There was in fact no connection between the Reformers and the Anabaptists other than the fact that both camps called themselves tian.The Anabaptists continued a long separatist pattern dating back to the Gnostics, and the Reformers recognized that some things remained true in the Roman Catholic Church and the rest were in need of reform.The Anabaptists, writes Verduin, “were not interested in any continuity with the Church of the past; for them that Church was a ‘fallen’ creature.Not some reformation of this ‘fallen’ creature was their objective but a new beginning, a Restitution.This is selective history at its worst, giving anyone who reads it alone a sadly one-sided view of history and ecclesiology.The only reason Leonard Verduin dares to call Anabaptists the stepchildren of the Reformers is because some Baptists today subscribe to some of the things Calvin taught.I regret to report what probably won’t surprise you, which is that I disagree with almost every word in this book.If you’ll indulge me a few sheets I’d like to tell you why.
For any wishing to visit the Anabaptist Museum at Velke Levare, in the Anabaptist Quarter there, details can be found on the Zahorskie Museums website (Slovak language) and the Anabaptist Cellars website can be found here (Czech language).
They were not interested in carrying coals from a fire that had been smouldering and smoking for so many centuries; they were out to kindle a new blaze” (p.156).
“Nothing in the church’s theology, its organization, its place in the world, escaped the effects of the virus that had entered its bloodstream” (p.41).
On a recent trip across Europe, from one weekend of ministry in Dijon, France to another in Lanckorona, Poland, I took the opportunity to visit some of the sites associated with the Anabaptists in Zurich, Innsbruck, Vienna and in Moravia and Slovakia.
In particular, visiting the Anabaptist Quarter (Habánsky Dvor) in Velke Levare, north of Malacky in Western Slovakia, a beautifully preserved example of a Hutterite bruderhof dating back to 1588, I was amazed to be introduced to a descendant of a Hutterite (Habáni) family in the village there, still living in the neighbourhood and looking after the (now Roman Catholic) chapel of the original settlement.
A Mennonite Bishop, Christian Funk of Franconia Township, Pennsylvania, spoke in favor of supporting the movement.