“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.’ “ (Reference: Mark 16:15 )
Mattheus Bernaerts was imprisoned for his beliefs, as were many historic Anabaptists. And for many of them this imprisonment lead to their writing about their faith to family and friends. In this way much of their faith perspectives and beliefs were passed on, not only to the people near and dear to them but to believers across the years. The editors of Reading the Anabaptist Bible belief that this excerpt from Bernaert’s letter to his children describes exactly the historic Anabaptists defended adult baptism through New Testament scripture. He says in part, “I believe and confess with many saints of God, that Christ is the Son of the living God, even as Peter confessed Him, with many apostles . . . and many Christian witnesses. This only Son of God revealed and made known to us the will of the Father after He arose from the dead. . . . Mark writes: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15, 16. But one must then first become converted and repent, for Christ caused repentance to be preached in His name, for the remission of sins, and to Christ give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. Acts 2:38; 10:43. . . . Thus baptism is a burial of sin, a washing of regeneration. . . . For by baptism it is indicated to believers, that they, through Christ, are inwardly baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, concerning which we have many testimonies in the Scriptures, and thus enter into a covenant with the Most High, who assures them by His Holy Spirit, of the grace and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ that He is their God, and that they are His children.”
It was by reading Old Testament and New Testament scripture for themselves that the people I refer to as historic Anabaptists came to the belief they were willing to be imprisoned and die for. While adult baptism might have been the belief that the historic Anabaptists were most well known for, it was not the only tenet of their faith. Baptism was the beginning and entry point for leading a new life, even while living in the same body and in the same community. It was that break from what was expected that set them apart. And it was that break from the beliefs of the larger community that caused them to gain so much attention.
Do you, beloved, cause attention because of the life you lead? I would hope and pray it is positive attention. But if not, stand firm in your faith. Hold on to your beliefs and live them out each day as lead by and inspired by the Holy Spirit and your God. Selah!
Post Script: The years have gone by quickly. beloved. And as I was thinking about them I got curious as to when I started contributing to this blog. It was seven years today. There are many things I could say, and not nearly enough time and space to say them. So I will simply say thank for reading all that has been said here, and thank you Will for letting me say it. Shalom!