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Source: (consider it) Thread: Are pentecostals anabaptists?
mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

To me a person who accepts the Bible as the ultimate authority is a 'Bible-believer' - and if two such 'Bible-believers' disagree we discuss it and try to work out not so much 'who is right' but 'what does the Bible actually say'.

Those who are not 'Bible believers' are the kinds of people I referred to in an earlier post - those who add the authority of an institutional Church to the authority of the Bible by claiming that the institution has some special interpretative competence and authority, and those who clearly don't believe the Bible as ultimate but essentially make up the faith to suit themselves - the "would 'our Jesus' have said that?" kind of people who are essentially telling the Bible what they think it should have said.

You are quite delusional. There are many groups who are not "for" the institutional church and which claim to be based on the bible and yet get to completely different and contradictory positions.

To take two random examples: Strict and Particular Baptists and Amish. They're almost totally different and would not recognise each other as Christian.

To say that you can measure who you are close to theologically by their attitude to church-state is quite wrong. You are utterly delusional.

quote:
I should point out that modern Anabaptists don't just hang on to all their traditions. Indeed Mennonite mission in the UK - which I have some involvement with - consciously recognised that not all their traditions might be useful, and instead of planting Mennonite Churches as yet another competing 'denomination', set up a 'Centre' - currently based in Birmingham - to share Mennonite/Anabaptist ideas with anyone who's interested, in parallel with a UK home-grown 'Anabaptist Network' which has people in most UK churches - our local group includes RCs and Anglicans as well as people from the already somewhat Anabaptist-like groupings.
Nobody cares about the Mennonite groups in the UK who can barely get enough people together to have an enjoyable dinner party and who have never ever ever had and strong historical links with the continental Mennonites or the various groups which spawned from them in North America. Your whole notion is bogus: you've created a religion you want to believe in and then you're using it as a measure against which you're measuring everyone else.

You know zip all about the North American Mennonites - who have considerable variation in the theology about issues you think are cut-and-dried - and nothing about the existing Mennonites in Europe. In fact, I don't think you know anything worth knowing about the anabaptists, period - because you never bother to actually do any study beyond opening a book and establishing from the first page that you either (a) already know more than the author or (b) it is obviously complete garbage.

quote:
'Anabaptist' is not about doing things because they are Anabaptist - it is about faithfulness to Scripture even if we find that means junking some of the traditions.
That's utter garbage. The Anabaptist and Mennonite tradition is a particular way to understand scripture. Within which there is a lot of variation in ideas.

To make the claim that this is the only possible way to truly understand scripture just shows how stupid you are.

And to claim that you're somehow a professor. No.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:


This isn't anything to do with being an 'aspie' or an 'absent-minded professor.' It's to do with logic and with internal contradictions within your argument.

The hilarious part of this is that the Mennonites have been tearing themselves apart on various Dead Horse issues that Steve Langton thinks are obvious.

Funny that, even his own professed tradition can't instantly agree the ideas he claims are as obvious as the nose on the face.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
"This is how it looks to me - if you think I'm wrong please show me...."

People are showing you.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
To say that you can measure who you are close to theologically by their attitude to church-state is quite wrong. You are utterly delusional.
I said no such thing - end of argument.

Reality is that on most issues I do 'mere Christianity' - the common ground of most Christians till comparatively recently. And I consider that 'mere Christianity' far more important than the church and state issue. Nevertheless the church and state issue has massive practical importance especially in a world many of whose problems are another state religion, Islam.

And for example I am a lot closer theologically to traditional Anglicans - with whom I disagree about Church and State - than to Jehovah's Witnesses with whom I would largely agree about church/state matters. And I frequently work with Anglicans and others.

What I did say was that in the case of Orthodox and RCC, who make a claim to special competence and authority in biblical interpretation, their very emphatic involvement in the state church from the time of Constantine onwards very much militates against that claim to special authority - if they could get that one wrong to the tune of so many needless deaths over centuries in Crusades, Inquisitions and holy wars, and so many cases of Christians being led to believe they were right to kill in the name of Jesus, their claim to special authority is not merely worthless, it has totally negative worth.

Yet they still, of course, get most of the 'mere Christianity' right, and so I am still able to regard most Orthodox and RC as fellow Christians and derive benefit from many of their thinkers - though more perhaps from RCs than Orthodox....

My approach is to say
1) what does the Bible say? The Bible as a whole and 'according to the literal sense' as Tyndale and the Reformers applied it. NOT in a 'dumb wooden literal' style because quite simply that's not how language in general works anyway.

2)It's then a case of "This is how I see it so far; this is why in biblical terms; if you think I'm wrong show me how and why...." And that is exactly what you're not doing....

Like many modern evangelicals I sit light to denominational distinctions precisely because the 'mere Christianity' is more important that the denominational distinctives that often don't have a biblical origin anyway. Why do you apparently see that as a problem?

As for "And to claim that you're somehow a professor. No."

Again, I said no such thing. I merely referred, as you should have realised, to the common description of AS as 'absent-minded-professor syndrome'. If you're so stupid as to try to portray that as me 'claiming to be somehow a professor'....

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mr cheesy
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Yeah. Mere Christianity.

Near Christianity more like.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:


Like many modern evangelicals I sit light to denominational distinctions precisely because the 'mere Christianity' is more important that the denominational distinctives that often don't have a biblical origin anyway. Why do you apparently see that as a problem?


Many Mennonites say that they're not bloody Protestants, never mind Evangelicals. How hard is that to understand?

Why should anyone care about your stupid self-created measure of what is or isn't an Evangelical - given it includes people who say that they're not evangelicals?

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
Nobody cares about the Mennonite groups in the UK who can barely get enough people together to have an enjoyable dinner party and who have never ever ever had and (?'any'? SL) strong historical links with the continental Mennonites or the various groups which spawned from them in North America.
It is rather in the nature of the case that if Mennonite mission has been conducted as I described there are not all that many Mennonites as such in the UK - though those in the few actual officially Mennonite churches could have a very large dinner party.

The said Mennonite missions have been run from the US and Canada by North American Mennonites and I know several of them personally, including Mike and Cheryl Nimz who run the Birmingham centre. One of the results of the Mennonite style of mission has been the UK Anabaptist Network which has considerable links with the Mennonites elsewhere and also with related groups like the Hutterites. And certainly my local group is pretty well read in both modern and older Mennonite theology and spirituality.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
Many Mennonites say that they're not bloody Protestants, never mind Evangelicals. How hard is that to understand?
Anabaptists do indeed represent a different way to both Catholics and to the Lutheran/Reformed/Anglican and similar Protestants. And indeed in the past were persecuted by many Protestants. And would also wish to be distinguished from much in the US that calls itself 'Evangelical'. I'm well aware of this. How hard is it for you to understand that some interesting new things are happening nowadays? And are about a lot more people than just Steve Langton.
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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Yeah. Mere Christianity.

Near Christianity more like.

You'll have to take that one up with C S Lewis....
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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Reality is that on most issues I do 'mere Christianity' - the common ground of most Christians till comparatively recently.

This assertion (the second part) simply isn't true.

The common ground of most Christians was, and remains, the acceptance of the ancient creeds and the collegiate interpretation of the Bible past and present. This is a pretty much uncontentious statement: the majority of Christians are members of the ancient Orthodox and Catholic churches, and their reformed off-shoots.

It is the non-episcopal protestant churches which are furthest from the common ground of Christianity.

Whether the common ground of Christianity is the correct place to stand is a different argument.

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Gamaliel
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Lewis borrowed the term from Baxter, of course, who was nothing if not eirenic.

Fair enough.

Meanwhile, I'm sure there's plenty of new and interesting stuff going on in contemporary Mennonite thought. I'd be interested in hearing it.

What I'm less interested in hearing are the same arguments you've trotted out a million times on your hobby-horses.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Anabaptists do indeed represent a different way to both Catholics and to the Lutheran/Reformed/Anglican and similar Protestants. And indeed in the past were persecuted by many Protestants. And would also wish to be distinguished from much in the US that calls itself 'Evangelical'. I'm well aware of this. How hard is it for you to understand that some interesting new things are happening nowadays? And are about a lot more people than just Steve Langton.

As it happens, I know quite a few Mennonites and quite a few other Anabaptists, and I can state without contradiction that your ideas are quite different to theirs - to the extent that you are a total outlier with respect to contemporary anabaptist thought. You don't even represent accurately the thing you are representing, never mind any other the other things you guff about.

Yes, I am fully aware that a small number of North American Mennonites have been involved in the Anabaptist network in the UK and the Mennonite Centre. Neither of these mean that you, as a member of the UK Anabaptist Network who happens to know them and happens has the slightest clue about the breadth of opinion within North American Mennonites, never mind the Church of the Brethren, the (various kinds of) Amish, Hutterites etc that exist in North America but don't get involved in sending workers via the Mennonite Central Committee.

That is all stating the obvious, Steve.

You're full of shite and not only have you derailed a thread because it happened to have "anabaptist" in the title, you've managed to spill a whole load of nonsense on this thread in the usual way that you mistake for constructive argument.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Meanwhile, I'm sure there's plenty of new and interesting stuff going on in contemporary Mennonite thought. I'd be interested in hearing it.

There seems (as far as I can tell from this distance) to be some interesting developments regarding LGBT people in various of the Mennonite denominations.

Of course there are various conservative denominations amongst the broad Mennonite tradition too, but there seems to be some real struggling to get to grips with issues of sexuality in some of the groups.

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mr cheesy
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Sorry, I didn't mean to post that without finishing -

There have been quite a lot of controversy about "what it means to be Mennonite" and the legacy of John Howard Yoder (not in a good way) - and I think genuinely some serious talk amongst some about how to relate to the secular powers.

Some seem to have become anarchists from the anabaptist/mennonite fold - and seem to have issues with all forms of authority including the police - not just because of bad things that police do but because they're agents of the state and are therefore ungodly.

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mr cheesy
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Anyway, this is a long way from Pentecostals in France. It seems highly unlikely that they're (even if they're claiming to be anabaptists, which I'm still not clear that they are) really taking cues from the Mennonite or Anabaptist tradition in North America or even France.

But then if they're claiming to be inheritors of the Reformed tradition, I wonder to what extent that they're really getting to grips with classical Reformed theology and practice in France and/or more recent theological innovations in the Reformed movement as a whole.

I suspect neither. I'd guess that they're mostly going to be taking cues from other Pentecostalists rather than either of these other traditions, so claims to be inheritors of the Huguenot tradition or the Anabaptist tradition are mostly moot.

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Steve Langton
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Simply to avoid further 'derailment' by the determination of others to personally attack me, I'm out of this thread.

Just two points;
1) I am NOT a Mennonite and do not claim in any formal way to 'represent' them. That should save a lot of wasted time in any future attacks on me. I do regard myself as being within the broad Anabaptist movement as sharing key ideas like separation from the state and pacifism. I do seem to be broadly in line with thinkers like Menno Simons and Michael Sattler the prime author of the Anabaptist 'Schleitheim Confession'. I'm perhaps somewhat less in line with some later developments - but in some cases it seems the Mennonites themselves are going back to the older thinking too.

Doc Tor - Who says I don't accept the 'ancient creeds'? But they of course were intended to express biblical truth. And until recently that biblical truth was the 'common ground' despite the aberrations of Orthodox, RCC and such as the Anglicans. (In a thread some months back it was asked how many of the Anglicans' 39 Articles people believed - I seem to recall I probably believed more than most of the Anglicans contributing...). I wouldn't have great difficulty with the Westminster Confession and its offshoots either.

As I'm frequently pointing out to people worried by denominational variety, Christians largely agree on a huge amount of common belief - at least until the recent liberal inroads. The differences are relatively on the fringes, though of course an added unbiblical difference that causes people to go on Crusades or run Inquisitions and burn people at the stake is very important and needs dealing with!

As I identify it from various churches' confessions, the differences outside 'Mere Christianity' concern how the church should be governed, how it relates to the state, credo-baptism vs paedo-baptism, and some ideas about Communion/Mass.

Collegiate interpretation - yes, basically. But note that post-Constantine a lot of bets are off, so to speak, because the Constantinian state Church has been massively redefined compared to the original. A majority based on a 'Christian' state with compulsory belief enforced by Inquisition is a very different thing to a najority of a church independent of the state which people only join if they think the beliefs are so important as to be worth the risk of persecution.

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Doc Tor
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I'm not saying you don't accept the ancient creeds or collegiate interpretation of doctrine. I'm saying that's not what you said was the common ground of Christianity.

If you want to row back on that, that would be welcome.

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Gamaliel
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The state Church was persecuted in Soviet Russia and its satellites just as much as the non-state churches.

Again, you paint with a very broad brush.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

1) I am NOT a Mennonite and do not claim in any formal way to 'represent' them. That should save a lot of wasted time in any future attacks on me. I do regard myself as being within the broad Anabaptist movement as sharing key ideas like separation from the state and pacifism. I do seem to be broadly in line with thinkers like Menno Simons and Michael Sattler the prime author of the Anabaptist 'Schleitheim Confession'. I'm perhaps somewhat less in line with some later developments - but in some cases it seems the Mennonites themselves are going back to the older thinking too.

<snip>

As I'm frequently pointing out to people worried by denominational variety, Christians largely agree on a huge amount of common belief - at least until the recent liberal inroads. The differences are relatively on the fringes, though of course an added unbiblical difference that causes people to go on Crusades or run Inquisitions and burn people at the stake is very important and needs dealing with!

As I identify it from various churches' confessions, the differences outside 'Mere Christianity' concern how the church should be governed, how it relates to the state, credo-baptism vs paedo-baptism, and some ideas about Communion/Mass.

And there's the rub, Steve. Your theology isn't Mennonite, it isn't anything other than something you've created for yourself. It has no basis in any existing tradition, it isn't informed by any identifiable branch of Christianity and basically amounts to you declaring certain things are correct and expecting others to engage/debate with you on that level.

You are utterly wrong in every respect of the above. Wrong to say that there are no significant differences between churches, wrong to say that the difference between the "biblical" and the "unbiblical" is clear and obvious, wrong to say that Mere Christianity as a thing exists anywhere outside of your head.

The sum of your theology is that the "church-state is bad", and you can't compute anything outside of it. You pick and choose between varied churches and theologies based on that criteria and then are surprised when others suggest that things might be a tad more complicated than you're suggesting.

Nobody cares. Get a blog, then we can all ignore it.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
I'm not saying you don't accept the ancient creeds or collegiate interpretation of doctrine. I'm saying that's not what you said was the common ground of Christianity.

If you want to row back on that, that would be welcome.

It's pretty disingenuous for those who practice the baptism of persons who are already baptised to say that they believe in the "One baptism for the forgiveness of sins".

The only available options are (a) that they don't believe in the creed (b) that they've reinterpreted the text to mean that their baptism is the real one (as opposed to that fake other one) or (c) that there is some other "baptism of the Holy Spirit" which is the Real Thing.

But, as seems pretty obvious, there is little point in saying that one Believes in the Historic Creeds if in practice one believes in (b) or (c) in such a way as to exclude the majority of people who regularly recite the creeds.

Because that's like saying "I'm a member of the human race - look I have a belly button... but wait, mine was given to me by the fairies and only it is the authentic type of belly button and the one that you all have is a fake.."

[ 03. May 2017, 06:50: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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I think you have put your finger on two real points here - at least for Baptists and Anabaptists (and others such as Pentecostalists who follow their baptismal practice.

For many of them would take a position which at least approximates to your point (b). They wouldn't say that infant baptism is "fake" but that it is "misguided" in that, they would say, infants are not the "proper" subjects for baptism - and, if this goes across large parts of church tradition, then so be it! You will appreciate that this causes difficulty in some ecumenical situations, however cleverly some Baptist theologians have tried to reconcile the two positions.

They would say that their belief is particularly cogent in "State Church" situations where it is the norm for folk who usually play no part in church life to have their children baptised. Possibly their case is less strong in places such as today's Britain where many or most people who choose to have their child baptised are indeed active Christians.

The other point where Baptists (and, I suspect, many evangelicals in general) struggle is with the phrase "for the forgiveness of sins" as this appears to imply that baptism is in itself regenerative. We would say that it is an outward sign of an inner spiritual transaction which gas already taken place - though increasingly it is also being regarded a a means of grace which confers some kind of (undefined) "blessing".

Dead Horses here we come?

[ 03. May 2017, 07:51: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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mr cheesy
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I don't think evangelicals in general or Baptist evangelicals in particular are creedal. The only way they can say that they agree with the Historic Creeds is by reinterpreting them.

But then, to be fair, I disagree with the Doc above, I don't think the mark of Christianity is solely by assenting to the creeds. I'm not sure this has been true for a very long time.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Historically, Baptists (and Independents) were strongly anti-credal - even today the Baptist Union of Great Britain has no more than a "Statement of Principle", and I had a gentleman in my last church who was opposed on principle to including Creeds in services.

However many Baptist churches today have swung to the opposite extreme and adhere to detailed "Statements of Faith".

Many years ago I was at a Churches Together Forum where the "keynote speaker" was George Carey, then ++Cantuar. In his address he suggested that, as trying to group Christians together around a common Eucharist had proved impossible, we should group around a united baptism instead. Cue apoplexy among Baptists and Salvationists, among others, and the burning of much midnight oil to produce a statement that would show the Archbishop the eimpossibility of his suggestion!

[ 03. May 2017, 08:46: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:

However many Baptist churches today have swung to the opposite extreme and adhere to detailed "Statements of Faith".

True - they're clearly creedal in the sense of needing to believe an agreed bunch of prepositions, they're non-creedal in terms of the historic creeds.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Correct. And I wonder if one of the reasons they could be non-credal was that, in fact, they knew they shared the same set of beliefs and so never needed to affirm them.
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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But then, to be fair, I disagree with the Doc above, I don't think the mark of Christianity is solely by assenting to the creeds. I'm not sure this has been true for a very long time.

Not perhaps in western protestant churches.

But Anglican churches, Catholic churches and Orthodox churches, certainly. Assenting to the creeds is still a critical part of the apostolic faith.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Not perhaps in western protestant churches.

But Anglican churches, Catholic churches and Orthodox churches, certainly. Assenting to the creeds is still a critical part of the apostolic faith.

Well yes, obvs. I think the interesting question is how far back non-creedal Christianity goes. In the sense of "I'm rejecting the historic creeds and am inserting my own" it goes back as far as the reformation. But I think there is some evidence that it goes back a lot further too.

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Gamaliel
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Well, sure, the Arians didn't accept the Nicene Creed ...

There were people before the historic creeds were formulated who wouldn't have agreed/signed up for them. And let's be honest, Nicea was a close-run thing ...

That doesn't mean that we have to see all fringe, break-away or non-credal groupings throughout history as some kind of proto-Protestants or proto-Anabaptists ...

That was the mistake E H Broadbent made in 'The Pilgrim Church'. Anything that lay outside the purlieu of Rome or one of the Eastern Patriarchates - I'm not sure he dealt with the 'Oriental Orthodox' - was seen as somehow legitimate for that very reason.

They had broken away from Rome or Orthodoxy - therefore they must have been ok - however eccentric or 'out-there' their beliefs actually were ...

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well, sure, the Arians didn't accept the Nicene Creed ...

There were people before the historic creeds were formulated who wouldn't have agreed/signed up for them. And let's be honest, Nicea was a close-run thing ...

That doesn't mean that we have to see all fringe, break-away or non-credal groupings throughout history as some kind of proto-Protestants or proto-Anabaptists ...

No, true. I suppose I'm still of the opinion that there was always a strand of Christianity that stood outside of the idea of bolting things down into creeds and yet didn't slip into extreme heretical positions. Of course, I can understand that this might seem like a contradiction in terms.

Whilst it is obviously true that if one goes back a thousand years there was only "the church" (moreorless) but I still think there was more diversity with respect to things like acceptance of the creed than some allow.

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Gamaliel
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Of course, and the rank and file wouldn't have had much idea of theology or creeds but simply gone on what they heard in sermons (the Mass itself being in Latin in the West) or saw in Mystery Plays or depicted on tympanum and so forth ...

There are some tantalising hints of people privately not even believing in God at all - from some 14th century letters and accounts that historians have found ...

I don't imagine for one minute that everyone who recites the Creed in an RC, Orthodox or Anglican setting necessarily does so with complete and utter conviction.

The Creeds are there as a framework or guideline.

I'm not quite at Frankie Schaeffer's 'Christian Atheism' stage but I can see what he's getting at - 'I love my wife some days, other days I fight with her - but she's still my wife'.

Everything is messier than it looks.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Everything is messier than it looks.

Yes but that's quite a problem if the measure of Christianity is acceptance of the historic creeds.

The irony of course being that those who reject the historic creeds often seem to hold much tighter to whatever rules they've created to replace them.

tbh, I think there is something noble about writing down what you believe and sticking to it. My problem (with Steve above) is not about that urge but with the next step (ie then using one's personal creed as a universal measure of rightness to assess everyone else).

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

tbh, I think there is something noble about writing down what you believe and sticking to it. My problem (with Steve above) is not about that urge but with the next step (ie then using one's personal creed as a universal measure of rightness to assess everyone else).

But then that seems to be a feature of the topic raised in the OP; one church wants to assert its "rightness" by referencing historical martyrs (heroes, elders - I'm not sure exactly) that have some resonance in the French Protestant context. Another take exception to being excluded from this self-designation and call the first church a name - which has a historical context in another tradition which may (or probably does not) have anything to do with it at all.

Steve Langdon has a shopping list of "biblical" features he uses to assess whether any of these groups meet his standards. Doc Tor uses the Historic Creeds. The Baptists/Independents use their own statements of faith.

All of these things are drawing lines in different places, which are often going to be contradictory.

Are pentecostals anabaptists and/or true descendants of the Huguenots? Depends who you ask and what standards they're using.

Does it really matter?

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Baptist Trainfan
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To me, no. To those who regard a traceable line of descent in order to give a group legitimacy, it matters a lot.

Trouble is, that line is rarely clear, after a generation or two. For instance, one could say that the Pentecostals were sired by the Holiness Movement which was sired by Methodism. That's largely true of the 1900-1920 period - although even then it may ignore the African-American input and definitely fails to recognise the influence of groups as diverse as the Brethren, the Catholic Apostolics and the Anglicans (in Britain), never mind any Scandinavian input, however unconscious, from people like T.B. Barratt.

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Gamaliel
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Sure, and I think that's a very good point, Baptist Trainfan.

I think what's so toxic about the instance Eutychus cites is that the Pentecostals are apparently saying to the Reformed, 'You've lost the plot ... we are a lot closer to the Huguenots than you-oo-uu ...'

Na na na na nah ... ooh la la la la ...

Which in turn gets an understandable reaction - and possible over-reaction from the Reformed ...

'What? You cannot claim such a thing ... if anything you are closer to those Anabaptist nutters over in Munster all those years ago ...'

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Baptist Trainfan
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Quite. [Big Grin]
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

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.

The non-acceptance of paedobaptism is the historical norm (since you're talking about history) for certain groups of Christians. I don't see any point in other groups of Christians being offended by that, any more than they should be offended by not being allowed to share in communion at a RC church, for example. It is what it is.

The French problem, ISTM, is that individuals are presenting themselves for believer's baptism at newer churches because for some reason they don't wish to attend the traditional churches into which they were baptised as babies (or not without some special ceremony that rather looks like a believer's baptism!) Why not? This is surely the primary issue which needs to be addressed by those in the traditional churches.

Otherwise, ecumenical togetherness often happens as newer church movements become well-established and begin to experience the phenomena of upward mobility, accommodation to the wider religious and theological environment, and stagnation or decline. If the new French Protestant churches haven't seriously started to move in this direction yet I imagine it's only a matter of time.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:


The French problem, ISTM, is that individuals are presenting themselves for believer's baptism at newer churches because for some reason they don't wish to attend the traditional churches into which they were baptised as babies (or not without some special ceremony that rather looks like a believer's baptism!) Why not? This is surely the primary issue which needs to be addressed by those in the traditional churches.

What a strange thing to say. People move between denominations and religions all the time, why is this a particular problem?

When I was a child some decades ago now, the baptist church where I was brought up as a child refused membership to those who had not been baptised as adults (I think these stipulations have since been relaxed). And I know other churches who refuse membership to anyone who hasn't been baptised by themselves.

This isn't a uniquely French issue.

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SvitlanaV2
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It's not a problem for the individuals who do it, obviously! They're exercising their right to choose.

But there seems to be problem here with newer churches taking people in (sheep stealing?) and then rubbishing the theology of the churches these people have come from.

The rubbishing may be distasteful, but if the theology was exactly the same as elsewhere would these churches be as attractive as they appear to be, relatively speaking? What would they have to offer that's distinctive?

I know this sort of thing happens outside France, but perhaps it's particularly noticeable in French Protestantism since the the evangelicals have now overtaken the traditional Protestants in numerical terms, AFAIUI. This still isn't true in the UK.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:


But there seems to be problem here with newer churches taking people in (sheep stealing?) and then rubbishing the theology of the churches these people have come from.

I'm sorry, you realise Pentecostal (Baptist and Mennonite) churches are not "new", do you?

I don't think one can accuse a church of trying to "steal" believers when they're simply acting out their professed beliefs.

quote:
The rubbishing may be distasteful, but if the theology was exactly the same as elsewhere would these churches be as attractive as they appear to be, relatively speaking? What would they have to offer that's distinctive?
You really don't know the difference between a Pentecostal and a Presbyterian church?

quote:
I know this sort of thing happens outside France, but perhaps it's particularly noticeable in French Protestantism since the the evangelicals have now overtaken the traditional Protestants in numerical terms, AFAIUI. This still isn't true in the UK.
I've no idea if that's true, but as I said earlier, I have personal experience of this happening in my lifetime in several different settings - so the chances of it not happening throughout the UK is pretty slim in my opinion.

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SvitlanaV2
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I admit that I wasn't talking about the distinctions between Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Baptists and Mennonites.

I was making reference to the new evangelical churches in France, which Eutychus sets against the more historical, traditional Protestant traditions there.

With regard to Christians moving to whichever churches they want, I'm in perfect agreement with that. But I can well understand that ill feeling may arise if one Christian movement seems to grow at the expense of another, especially if that goes along with very dismissive language about the other group's theology.

In the British case, I'm aware that evangelicals move about a lot among themselves. Whether there's still a lot of movement from other traditions to evangelicalism is an interesting questions. British non-evangelicalism is dominated overall by ageing congregations, and I suspect that Christians become less likely to switch after a certain age.

OTOH, the Ship has a lot of participants who've moved beyond various 'typical' evangelical positions as they've grown older. It would be interesting to know if any research exists that shows how commonplace this is.

[ 04. May 2017, 14:45: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Og: Thread Killer
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Anabaptists do indeed represent a different way to both Catholics and to the Lutheran/Reformed/Anglican and similar Protestants. And indeed in the past were persecuted by many Protestants. And would also wish to be distinguished from much in the US that calls itself 'Evangelical'. I'm well aware of this. How hard is it for you to understand that some interesting new things are happening nowadays? And are about a lot more people than just Steve Langton.

As it happens, I know quite a few Mennonites and quite a few other Anabaptists, and I can state without contradiction that your ideas are quite different to theirs - to the extent that you are a total outlier with respect to contemporary anabaptist thought. ....
This Mennonite disagrees with you, from my experience within the movement and study of its history.

He is far from an outlier.


I would add I started reading this thread for its intellectual stimulation on a subject obviously interesting to me and quickly found the devolution into personal name calling annoying.


******

To the OP

Pentecostals are not Anabaptists primarily because Anabaptists do not see the role of the Holy Spirit in the same way. The primary emphasis with Anabaptists, from Conrad Grebel on, has been on attempting to put into practice what they read in the Bible. Much as most Christian movements do (although I would argue historically the Mennonites put more emphasis on personal reading and interpretation rather then teaching). However, rarely do we see this attempt to "be biblical" played out in Anabaptist circles in terms of the role of the Holy Spirit in the same way that the Pentecostal movement has developed.

It is the role of the Holy Spirit that makes Pentecostalism different.

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Gamaliel
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Have you killed this thread?

Pedantically, I would say that it is the 'perceived role' of the Holy Spirit that is different, not the actual role of the Holy Spirit if I can put it that way ...

I'm always wary of using terms like 'role' and 'function' in relation to God the Holy Spirit because ... well, He is God the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Holy Trinity, one in essence and Undivided.

I'd also suggest that there are other differences between Anabaptists and Pentecostals beyond the particular emphasis the latter put on pneumatology and on spiritual gifts - particularly glossolalia.

Anabaptism covers a range of views and expressions and from what little I know of it, does seem - in its contemporary forms - to have a broader approach than the more 'focused' approach found in Pentecostalism - although some Penties are certainly broader these days both ecumenically and in terms of social action/engagement ...

However, for all the name calling that's gone on here, I would also suggest that both Anabaptists and Pentecostals can get somewhat reductionist at times - fixated with what they see as key and core issues - be it church/state separation or the use of spiritual gifts - that then become a lens through which they view almost everything and anything ...

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
This Mennonite disagrees with you, from my experience within the movement and study of its history.

He is far from an outlier.

You think that a majority of Mennonites/Anabaptists would take the view that (a) they are - or are close to - Evangelicals
(b) they are close to Pentecostals and Calvinist Baptists because they're somehow "biblical"
(c) they're separated from the Roman Catholics and Anglicans because of unbiblical church-state muddling?

I'm sure some believe that, but nothing I've ever heard of suggests that the combination of those things are normal. Indeed, I've heard regularly of the good relations between one Hutterite group I know well and the Roman Catholic church, know of many other Mennonite groups who have good relations with Anglicans, know Anglicans who associate with Mennonites and engage in Anabaptist discussions who see no contradiction with their position and have heard regularly from Mennonites that they're not-Evangelical-and-not-even-Protestant.

The anabaptist tradition is broad, with many different liberal and conservative branches. I don't see what Steve is projecting as anything other than a very particular branch that he happens to have fallen in love with and which is not reflective of the rest of the tradition.

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Gamaliel
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To me, Steve Langton comes across as a pretty bog-standard UK evangelical from a Brethren or evangelical Baptist background who has read a couple of books on Anabaptism and convinced himself he's an expert on the subject.

His is a kind of bolt-on Anabaptism that may or may not bear some relation to the wider Anabaptist tradition.

Sure, there'll be some overlaps - a credo-baptist position, suspicion of church-state collaboration and structures, pacifism ... but beyond that, not a great deal of depth and understanding.

Sorry, but that's how I see it.

People could say the same or similar about my grasp of other Christian traditions that I've read about or had some dealings with.

Only, I don't purport to be an expert in any of them.

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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
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.

When I was talking to him yesterday, Roger said that he was currently working on an article on the history of anabaptists in relation to the 500th anniversary of the reformation.

So watch this space...

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Gamaliel
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I'd be interested in that, Sipech - although it's many, many, many years since I heard Roger preach.

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Og: Thread Killer
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
This Mennonite disagrees with you, from my experience within the movement and study of its history.

He is far from an outlier.

You think that a majority of Mennonites/Anabaptists would take the view that (a) they are - or are close to - Evangelicals
(b) they are close to Pentecostals and Calvinist Baptists because they're somehow "biblical"
(c) they're separated from the Roman Catholics and Anglicans because of unbiblical church-state muddling?
....


You used outlier at first and now said majority. I'm confident of a plurality would agree with those statements. Those statements are not an outlier by any means. Those first two statements would be normative in some of the largest Mennonite groups in Canada while among Mennonite historians, the third is accepted as fact.

I'm not sure about the largest groups in the diaspora, such as the Congo and Indonesia and Brazil but given what I've heard from people attending the World Mennonite Conference, it wouldn't suprise me if so.

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Og: Thread Killer
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On the note of the word evangelical, I would quote Menno Simons most famous words, that are sung about in Mennonite circles still:

quote:
True evangelical faith is of such a nature it cannot lie dormant, but spreads itself out in all kinds of righteousness and fruits of love;
it dies to flesh and blood ;
it destroys all lusts and forbidden desires ;
it seeks, serves and fears God in its inmost soul ;
it clothes the naked ;
it feeds the hungry ;
it comforts the sorrowful ;
it shelters the destitute ;
it aids and consoles the sad ;
it does good to those who do it harm ;
b it serves those that harm it ;
it prays for those who persecute it ;
it teaches, admonishes and judges us with the Word of the Lord ;
it seeks those who are lost ;
it binds up what is wounded ;
it heals the sick ;
it saves what is strong (sound) ;
it becomes all things to all people .
The persecution, suffering and anguish that come to it for the sake of the Lord’s truth have become a glorious joy and comfort to it.

Mennonites see themselves as a different sort of evangelical.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Gamaliel
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Sure, Mennonites pre-date evangelicalism in its contemporary form which is largely a product of the 18th and 19th centuries and a predominantly Anglophone base.

A lot of evangelicals would be unaware of other reformed or radical reformation movements across continental Europe and over into North America, nor of Mennonite mission in Africa and South America and elsewhere.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To me, Steve Langton comes across as a pretty bog-standard UK evangelical from a Brethren or evangelical Baptist background who has read a couple of books on Anabaptism and convinced himself he's an expert on the subject.

His is a kind of bolt-on Anabaptism that may or may not bear some relation to the wider Anabaptist tradition.

Sure, there'll be some overlaps - a credo-baptist position, suspicion of church-state collaboration and structures, pacifism ... but beyond that, not a great deal of depth and understanding.

Sorry, but that's how I see it.

People could say the same or similar about my grasp of other Christian traditions that I've read about or had some dealings with.

Only, I don't purport to be an expert in any of them.

I almost agree with this - except that I've read a lot more than a couple of books on Anabaptism, both Reformation era and more modern. As regards expertise I wouldn't regard myself as an expert on the historic Mennonite/Amish/Hutterite practices - but I would think it fair comment that compared to most UK Christians I look like an 'expert' because an awful lot of UK Christians know next to nothing.

The Brethren were effectively a 19th Century homegrown UK version of Anabaptism, and this was recognised by the Brethren based Paternoster Press publishing quite a bit of Anabaptist material including "The Reformers and Their Stepchildren", and more recently the 'After Christendom' series.

As I've recounted I did pretty nearly re-invent the Anabaptist wheel on church/state issues and pacifism for myself back in the late 1960s in response to the religious aspect of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Then and for many years afterwards information on Anabaptists was not easy to come by and it was in some ways a case of knowing that there were others who had seen the same basic things in the Bible that I had found. In more recent years I've been able to go into more depth and have been greatly enriched by Anabaptist ideas.

I've never been happy with the more 'exclusive' manifestations of Anabaptism whether the Amish in the US or the Exclusive Brethren in the UK. I gather that many modern Mennonites are also unhappy with that part of their past that was almost outside the world rather than 'in but not of'.

My overall Christian upbringing has meant that I sit light to all denominational titles - you'll note my profile says "Anabaptist-ish" - and preferring to think in terms of C S Lewis' "Mere Christianity"/the 'common ground'. The basic Anabaptist 'tradition' is to be 'biblical', which fits fairly well with the 'Mere Christianity' notion.

by mr cheesy;
quote:
You think that a majority of Mennonites/Anabaptists would take the view that
(a) they are - or are close to - Evangelicals

(b) they are close to Pentecostals and Calvinist Baptists because they're somehow "biblical"

(c) they're separated from the Roman Catholics and Anglicans because of unbiblical church-state muddling?

I'd have thought (c) was something that would be agreed by a massive majority of Anabaptists - and with the addition to RC and Anglican of Orthodox, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and quite a few other Protestants. Of course most of these others have over the years moved quite a bit closer to the Anabaptist position - though as Eutychus pointed out many RCs still hope that ideas like 'laicite' are a temporary abarration....

On (a) I think Anabaptists regard themselves as part of the 'evangelical' (small 'e') movement - but distinct from capital-E Evangelicalism in its narrower use related to Lutherans, and also would distance themselves from the 'Religious Right' or 'Neo-Constantinian' aspect of much US evangelicalism while recognising much in common as well.

On (b) I understand Mennonites tend towards Arminianism rather than Calvinism - and recognise that as a moderate Calvinist I'm a bit unusual among Anabaptists. Anabaptists generally do not hold the distinctive Pentecostalist views on the 'Baptism of the Spirit" and the exercise of 'tongues' and similar spiritual gifts. Otherwise there is a fair bit in common in terms of credo-baptism and church organisation but by independent derivation from the Bible rather than Pentecostalists consciously following Anabaptists. And both Pentecostals and Anabaptists do vary within the traditions on some of these things.

As I and others have said above, Pentecostalists are NOT Anabaptists, except in the narrow sense of being usually credo-baptists - that was a confusion on the part of an annoyed French Reformed pastor. Having said that I know more than a few UK Pentecostalists who are aware of the Anabaptist tradition and regard the two traditions as having a lot in common.

Also by mr cheesy;
quote:
Indeed, I've heard regularly of the good relations between one Hutterite group I know well and the Roman Catholic church, know of many other Mennonite groups who have good relations with Anglicans, know Anglicans who associate with Mennonites and engage in Anabaptist discussions who see no contradiction with their position
Can't speak on the Hutterite/RC relations - but in the circumstances of the way Mennonites have not founded Mennonite Churches but made ideas available to all and sundry, I've already pointed out that we've seen Anglicans and RCs attending our Manchester Anabaptist Study Group - along with a Mennonite couple who were regulars for a couple of years and other occasional Mennonite visitors.
Posts: 2055 | From: Stockport UK | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged



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