Twenty Seven: Anabaptist Spirituality


The Anabaptist call to radical discipleship outlines an ethic of following after Jesus, but more fundamentally, the Anabaptist call to radical discipleship insists that disciples are those who allow the spiritual power of the risen Christ to manifest itself in their lives.  The disciples of Jesus will live lives that remind the world of Jesus, not because they are super-human rule keepers, but because they have yielded to the power of the risen Christ in their lives.  It is the spirit of Gelassenheit, of ‘yieldedness’, that corresponds to a non-violent life, a life that refuses to insist on the forceful imposition of one’s will on the world.

C. Arnold Snyder, “Following in the Footsteps of Christ: The Anabaptist Tradition” page 186

At it’s very essence Anabaptism is grounded in a relationship with Jesus.  Within the Anabaptist tradition, to be a disciple of Jesus is to participate incarnationally with our world.  It’s a flesh and blood type thing!  That flesh and blood thing is dependent upon a transformative relationship with Christ that facilitates the Holy Spirit’s presence within the life of the disciple.  It’s a yielding of sorts, a yielding to God’s presence that manifests itself through the disciple into the world.   Anabaptist spirituality then, is to yield to God’s will which ‘corresponds to a non-violent life’.  The depth of the Anabaptist tradition is found within it’s spirituality.  Shalom!

C. Arnold Snyder’s book “Following in the Footsteps of Christ: The Anabaptist Tradition” is an extremely important read if you are interested in Anabaptist Spirituality.  A wonderful book to read along side the “Naked Anabaptist” for discussion on the collision between Anabaptism and our world today.  


  1. Christina · March 23, 2012

    Arnold Snyder was the speaker at our MC Canada missionary seminar last summer… we very much appreciated learning from him throughout the weekend and found his perspective of the early Anabaptists (their action deeply rooted in their spirituality) both enlightening and encouraging.

    • chris lenshyn · March 23, 2012

      Hey Christina!

      My favorite university class used his book as the text. I’m with you… very encouraging and enlightening.

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