The Anabaptists: From the Publisher
With this issue Christian History makes the transition from an “occasional” publication to a regularly scheduled quarterly. This step is taken as a result of the enthusiastic reader response received to the first issues. We sincerely thank you who encouraged us to expand our efforts.
Our hope for this publication is that it will deepen appreciation for your own specific heritage when the subject matter deals directly with your particular tradition and that it will broaden awareness of and respect for the heritage of others when the subject matter represents a background different from your own. Surely the grace and truth of the Lord has not been deposited exclusively or monopolistically within any single denomination or tradition. We have much to learn from each other.
May this issue serve that end in causing Anabaptists to appreciate anew their unique story and in causing those of us not of that lineage to discover new dimensions of faith and commitment from their experience. Perhaps more than any other movement, Anabaptists have been unfairly maligned over the years by other Christian groups. Typically they have been identified with the madness of Müntzer and Münster as if that tragic man and episode defined the movement instead of being unfortunate aberrations that Anabaptists themselves universally disowned and condemned.
As you read through the pages of this edition, consider the observation of Franklin H. Littell of Temple University on the impact of Anabaptism in the sixteenth century and now: "When the Anabaptists refused to repeat the feudal oaths, refused to bear arms, and withdrew from participation in the legally privileged and controlled churches, they struck a radical blow for liberty, conscience and human dignity. ...