Monday, October 19, 2009

Community of Theologians - Malcom B. Yarnell III

In Clear and Useful Instruction, [Pilgram Marpeck] promoted the idea that all Christians receive spiritual gifts and are empowered by Christ to fulfill the Great Commission. Their belief that the Spirit spoke to the entire community as it read the Scripture together encouraged the Anabaptists to seek conversation with other Christians. Theology, for them, was always done best in communal Bible study. This helps explain one of the most poignant facts of the Continental Reformation. The Anabaptists seemed more than willing to enter debates with the state church theologians, even when it led to persecution. What surprised their opponents repeatedly was the intricate knowledge of Scripture that even illiterate Anabaptists expressed, a knowledge learned in church.
found in Malcom B. Yarnell III, The Formation of Christian Doctrine (Nashville: B&H, 2007), 102.

I keep on thinking about that last sentence and am reminded of the account found in Acts 4:13 (NKJV):
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Could it be that the Anabaptists' ecclesiology really impacted their Christian walk as Yarnell seems to imply in his book? Could it be that during their communal Bible studies, they too had been with Jesus instead of only hearing about Jesus?


Lionel Woods said...

What do you think that says of us Mael? Even more important that seemed to be theologians and debaters for love, peace and the freedom of the church, we seem to go the exact opposite.

Maël said...


You will have to forgive me, but I don't understand your comment. Can you please rephrase it? Thank you.

Lionel Woods said...

I was saying that most of the Anabaptist debated for a Free Church (from the State's influence), the debated for Non-violence and resistance, the also debated for love proven by the sacrifical meeting of the needs of others. Today, many debates are over 5 points/ 4 points. Premill/Amill...... Stuff like that. Did I miss the point of your post :o)

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