The Lord Knows Those Who Are His

As I was flying to Switzerland to explore Graber family and Anabaptist history I was contemplating the tempestuous nature of church history during the Reformation.

It seems every debate in every generation has some who take an all or nothing stance, like Conrad Grebal, and there are also those who take the gradual change approach, like Ulrich Zwingli.  If the slow and gradual bunch could hear the heart of the firebrands and if the firebrands could understand the wisdom offered by a slower, more gradual change- wouldn’t that result in a better process?

The Anabaptist Reformation, as with so many other things, is not as simple and straightforward as we would wish.  It is very difficult to fully understand all the things that happened then.  In this video I contemplate this difficulty.

I find courage in this verse:

 “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”                                        – 2 Timothy 2:19

1 thought on “The Lord Knows Those Who Are His

  1. Sanford Slabaugh Reply

    It should be noted, that at the time of the Radical religious reformation (1500’s), civic rulers and the Catholic Church had full control over the lives of their citizens, including the religious matters. Enforcement of religious matters flowed from the Pope in Rome, to the rulers, and from there to the citizenry. The Pope, could, and did raise armies to put down religious rebellions.

    All of the various Anabaptist groups in Europe viewed the state interference in religious matters as invalid, unchristian and corrupt, which they clearly were.

    Modern democracy had not been invented yet. So, whatever religion a ruler(s) chose, then all of the citizenry were required to practice that same religion. This put the Anabaptists, the forerunners of the Amish and the Mennonite Churches, in direct conflict with the official state church(s), as they wanted nothing to do with these very clearly unchristian people and institution. After all, the Bible is very clear in how the Christian should avoid the evils of the secular life in a community.

    Infant baptism was practiced by the Catholic Church, as that was the easy means of enforcing church membership, and all of the financial benefits that would ensue from each member. That is, the local community knew who had child births, and the church priest, pastor, who maintained the church registry book, knew who was christened and who wasn’t. In Switzerland, and likely other countries, if your birth wasn’t in that book, you were not a citizen. If you were not a citizen, you couldn’t inherit your parent’s property or government charity. Also, one couldn’t leave the country and later return claiming the need for charity, as that charity was reserved for the citizens. Also, speaking generally, if the parents of a child were not registered in that book as married, then the child was illegitimate, and that had its own negative ramifications for the child.

    The lack of a christening registration and the marriage registration in the church books, was evidence that a person or couple were Anabaptists, and Anabaptism was illegal throughout Switzerland and the surrounding countries.

    So many people joined the Anabaptists in many Berne and Zurich communities, that by their absence they caused a serious financial matter for the local church, and appeared to be, a degree of a threat to the government, also. These things could not be tolerated, and they were not (see my first paragraph, above).

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