Anabaptism is rising.
Many Houstonians have connected with me personally, and perhaps you’re interested too!
Here are my 7 Core Convictions that guide my life as an Anabaptist Christian, based roughly on the excellent short read The Naked Anabaptist, by Stuart Murray.
You might be an Anabaptist Christian if….
1. You see God actively restoring our world.
You’ve awoken to God’s concern for more than souls, the person, or life after death. You’ve taken flak for seeing forgiveness as an essential – but not complete – part of the gospel of God. God is at work creating a beautiful new world in the midst of the old. You’re increasingly comfortable connecting “gospel” to God’s actions in our world (shalom, peace, justice, gospel, salvation and the kingdom of God) beyond and above narrow atonement.
2. Jesus is the clearest example of what this looks look.
You’ve likely wondered aloud about how we Christians think Jesus is “Lord of the universe,” and assume that includes politics, finances, and loving those pesky “enemies” our government is constantly creating. You see Jesus as our example, teacher, friend, Lord and redeemer- the downpayment on our new world. You increasingly read God and Scripture through the Jesus lens.
3. You see yourself as a Christian because you follow Jesus in this mission in our world.
You realize that neighbor and enemy love, not some abstract beliefs or doctrine or ways of thinking, define what it means to be Christian. You think about how the gospel applies to systems (justice) and individuals (grace) with a focus on the marginalized (the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers). You’re committed to Christ above any other power or authority, including political platform, nation or interest.
4. You’re frustrated that your church thinks its a purveyor of religious goods.
Ugghhh. You are not an individual, you are an interdividual connected to others in a community of mission and discipleship. You know its not about your purpose because the church is the center of God’s redemptive activity in the world! You are not alone.
5. You recognize how seriously Christendom distorted the gospel.
You’re tired of marginalizing Jesus to safeguard privilege and institutions. And you’re fully aware that marginalizing Jesus has radically reduced both your capacity to follow him and the discipleship making culture of our churches. Combining church and state, faith with power hinders or dissolves our missional presence, it does not further it.
6. You believe peace is at the heart of the Gospel.
Everyone wants peace. I get that. But Anabaptists are audacious enough to see peace as both end and means. We are to be “makers of peace” who “know the things that make for peace” both internally and in the world. As masters of peace, the method (peace) must match the goal (peace). After all, we’re dealing with one of the Bible’s biggest words. Biblical peace (the kind of peace I seek for Houston) means wholeness, prosperity, completion, right relations – the way things are meant to be.
Discipleship is for all of life. So much so, you wonder if Jesus came to abolish religion altogether. You see no distinction between faith and politics, spirituality and economics. Jesus isn’t just interested in your “personal life” or religion. He’s itching for it all. Perhaps you’re aware that if Jesus’ lordship or love stops at the line of politics, or national defense, than we might need a bigger god. Admittedly, giving your entire self (and not just yer wee tiny heart) to God will likely make you weird, unconformed, and appear as if you’re living in a different story (not to fear, see Point #4 above!).
If any of these 7 Core Convictions of Anabaptism resonate with you, perhaps its time for you and I to kick off an Anabaptist book study, Google hangout, pub night, church plant, Bible discussion, lecture series, or…. you name it. I’ll be there.
For starters, I’ll be at the Anabaptist church Houston Mennonite on Sunday morning at 9:30 (Bible Dialogue) and 10:45AM (Worship Gathering). I’d love to see you there too!