BE NOT AFRAID . . . Of “Misguided” Humanity

Make not thyself an underling to a foolish man; neither accept the person of the mighty. Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.” (Reference: Sirach 4: 27-28 )

The editors of Reading the Anabaptist Bible state that striving “for the truth unto death” sometimes cause tensions within the historic Anabaptist communities. Caught between between a desired attitude of humble yieldedness, and an uncompromising severity in the service of biblical truth,”as the editors explain it “made it impossible to settle conflicts within the community.” The desire to humbly yield was superseded by the desire to be scripturally correct.

The historic Anabaptist writing paired with this scripture is a portion of a letter written by Dirk Philips and is written concerning the Frisian-Flemish division (I assume two sects or geographic regions where two groups of believers lived), and the editors have noted that each group “banned” the other, which meant each thought the other not conforming to scripture nor proper belief. The portion of the letter that caught my attention the most, and speaks to the issue as apposed to quoting scripture about it says, “that one shall freely acknowledge the right, if one will help the people, that one shall let himself be moved by no persons, nor shall let himself be afraid of any multitude or quantity, but one will maintain the right without regard to any person.” From what I can glean from this, Philips was going to be swayed in his opinion by whatever the other side might say, and it is to their benefit that he remains firm in order to show the other side what is right and good. And it has always been a slippery slope when one is convinced beyond any doubt that God is on your side.

If you thought historic Anabaptist (or modern Anabaptist/Mennonites for that matter) were meek and mild, and all things yielding to the other, you have never heard the polity/proper faith stance discussions that have gone on over the years! I am pretty sure the discussions in 1567, though differing in content, were made with the same ferocity as the ones now, no matter the faith name or denomination. We may believe in one God, but that does not mean we believe in identical ways.

May you beloved strive to know what is true, but respect the truths of other sincere believers. Selah!