fratele îi citează, subliniază și susține. Având în vedere că fratele nu se explică, și nu este chiar deschis în explicarea orientările teologice, un tactician în seminarea noilor învățături, o să fie destul de greu de explicat frățietății abaterile teologice, în contextul doctrinelor baptiste. Continue reading “Caius Obeada despre ‘orientarile anabaptiste ale fratelui Iosif Ton’”

From Bondage to the Desert – 1.7 Christ Against Culture? – 2

1.7.2 ‘Christ Against Culture’ – Value and Limitations

The ‘Christ against culture’ model is a legitimate biblical one that has been used by Christians at different times in history, particularly in moments of great distress or crisis for the Christian community.

Thus, in the fourth century, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, many saintly believers became aware of the danger that the Church, which until that moment had seen herself as a community of pilgrims and strangers in this world, would start to learn the ways of the world and lose her prophetic role. This in fact did happen to a certain extent, in some places more than in others. That is why many of these holy men and women of God withdrew from society (the world) and isolated themselves, most frequently in the deserts of Egypt and Judea, in order to save their souls.

Continue reading “From Bondage to the Desert – 1.7 Christ Against Culture? – 2”

From Bondage to the Desert – 1.7 Christ Against Culture? – 1 A Biblical Theology of Culture

Richard Niebuhr, in Christ and Culture, presents five possible models for the engagement of the church with the surrounding culture. These are:

  • Christ against culture – the Anabaptist model
  • Christ above culture – the Catholic and Orthodox model
  • Christ and culture in paradox – the Lutheran model
  • Christ of culture – the liberal Protestant model
  • Christ transforming culture – the Reformed model

Each of these models has its own strengths and limitations, and each may be more effective in a certain given context and at a certain given time than in others.

Continue reading “From Bondage to the Desert – 1.7 Christ Against Culture? – 1 A Biblical Theology of Culture”