First, here’s some highlights from the other participants in the Anabaptist Vision synchro-blog:
Ryan summarizes the problem of the Anabaptist Vision: Christians end up as...
a bunch of people who are really, really, really convinced that we ought to do the things that Jesus taught, and try really, really, really hard to do them, but succeed inconsistently, experience frustration with their efforts, and have little patience with others who do the same.”Chris’ thoughts on guilt-ridden Christian living relate well - guilt being the result of Christianity reduced to exerting as much effort as possible:
Failure to live up to the expectations of a community, let alone an ethical teaching based on the life of Jesus can facilitate a debilitating guilt.And in light of such problems, Len offers a timely reminder that discipleship isn’t about us, but us being empowered by the Holy Spirit:
In how many churches do we see a demonstration of the power of the Spirit?...
...discipleship is only possible because Christ empowers us to follow Him...
…a strong theology of discipleship without a strong theology of the Spirit creates burdened people who carry too much baggage to be effective in helping others find God.
I’ll let the synchro-blog gang elaborate on the relevance of Anabaptism:
If ever there was a time when a compelling articulation and expression of faith as a Spirit-infused, prayer-soaked, joyful, liberated and liberating following after the person and work of Jesus Christ, it would be now. If ever there was a time and a place, in other words, for a spiritually vital Anabaptist vision, it would be now. -Ryan
I would like to see a re-engagement of a theology around the spiritual practices within Anabaptism. From practices as ‘big’ as communion (which would be helpful in working through our guilt), a re-engagement of communal liturgy, prayer, music, and the dynamics of an individual spirituality within a tradition that is, for our North American context, fairly communal. -Chris
We first need our own people both saved and set free — knowing more than a form of godliness, but also its power. Then we have a chance to establish a dynamic local mission movement. -LenI believe the Anabaptist tradition still has something to offer. I’m glad others do as well. We just need to realize that the vision will always be changing, even as the focus remains the same - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).