Balthasar Hubmaier and the Anabaptists oppose infant baptism. Questions for Discussion: Lesson 30A, Chapter 26 “Anabaptists Go Back to the Roots of Christianity” from  The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson

1. Olson divides Protestant Reformers into two categories: 1) the Magisterial Reformation and 2) the Radical Reformation. Can you give a brief summary description of each category as though you were standing in front of the Sunday school class you are teaching? (See the mixed list of candidates below and the Wikipedia links for additional information.)

2. The Radical Reformation had distinct subgroups described in Olson’s chapter on key leaders. How did he identify and define these subgroups? Today we have denominations with roots that can be traced back to the reformers associated with these subgroups. How would you identify those contemporary churches that we can point to as the “offspring” of these early reformers’ efforts? Which of these subgroups is the most influential?

3. What were the distinctive doctrines of the Anabaptists that led to cries of “arch heretics!”?

4. On what grounds did Balthasar Hubmaier oppose infant baptism? What was his assessment of Augustine’s contribution to Christian theology? What was the authentic Christian life for Hubmaier?

5. Hubmaier has been called both “the first Anabaptist theologian” and the “first evangelical synergist”. What does all of this mean in actual, underlying doctrinal distinctives he contributed and the reforming career he achieved?

6. Menno Simons theological contributions have engendered some controversy. What would you point to as the two most controversial concepts he advocated?

7. The spectre of Nestorianism emerged once again in the 16th century. How did Nestorianism get involved in Reformation theology debates? What did Nestorius advocate that so stirred up Christological controversies in the 5th century?

8. Olson offers us a definition of Anabaptist theology “in a nutshell”, though he does not describe the summary provided with that phrase. Can you offer such a nutshell that would be useful in a Sunday school class?

See Lesson 30B for correlated readings

John Gerstner, who lectured in Lesson 29B, lectures again on Anabaptist history; Ken Curtis of the Christian History Institute provides a dramatized story from Anabaptist history that portrays the rebaptism controversy.

Bible Verses for Reflection

Selected Magisterial and Radical Reformers of the 16th Century:

Caspar Schwenkfeld

Balthasar Hubmaier

Martin Luther

Thomas Muntzer

John Calvin

Martin Bucer

Menno Simons

William Farel

Huldrych Zwingli


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