Who are the Anabaptists?
Originally, the term Anabaptist was associated with Christians of the 16th century Radical Reformation in Europe. Current successors include the Amish, Brethren in Christ, Hutterites, Mennonites and Bruderhof Communities. Among some groups there is renewed interest in using the term when describing themselves.
Beliefs common to many Anabaptist groups
This includes not “bearing the sword.” Historically this meant a refusal to participate in any form of police or military service. Today, many Anabaptists believe they are called to practise active peacemaking at all times. Over the years the Anabaptist commitment to peace has been referred to in a number of ways including non-resistance, pacifism, and nonviolent resistance. A commitment to Christ’s way of peace endures among the confessions of most Anabaptist groups.
Believers receive baptism and join the church upon their free and voluntary confession of faith as adults. This is in contrast to infant baptism in which infants or young children may be baptized upon request of a parent who professes faith. The word "Anabaptist" has its roots in a Greek word for "rebaptizer” and was originally considered a derogatory term.
The church as the body of Christ and community of believers
Members of the church community are to practise forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual aid, and are to discipline one another in a spirit of love. They are to live as a sign of, and witness to, God's reign on earth. Some groups have considered it important to live in communities that are separated from the society (or world) around them.
Following Christ’s example
Believers are called to follow Jesus’ example in all aspect of their daily lives. They are to try to live as Jesus lived.