Should We Celebrate Anabaptist Beginnings?

February 9, 2023

Should We Celebrate Anabaptist Beginnings?

Is it unhealthy to celebrate something that lifts up individuals or that marks a division among believers? How do we view Anabaptist history in relation to other Christian traditions? Long-time Mennonite historian John Roth calls us to “right remembering” of history, the good, the bad, and the mixed. There is much to celebrate in Anabaptism past and present, but we do well to recognize the shadow sides of our strengths as well as what we have received from other traditions. 

Learn more about Anabaptism at 500 and the Anabaptist Community Bible Project.

We are honored to have John Roth join us in this episode to help us think about good and bad ways to celebrate the Anabaptist tradition. John is a historian, teacher, and author who has focused his career on the Anabaptist movement.Toward the end of the episode, John invites our participation in the Anabaptist Community Bible, a project that he is working on. There are hesitations some of us may have about this project. Concerns may include the nature of the project as crowd sourced commentary and its connection with a church body that teaches unbiblical positions on sexuality.While we recognize these concerns, we want to say first of all that we appreciate John’s significant contribution to the study of Anabaptist history and education, and the wise words that he shares in this episode for the place of celebrating God’s work in his church. Secondly, as regards the Anabaptist Community Bible, we appreciate the concept of a community approach to interpretation, where believers work together to exegete and understand the scriptures. The Anabaptist Community Bible offers a unique expression of this community hermeneutic. However, the value of the Anabaptist Community Bible in our plain and conservative communities is yet to be seen. As always, proceed into this episode with discernment. Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoy this episode with John Roth.

Episode Guest Info

John Roth

For the past 36 years, John D. Roth served as prof. of history at Goshen College as well as director of the Mennonite Historical Library and editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review. More recently, he was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism at Goshen College (2012) and secretary of the MWC Faith and Life Commission (2009). In 2022 he became the project director of “Anabaptism at 500,” an initiative of MennoMedia. John has written widely on topics related to Anabaptist-Mennonite history and church life. He and his wife, Ruth, have four adult children and six grandchildren, and are active members at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, IN.

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Episode Host

Reagan Schrock

Reagan is a member of Wellspring Mennonite Church and lives with his wife Patricia in southeast Tennessee. Reagan, along with Jaran, started Anabaptist Perspectives in 2017, and serves in leadership in the organization, in addition to being deeply involved in overseas missions work.

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