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Source: (consider it) Thread: Are pentecostals anabaptists?
Eutychus
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In addressing a local ecclesiastical spat, this question sprang to mind.

Pentecostals, and even more so charismatics, if they look at all to church history, often look fondly on the anabaptists. Roger Forster is a prime UK example of this. They may well believe they stand in that tradition, or even that they are its direct successors.

It seems to me, however, that many basically have Catholic DNA.

Didn't the Azusa street revival, usually seen as the birthplace of modern Pentecostalism, take place in a Holiness church? Which would have been Methodist in origin? And thus, dissident Anglican? Which in turn is dissident Catholic?

Many Brethren ended up becoming charismatic and establishing the House Church, later New Church movement. But the Brethren were basically dissident Anglicans too.

This pedigree has nothing to do with Anabaptists! In fact I'd make an uninformed guess that worldwide, most pentecostal and charismatic churches have their roots in Anglicanism and not anabaptism.

Is this true?

What might the implications be in terms of assumptions about church government, apostolic succession, and so on?

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Stetson
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As far as I know, it is true that, ancestrally, Pentecostalism comes out of Methodism, which in turn comes out of Anglicanism etc.

But I don't know how far you can take that in terms of making connections about church government etc. To take just one of your examples...

quote:
apostolic succession
Is that even an issue for Pentecostals? Do they sit around worrying about whether the head of, let's say, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies Of God can trace his jurisdictional lineage back to St. Peter? Can't say I've ever been aware of them caring about that sort of thing, Catholic DNA or otherwise.
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mr cheesy
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I used to know a North American historian of the Anabaptists who insisted that British baptists had very little to do with continental anabaptists.

I suspect the truth is that modern groups look back at whoever-they-want-to without having any real connection to those groups.

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leo
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Anabaptists tend to be politically radical - I don't think Pentecostals are much interested in politics.

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Gamaliel
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I knew a former FIEC guy turned restorationist turned Orthodox who considered the 'house-churches' and so on as essentially 'Anabaptist' - but not in a direct line of descent or succession asit were.

Essentially, they were the descendants of 19th century movements which came to echo elements of earlier 'Radical Reformation' groups. But then, those groups originally had Catholic roots too - even if mediated through a few years of Lutheranism or 'Magisterial' Calvinism.

So ultimately, all of us Protestants, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists whatever else - all derive from pre-Reformation Catholicism at however many steps removed ...

Which is one of the reasons why the Orthodox tend to see both Catholics and Protestants as two sides of the same coin.

I was given some grief on these boards once for suggesting that most UK non-conformist churches have Anglicanism in their spiritual DNA.

But it is demonstrably the case in 'succession' terms.

All that said, I think there are few similarities between Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals and 'classic' Anabaptism other than a credo-baptist polity.

However, I do think some of the more 'emergent' and post-evangelical groups are definitely developing a more 'Anabaptist' style ethos and tinge.

So I certainly expert to see some convergence, but at the more moderate end of the Pentecostal spectrum.

Diarmid MacCulloch says that the Pentecostals may yet surprise us, so I'd expect to see them developing in all kinds of directions - some in line with received traditional creedal Christianity and some far less so. We've seen this happening already in Africa and Latin America as well as China and the Far East.

Expect syncretism. Also expect cross-fertilisation with some of the older traditions.

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Sipech
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As you well know, we have Roger as mutual acquaintance, and he will refer as frequently to the Methodists as he does to the Anabaptists.

It's interesting that you use the term 'pedigree', as I often think in terms of the analogy of dog breeding.

As one who is certainly at least ankle-deep in the modern charismatic tradition, I would view it as one that is anything but pedigree. We are utter mongrels. We pick what is good from other traditions and leave out some of the superfluous stuff. So we'll look at the reformed theology of grace, see that it's a good thing and adopt it. But we're happy to leave aside aspects of Calvinism that leave a bitter taste in one's mouth.

We might look at Anglicanism and see a great tradition of art as a form of worship, but we're happy to leave aside unnecessary add-ons such as dressing up in fancy robes.

We'll adopt the discipline of prayer and communal life from various monastic traditions but we'll leave aside some of the over-the-top asceticism.

So there's a little bit of everything in us, and each will have their own emphases. Pedigrees we are not. We don't keep traditions for the sake of keeping them, beautiful though they may be. Because, to stretch the dog analogy a bit, pedigrees can have health problems.

So I'm happy to be an ugly mongrel. A mish-mash of denominations.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

It seems to me, however, that many basically have Catholic DNA.

Didn't the Azusa street revival, usually seen as the birthplace of modern Pentecostalism, take place in a Holiness church? Which would have been Methodist in origin? And thus, dissident Anglican? Which in turn is dissident Catholic?

Yeah, but if you are going to go all six degrees of separation, Anabaptists will 'usually' be dissident catholic by a similar number of steps.
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
apostolic succession
Is that even an issue for Pentecostals?
The idea of "anointed leadership" and "passing on the anointing" very much is.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Yeah, but if you are going to go all six degrees of separation, Anabaptists will 'usually' be dissident catholic by a similar number of steps.

Roger Forster, in a characteristic tour de force, makes a sterling attempt to trace the origins of the anabaptists to before the East-West split.

quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
So I'm happy to be an ugly mongrel. A mish-mash of denominations.

I'm fairly happy to be a mongrel too, but evangelicals in particular frequently suffer from a complete lack of any sense of history.

I surely can't be the only person to have seen a FB photo of someone who has written "Acts 29, the story continues" on the last page of that book in their Bible? Evangelical theology can be a positive invitation to assume one is simply taking up where Luke and the apostles left off, with no intervening church history at all.

Here in France, post-war evangelical missionaries' failure to connect with the historic protestant church (older, for many of them, than their country of origin...) is a tragedy of which the effects are still keenly felt today.

A better understanding of one's roots is, I believe, a great way of relating to others in the present.

[ 27. April 2017, 18:17: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Beeswax Altar
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You are right, Eutychus. Pentecostalism comes out of Methodism which comes out of the Church of England. Not only that, John Wesley was more or less a high churchman.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
apostolic succession
Is that even an issue for Pentecostals?
The idea of "anointed leadership" and "passing on the anointing" very much is.
But I don't think that's the result of some kind of latent view on apostolic succession that suddenly sprang back to life.

That's more of an example of parallel evolution ISTM. In general I don't think institutional memory of the kind your thesis would have to rely on persists in the way you are having to assume it does. People simply don't remember enough in detail that far back to make it work.

I think there are some sorts of ideas that readily spring up from certain readings of scripture - and those tend to get adopted over and over again, and often as a result of those parallel structures being somewhat analogous to something going on in the surroundings.

See an indigenous group I know of that was formed by someone converted by AOG missionaries. Where - many years later - they have a set of annointed leaders, a chief pastor (operating more or less as a pope of their movement), a celibate priesthood, and a system of 'homes' for female and male workers that are similar to convents/monastaries (along with occasional 'reformation' movements when monastic life is thought to have become too 'worldly'). In that case I'm sure the monasticism springs out from the Buddhist context in which they developed - rather than being some kind of long removed institutional memory of the Cistercians.

So, in your anointing example; apprenticeships in the kinds of working class communities liable to give birth to protestant movements - plus a reading of the story of Elijah and Elisha.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
I don't think that's the result of some kind of latent view on apostolic succession that suddenly sprang back to life.

I'm not sure.

Another example I was thinking of - related to the spat mentioned in the OP - was the quite sacramentalist view of believers' baptism in many pentecostal/charismatic circles, at least round these parts. The idea of baptismal regeneration is surprisingly often tied to believers' baptism [Eek!]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Yeah, but if you are going to go all six degrees of separation, Anabaptists will 'usually' be dissident catholic by a similar number of steps.

Roger Forster, in a characteristic tour de force, makes a sterling attempt to trace the origins of the anabaptists to before the East-West split.

I'd have to say I'd put these kinds of claims on par with the naive Baptist claim that their movement went back to John the Baptist, or more seriously to Pentecostal claims that to find predecessors in the Montanists.

Not read Roger Forsters book - however I've read other books that have attempted to make similar claims - which go back at least 150 years or so. I'd argue that what the evidence shows is that similar movements broke out from time to time (the Waldensians being the most prominent pre-Reformation example) but that these groups didn't really influence each other - but simply represented a parallel approach to a powerful centralised church (you can find similar examples in Islam btw) and had very little in common apart from a drive to simplify the faith, a withdrawal from the Church and being treated as heretics by the official hierarchy.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

Another example I was thinking of - related to the spat mentioned in the OP - was the quite sacramentalist view of believers' baptism in many pentecostal/charismatic circles, at least round these parts. The idea of baptismal regeneration is surprisingly often tied to believers' baptism [Eek!]

But then are you really making the claim that a memory of 'baptismal regeneration' was passed down across multiple movements and then re-surfaced many generations later?

I think that human beings tend to be 'sacramental' by nature [As a tangent; this is probably the reason why we were given actual physical rituals to replicate - in spite of the danger of idolatry], and that 'sacramental' thinking tends to resurface especially among people brought up in contexts which explicitly denied it. I can also totally see a charo leader of the 'I read my bible and make up my mind' persuasion read 1 Peter 3:21 (in the KJV - I notice the NIV introduces symbolic language) and decide that they believe in baptismal regeneration.

Something similar happened in the International Churches of Christ movement.

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Eutychus
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I don't think Roger Forster's exposition is available as a book. I have it as a cassette (!) series, and I think you can get it on CD now.

Otherwise the go-to book on anabaptists is I suppose The Reformers and their Stepchildren.

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mr cheesy
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Mennonites (or at least some of them) sometimes like to claim that anabaptism was neither Catholic or Protestant and from the earliest days was as distinct from Luther was it was from Rome.

I suppose one might ask what the early anabaptist movement would have had to have been like if it really was something distinct from the Roman Catholic church and the developing notion of Protestantism. Was it a spontaneous expression of faith or did it carry over beliefs from Roman Catholicism? Were there mass conversions from the RCC and movement from other radical protestant groups?

One one level, it seems obvious that something of Catholicism was inherited, if nothing else the NT canon and various concepts of orthodoxy and heresy. But on another, I think it is possible to see these movements as being "informed" by rather that direct descendants of the existing Christian movements.

In some ways it is easier to see with Quakerism, because "anabaptist" was a phrase that was thrown around about various reformist and radical groups by the church establishment in England - when they may not have been "anabaptists" as were developing on the continent.

George Fox certainly had a lot of influence from various groups in the Midlands when we was growing up, but I don't think he had a lot of personal influence from the Anglicans. It was a messy time when there were lots of groups saying lots of different and radical things. Some of the stuff he said about Rome and Canterbury makes one think that he didn't personally know a whole lot about them. So I think there may be some truth in the idea that the Quaker were a "new" movement with little direct connection to what had gone before.

English Baptists, as far as the historian I used to know said, had a much closer relationship to the Anglican setup than the continental anabaptists - influenced by Bunyan and John Newton rather than Menno Simons.

But then Meno Simons himself was a RCC priest - so I dunno whether this argument really holds a lot of water.

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Al Eluia

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Let's see. Anglicans started out as dissident Catholics, Methodists as dissident Anglicans, the Holiness churches as dissident Methodists. And I suppose Pentecostals are dissident Holiness...ists. That's so many degrees of separation to confirm my experience of Pentecostals as not at all Catholic. Some don't even believe in the Trinity (in the US that would be the United Pentecostal Church). Some wings of Pentecostalism hold to a very hierarchical ecclesiology, though, e.g., the Shepherding movement, which basically reinvented the three-tiered bishop/elder/deacon structure.

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Steve Langton
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AIUI, 'Pentecostalism' had two main roots. One was the idea of 'holiness' in some branches of Methodism, which tended to see a 'baptism of the Spirit' separate from and often later than initial conversion. The other root was a desire to revive 'the gifts' in particular speaking in tongues. These ideas came together in the notion that speaking in tongues could be a sign of the 'baptism of the Spirit/second blessing' experience.

This phenomenon could be found in mainstream churches as well as 'independents', as in the somewhat incoherent 'Irvingite' movement which started in the Church of Scotland, and more recently the strands led by Michael Harper, and by David Watson in York, both Anglicans.

In terms of organisation, many Pentecostalists are similar to Anabaptists in being independent churches, and in practising believer's baptism - but others vary. I think this is mostly the simple fact that those who go 'back to the Bible' generally find there very similar things, and are not necessarily interdependent but make those discoveries independently.

Interestingly the Brethren, the UK's home-grown 19thC Anabaptism, were heavily influenced by the strain of 'Irvingism' which led to the theology of the supposed 'Rapture and Tribulation', but largely rejected the other strain of Irving, the 'Gifts'.

If you're looking for neat links between groups in this area you are likely to be (a) disappointed, and (b) confused.

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Al Eluia

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
AIUI, 'Pentecostalism' had two main roots. One was the idea of 'holiness' in some branches of Methodism, which tended to see a 'baptism of the Spirit' separate from and often later than initial conversion. The other root was a desire to revive 'the gifts' in particular speaking in tongues. These ideas came together in the notion that speaking in tongues could be a sign of the 'baptism of the Spirit/second blessing' experience.

Spot on. As to your second point especially, the segment of Pentecostalism I'm most familiar with put a lot of emphasis on restorationism. And I suppose a lot of Penties would simply say the Holy Spirit founded their movement.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Good post Steve, just to add that Irvingism turned into the highly ritualistic Catholic Apostolic Church in which charismatic gifts became very routinised.

[ 27. April 2017, 23:18: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Michael Harper, and by David Watson in York, both Anglicans.

Harper subsequently left for Orthodoxy.
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Eutychus
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I know all of that, Steve. But the extent to which such churches turned their backs on their historical origins, and in not a few cases reappropriated anabaptist history as their own, had not struck me before.

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Gamaliel
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Interesting thread.

On the baptismal regeneration thing, credo-baptist though I've been, I can't shake off the impression that ANY form of baptism in the early centuries of Christianity - both credo and paedo - was seen in regenerative terms.

I don't see a neat, cut-and-dried division between the two back then - from what I've read. I don't want to start a Dead Horse discussion on that, though.

It seems to me that both were in operation/ran parallel until the time that Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire - and I don't want to start yet another 'Christendom' debate ...

The fact is, even among the historic Churches, credo-baptism still persists in missionary settings or where people have not been baptised/christened as infants.

Did the early Church believe in baptismal regeneration?

It would seem so.

That doesn't mean they saw it in somewhat 'mechanical' terms - but yes, I think human beings are naturally 'sacramental' deep down.

I no longer resist that. I embrace it.

I can certainly see what Sipech and others are saying about the 'mongrel' versus the 'pedigree' thing and about apparent superfluity. But how much superfluity is superfluous? How do we know how much us superfluous and can be jettisoned and how much is useful to retain?

What criteria do we use? Who decides?

Also, how do we avoid a kind of reverse form of Pharisaisism or inverted pride? Aren't we the smart ones? We don't have poncey robes like those Anglicans?

And so on.

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Eutychus
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I have observed that there is a tendency among my more pentecostal/charismatic brethren, unofficially at least, to associate baptism with regeneration (for instance through extempore prayers along the lines of "thank you Lord that (the baptisee) has become a new creation today").

The combination of this observation and the current local ecclesiastical spat - in which total non-recognition of paedobaptism is a factor - contributed to the genesis of this thread.

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I get that ...

The point I'm making is that such a view wouldn't​ appear aberrant to someone from one of the more historic Churches and arguably, it could be said that those Penties were closer in that respect to the old Big C Churches than to Anabaptists or modern credo-baptist evangelicals.

But the whole picture is a mixed one. Wesley believed in baptismal regeneration as well as 'The new birth' in a more 'evangelical' sense at one and the same time.

I'm not suggesting that the Penties have retained a residual element of that in their spiritual DNA in an inherited way from Wesley - I'm simply suggesting, as with Sipech's pedigree / mongrel analogy (with some caveats) that once we start to stir the pond - as has happened over the centuries - things get murky before they settle down again.

Whether they are the clearer for it remains to be seen.

FWIW, I'd far rather a rough and tumble mongrel to a preened and pampered poodle.

But a lot of the 'pedigree' outfits are a lot messier than they might appear from the outside.

By the very nature of how things are going in our more globalised society it is inevitable that there is going to be mixing and matching and selection going on - as per Sipech's pick-and-mix approach.

I think that's quite healthy.

However, it can lead to some muddying of the waters and to things going skewiff. But that's a danger all ways round.

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mr cheesy
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Does it matter? Is the question to do with the extent to which x group is really familiar with the beliefs of y group they say that they are spiritual descendants from?

I'm puzzled by why a charismatic group would want to claim that they're somehow related to anabaptists - but it might just be that a leader has read a few things about them and has said that the ideas resonate. Not sure I see any problem with that.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, I get that ...

The point I'm making is that such a view wouldn't​ appear aberrant to someone from one of the more historic Churches

It does when from the point of view of a paedo-baptist church one of their (former) own is being "rebaptised" - a common occurrence here in France.

My own church is credo-baptist in practice but no longer requires believers' baptism as a condition of membership. We would baptise someone baptised as an infant at their request if they felt it made sense at that point in their spiritual journey, and I'd invoke the sort of principles we see in play with Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist. I'm a pragmatist, not a sacramentalist.

I've previously presented such an event as a confirmation of an infant baptism to a doubtful Catholic family member (successfully). I understand such a "confirmation" baptism is even possible in the Catholic church.

I don't think much of this would go down well with most Pentecostals/Charismatics.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:


I've previously presented such an event as a confirmation of an infant baptism to a doubtful Catholic family member (successfully). I understand such a "confirmation" baptism is even possible in the Catholic church.

I've witnessed it in Anglican settings too - prefaced with the words "this is not a baptism, we're just fully immersing this person in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit"..

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm puzzled by why a charismatic group would want to claim that they're somehow related to anabaptists

I don't want to get too much into local specifics here, but in the case that led to the OP it was not a claim but more of an accusation.

The pastor of a historic protestant church tarred a pentecostal church with the anabaptist brush following an implicit claim by the latter to the Huguenot ecclesiastical heritage.

My musings were that while the pentecostals were definitely not Huguenots by any stretch of the imagination, they weren't really anabaptists either.

Evangelicals here tend to be "protestant" when it suits them and "evangelical" when it doesn't.

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mr cheesy
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Oh I see.

The use of "anabaptist" as a term of abuse has a long pedigree. I'd certainly wear it with pride if it was hurled at me.

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Eutychus
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You might be less proud if it was in response to attempted "ecclesiastical appropriation" on your part.

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mr cheesy
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Not sure what that means or why it is a problem. I appropriate anything I feel like appropriating [Smile]

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Eutychus
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It's a problem if a twentieth-century denomination arrives in a country and lays claim to a centuries-old, persecution-rich heritage of indigenous Christians, even more so if it projects itself as having a monopoly on that heritage to the exclusion of more legitimate claimants.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
It's a problem if a twentieth-century denomination arrives in a country and lays claim to a centuries-old, persecution-rich heritage of indigenous Christians, even more so if it projects itself as having a monopoly on that heritage to the exclusion of more legitimate claimants.

Meh, I don't know if even that's really a problem. I don't know what the rules are in France regarding imported forms of religion (maybe there is something about registration with the state or something) but it's hardly difficult to find people making unsustainable claims about their group and downplaying others.

Are they trying to muscle into forms of funding that are only available to Huguenots? Trying to force more long-established denominations out from umbrella groups so they can take over?

If not, I struggle to see the problem. Best to just ignore them.

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beatmenace
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I fished out the Mennonite Brethren's 12 principles of Anabaptism , and i think that Modern Pentecostalism might struggle with some of these

http://www.usmb.org/menus/the-12-principles-of-anabaptism.html

However i can see the so called 'emergent' church groups meshing with the servanthood , non violence, classlessness and rejection of the authority of the state aspects of Anabaptism far better than Pentecostals (a lot of whom liked Trump) - particularly at the extremes (Anabaptist simplicity of life verses the the Prosperity wing.....not part of the same animal at all).

[ 28. April 2017, 11:57: Message edited by: beatmenace ]

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Eutychus
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mr cheesy: I think you have some sort of connection with the Grace Baptists, don't you?

Supposing your local raving Arminian pentecostal church unilaterally put on an exhibition about historic "Protestant martyrs" with the insinuation that they were the only church in the neighbourhood to be standing in that glorious tradition to the exclusion of everyone else.

Can you really not conceive of the local Grace Baptist congregation being a bit upset, and understandably so?

[ 28. April 2017, 12:01: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by beatmenace:
(Anabaptist simplicity of life verses the the Prosperity wing.....not part of the same animal at all).

Mennonites have done some weird things though. See the colonies in South America, collaboration with the Nazis in Germany, etc and so on.

Of course they're hardly unique in that, but it seems that having a historic peace church history is no particular protection against the lure of the hyper-conservative politician.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
mr cheesy: I think you have some sort of connection with the Grace Baptists, don't you?

Supposing your local raving Arminian pentecostal church unilaterally put on an exhibition about historic "Protestant martyrs" with the insinuation that they were the only church in the neighbourhood to be standing in that glorious tradition to the exclusion of everyone else.

Can you really not conceive of the local Grace Baptist congregation being a bit upset, and understandably so?

I don't think they would, actually. I think they'd most likely consider such professions as being lies which are only to be expected from churches which are obviously puppets of Satan.

Of course it varies, but some of the most conservative baptist groups and denominations already have a very low impression of other Christian groups and are already more-or-less exclusively communicating with like-minded groups.

btw, I know of Grace Baptists from the past, I wouldn't say that I have any particular personal connection with them at the moment.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I doubt if many Pentecostals would have heard of the Anabaptists ... Mind you, I think that many Christians today have little knowledge of their spiritual ancestry.
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
I doubt if many Pentecostals would have heard of the Anabaptists ... Mind you, I think that many Christians today have little knowledge of their spiritual ancestry.

Yeah, and this is precisely why I have doubts of the kind of 'trail of blood' style theories laid out above of theological transmission across multiple centuries, generations and schisms.

What is more likely is either parallel evolution - or a particular minister/theologian stumbling on some literature from the past without the surrounding context (John Zizioulas suddenly became popular among a number of new church movements a few years back).

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Gamaliel
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Ok, I understand what's happening now. The Penties are baptising converts from French Reformed backgrounds.

Why didn't you say so before?

Mystery solved ...

Because all the local French Reformed chap is saying is that they are 're-baptisers' -which the perjorative term 'Anabaptist' meant in the first instance. 'Look, Monsieur Calvin, these religious enthusiasts are baptising people who have already been baptised ... Zut alors!'

My guess would be that the Reformed pastor isn't making any theological or historical connection between the Pentecostals and the 16th century Anabaptists other than to highlight a parallel between their credo-baptist polities ...

That would be given added piquancy and offence if the Penties were using language reminiscent of baptismal regeneration - as it appears they have been doing.

'Hang on, we got there first ...'

Back in the day I remember how the restorationists would pick up on whatever heritage there might be of revivalist or enthusiastic religion in places where they were pioneering or planting new churches.

There'd even be 'prophecies' to that effect. 'For just as my servant [insert name of revivalist] worked to see revival here in his day, so my Spirit shall be poured out in place and many shall come to know ... Yadda yadda yadda ...'

I'd be a wealthy man if I had a fiver for every putative prophecy of that kind I'd heard.

I can't speak for the 'classic' Penties but the restorationist 'new churches' and folk like the Vineyard tended to have a smattering of knowledge of church history - or at least the apparently spectacular bits.

With some of them it even extended to 'spiritual warfare' type beliefs and practices connected with apparent 'curses' or spiritual blockages supposedly connected with historic events - be it Bede's story of the massacre of Celtic monks at the Battle of Chester or even - in one instance I heard - battles from the Wars of The Roses. I heard a Vineyard guy from St Albans declare that there was spiritual darkness over the town as a result of their being two Wars of The Roses battles there in the 15th century.

Somehow, by prayer and fasting, these 'strongholds' had been broken and God was now pouring out his Spirit.

What a load of baloney.

It simply illustrates that enthusiastic groups of this kind are highly eclectic and take whatever they want from history, from a selective reading of the scriptures and from a smorgasbord of favourite practices from hither and yon and bung them all together in some kind of incoherent mush.

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Dark Knight

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I'm Pentecostal. The OP seems to be about the roots of the phenomenon, rather than current practice. I was christened in the Anglican Church, but my Mum joined the Penties not long after my Dad's death, and it was expected that I would be baptised "properly" when I came of age. I did that when I was 13, from memory. So - in terms of actual practice, I was re-baptised, and in that sense an anabaptist.
I've actually written quite a few things about Pentecostalism, and I think trying to trace its roots are far from simple. Certainly the Holiness movement is one of the largest contingencies that lead to its origin, but Azusa Street is not the only origin anyway - there are Pentecostal denominations that also trace their origins to the Welsh Revival, John Alexander Dowie's Zion City, and Edward Irving and the Catholic Apostolic Church. Also, the influence of African American spirituality, particularly the remnants of vodun practices from East Africa, is very significant. One of the best introductions (still) on this whole thing is Walter Hollenweger's 1997 text, which you can find out more about here. He is helpful in tracing a number of "roots" of the movement, including Holiness, Catholicism, and what he calls the "Black Oral" root.

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Eutychus
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Not many Mennonites or Baptists in your list, are there, Dark Knight?

Yes, my musings were about the roots of Pentecostalism and about how they might affect self-perception in unexpected ways.

Some people seem to think it's all just rediscovering bits of the bible for the first time or a joyous hotchpotch of bits and bobs from all over. Of course there's no way of telling, but I persist in the notion that denominations are better off coming to terms with their history and affirming it than they are pretending to be something else altogether - which, contra Gamaliel, is the real issue here locally (see here).

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Of course there's no way of telling, but I persist in the notion that denominations are better off coming to terms with their history and affirming it

There's an easy way of see if this is true, start asking people, find out how much of the history of their movement they know.

In general I find that people - unless they take a particular interest in it - tend to lack knowledge about everything that went previously, especially when there have been breaks in tradition either due to schisms (and people in past generations not talking about such things) or ancestors who were only nominally attached to a particular tradition.

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Dark Knight

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Not many Mennonites or Baptists in your list, are there, Dark Knight?

Yes, my musings were about the roots of Pentecostalism and about how they might affect self-perception in unexpected ways.

Some people seem to think it's all just rediscovering bits of the bible for the first time or a joyous hotchpotch of bits and bobs from all over. Of course there's no way of telling, but I persist in the notion that denominations are better off coming to terms with their history and affirming it than they are pretending to be something else altogether - which, contra Gamaliel, is the real issue here locally (see here).

I would say one of the frustrating things I find in this regard is that many of my Pentecostal sisters and brothers are not only anti-intellectual, but not particularly interested in the history of Christianity, and their own position in that history. That is not everyone (despite Baptist Trainfan's rather sweeping statement), but it does mean that at times any hint of scholarly critique or historical reflection is viewed with suspicion. I think it is related to the view that this "Latter Rain" is the final outpouring of God upon the Earth, and that all of the previous iterations didn't manage to get it done, and are therefore suspect. It does mean that people are a lot more vulnerable to ideas and paradigms (such as naive literalism, which irritates me to distraction) than they need to be, because they are unaware of the history of thought and reflection that has come before - ignorant, that is to say, of tradition.

Personally, I think Pentecostals are sacramentally located in the Zwinglian tradition, wherein the (two) sacraments are symbolic, not bearers of the real presence of Christ (re the Eucharist) or regeneration (a la baptism). So, there are connections to the Anabaptist roots, but probably through shared common traditions, rather than a direct relationship between the Anabaptists and Pentecostalism.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
There's an easy way of see if this is true, start asking people, find out how much of the history of their movement they know.

I disagree.

I agree with Dark Knight that newer denominations are mostly ignorant of their history, and agree largely with the reasons he gives.

However, just because you are ignorant of your history doesn't mean that bits of it can't filter down an organisational culture over the generations.

And if when all's said and done Pentecostals are pretty much functionally, if not historically, anabaptists, it does indeed make any simultaneous bid by them to exercise a monopoloy on the legacy of historic, local protestantism ring a bit hollow.

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Gamaliel
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The point I was trying to make wasn't dissimilar to that, Eutychus - nor to the points Dark Knight was making - but I did express them clumsily and was probably a piano in the neck.

Sorry.

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mr cheesy
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I think it is a tad extreme to say that an organisation which practices baptism of people who are already baptised are anabaptists.

Obviously they are in the strict technical meaning of the word, but also fairly obviously anabaptist as a thing has grown into a fairly well established collection of beliefs that it would be very hard to show that a pentecostal church had.

No disrespect intended to Pentecostals or Mennonites/Anabaptists, but it is fairly clear that they're only superficially the same thing.

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Gamaliel
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Sure, which is what makes me think that the Reformed pastor was making a superficial comparison. The Pentecostals were being just as superficial by laying claim to inheriting the Huguenot mantle.

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Eutychus
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Yes, anabaptists was definitely a jibe, complete with references to Münster. But the provocation was extreme...

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