A Near-Total Convergence: Baptist Responds to Anabaptist

Michael King’s post found striking resonance with my understanding of discipleship as a Baptist.

These resonances include 1) a resolute focus on Jesus, with the Sermon on the Mount functioning as the locus classicus in defining the Way of Jesus. Closely related is 2) the emphasis on the kingdom or reign of God as the apocalyptic-ethical narrative frame of Jesus’ message. This is the transformation of the world from a kingdom of rebellion against God to a place where God’s will is “done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Christians are defined as those who are committed not just to belief in Jesus but to practicing his Way, which includes 3) love and nonviolence. This Way can only be followed by those conscious of its obligations and personally committed to them, thus 4) the necessity of a believers’ church. Finally, if the mission of Jesus was the kingdom of God, and the kingdom is the wholistic transformation of the world, then 5) the church’s mission can only be wholistic.

I also note with sadness the first part of King’s essay, in which he lists a dizzying array of schisms and divisions, as well as what I believe to be the deleterious effects of the modern Evangelical behemoth, which distorts the polity of distinctive Christian communities that would be healthier if the Evangelical power brokers were simply ignored.


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