Era of Reform Anabaptists
Era of Reform

Radical reformers practicing the baptism of adult believers.

Because they practiced rebaptism, anabaptists were sometimes martyred by drowning

According to anabaptist practice, baptism was to be administered only to professing believers. In the case of first-generation adherents, this involved what conservative reformers considered a second baptism. This gave rise to the pejorative label "anabaptist" or "rebaptizer." The restriction of baptism to professing believers is understood by anabaptists to be the practice commended by Scripture. This was consistent with the intention of the anabaptist communities to test all belief and practice against Scripture. The ultimate ideal was to restore the church to its apostolic purity as it appeared in the Bible. This also led the anabaptist movement toward a pronounced social radicalism, an emphasis on holiness of life, and a rejection of forms of secular and ecclesiastical authority considered unwarranted by Scripture. A confessional summary of early anabaptist beliefs appeared as the Schleitheim Articles in 1527. While numerically quite small, this movement had its seats of strength in Switzerland and south Germany. The Mennonite and Hutterite traditions were among the many organized expressions of the movement. As a whole the anabaptist movement evoked repressive measures from secular authorities, as well as Roman Catholic and conservative Protestant leaders.

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