Waldensians · Savonarola · Lollards ·
Western Schism · Hussites
Northern Renaissance ·
Start of the
Ninety-five Theses · German Peasants\' War ·
Schmalkaldic League ·
Magisterials · Radicals · Counter-
Luther · Melanchthon · Müntzer · Zwingli · Simons · Bucer ·
Laurentius Petri · Calvin · Karlstadt · Knox · Trubar ·
Denmark–Norway / Holstein · England · Germany · Italy ·
Netherlands · Poland-Lithuania · Scotland · Sweden · France ·
The RADICAL REFORMATION was the response to what was believed to be
the corruption in both the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church and the expanding
Magisterial Protestant movement led by
Martin Luther and many others.
Beginning in Germany and Switzerland in the 16th century, the Radical
Reformation gave birth to many radical Protestant groups throughout
Europe . The term covers both radical reformers like
Thomas Müntzer ,
Andreas Karlstadt , groups like the
Zwickau prophets and Anabaptist
groups like the Hutterites and
In parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, a majority sympathized
with the Radical
Reformation despite intense persecution. Although
the surviving proportion of the European population that rebelled
Zwinglian churches was small, Radical
Reformers wrote profusely and the literature on the Radical
Reformation is disproportionately large, partly as a result of the
proliferation of the Radical
Reformation teachings in the United
* 1 Characteristics
* 2 Non-Anabaptist Radical reformers
* 3 Early forms of
* 4 Later forms of
* 5 Other movements
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
Unlike the Catholics and the more Magisterial
Lutheran and Reformed
Calvinist ) Protestant movements, some of the Radical
Reformation abandoned the idea that the "
Church visible " was distinct
from the "
Church invisible ." Thus, the Church only consisted of the
tiny community of believers, who accepted Jesus Christ and
demonstrated this by adult baptism, called "believer\'s baptism" .
While the magisterial reformers wanted to substitute their own
learned elite for the learned elite of the
Catholic Church , the
radical Protestant groups rejected the authority of the institutional
"church" organization, almost entirely, as being unbiblical. As the
search for original
Christianity was carried further, it was claimed
that the tension between the church and the
Roman Empire in the first
Christianity was normative, that the church is not to be
allied with government sacralism , that a true church is always
subject to be persecuted, and that the conversion of Constantine I was
Great Apostasy that marked a deviation from pure
NON-ANABAPTIST RADICAL REFORMERS
Though most of the Radical Reformers were Anabaptist, some did not
identify themselves with the mainstream Anabaptist tradition. Thomas
Müntzer was involved in the German Peasants\' War . Andreas Karlstadt
disagreed theologically with
Huldrych Zwingli and Martin Luther,
teaching nonviolence and refusing to baptize infants while not
rebaptizing adult believers.
Kaspar Schwenkfeld and Sebastian Franck
were influenced by
German mysticism and spiritualism .
EARLY FORMS OF ANABAPTISM
Some early forms of the Radical
Reformation were millenarian ,
focusing on the imminent end of the world. This was particularly
notable in the rule of
John of Leiden over the city of
1535, which was ultimately crushed by the combined forces of the
Catholic Bishop of
Münster and the
Landgrave of Hesse .
Munster rebellion , the small group of the Batenburgers
continued to adhere to militant Anabaptist beliefs. Non-violent
Anabaptist groups also had millenarian beliefs.
Anabaptists believed that their reformation must purify not
only theology but also the actual lives of Christians, especially
their political and social relationships. Therefore, the church
should not be supported by the state, neither by tithes and taxes, nor
by the use of the sword;
Christianity was a matter of individual
conviction, which could not be forced on anyone, but rather required a
personal decision for it.
Many groups were influenced by biblicism (like the
Swiss Brethren ),
spiritualism (like the South German Anabaptists) and mainly absolute
pacifism (like the Swiss Brethren, the Hutterites and the Mennonites
from Northern Germany and the Netherlands). The Hutterites also
practiced community of goods . In the beginning most of them were
strongly missionary .
LATER FORMS OF ANABAPTISM
Later forms of
Anabaptism were much smaller, and focused on the
formation of small, separatist communities. Among the many varieties
to develop were
Amish , and Hutterites . Typical among
the new leaders of the later Anabaptist movement, and certainly the
most influential of them, was
Menno Simons (1496–1561), a Dutch
Catholic priest who early in 1536 decided to join the Anabaptists.
Simons had no use for the violence advocated and practiced by the
Münster movement, which seemed to him to pervert the very heart of
Mennonite pacifism is not merely a peripheral
characteristic of the movement, but rather belongs to the very essence
of Menno's understanding of the gospel; this is one of the reasons
that it has been a constant characteristic of all
through the centuries.
The Anabaptist of the Radical
Reformation continue to inspire
community groups such as the Bruderhof and movements such as Urban
Expression in the UK.
In addition to the Anabaptists, other Radical
have been identified. Notably,
George Huntston Williams , the great
categorizer of the Radical Reformation, considered early forms of
Unitarianism (such as that of the Socinians , and exemplified by
Michael Servetus as well as the
Polish Brethren ), and other trends
that disregarded the Nicene christology still accepted by most
Christians , as part of the Radical Reformation. With Michael Servetus
Faustus Socinus (1539–1604) anti-Trinitarianism
came to the foreground.
Religious Society of Friends
Religious Society of Friends , a later group influenced by the
Restorationism (Christian primitivism)
* ^ Horsch, John (1995).
Mennonites in Europe. Herald Press. p.
299. ISBN 978-0836113952 .
* ^ Euan Cameron (1991). The European Reformation. New York: Oxford
University Press . ISBN 0-19-873093-4 .
* ^ Maseko, Achim N. (2008), Church Schism & Corruption, South
Africa: Lulu.com, p. 236, ISBN 9781409221869
* ^ Justo L. Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought (Abingdon:
* ^ Hein, Gerhard. "Karlstadt, Andreas Rudolff-Bodenstein von
(1486-1541).". Global Anabaptist
Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Retrieved 19 April 2014.
* ^ A B Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, 88.
* ^ A B C Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, 96.
* ^ "Why the Bruderhof is not a cult - by Bryan Wilson Cult And
Sect Religion And Belief". Scribd. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
* ^ "Eberhard Arnold: Founder of the Bruderhof".
www.eberhardarnold.com. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
* ^ Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, 101.
* Estep, William R. , The Anabaptist story: An introduction to
* Roth, John, and James Stayer, eds. A companion to
Spiritualism, 1521-1700 (Brill, 2007).
* Williams, George H., The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed (Truman State
Univ Press, 2000).