Who were the Anabaptists and what did they believe ?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Anabaptists were a denomination of Protestant Christianity who were part of the radical Reformation. As Protestants who believed in salvation by faith rather than works, they considered infant baptism ineffectual as an infant, unable to comprehend the creeds of Christianity cannot fully assent to them. The Anabaptists shared with Zwingli a receptionist attitude towards sacraments, i.e. that for them the water of baptism and wine and wafer of communion are only effective if they are received faithfully. For Anabaptists, this distinction is a crucial one between Christianity and witchcraft or magic.

The Anabaptists were Biblical literalists, and insisted on separation from worldly matters (whether political offices or materialism). They are the forerunners, inter alia, of the “peace churches” such as the Mennonites, Amish, and Quakers.

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Anabaptists were a movement that arose probably around 1522 in Europe, primarly in Germany. There were also Anabaptist communities the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. Anabaptists believed that adults should accept Christ by being baptized, even if they had already been baptized previously. The meaning of Anabaptist is "one who baptizes again." Calvinists would use "Anabaptist" in a pejorative sense for any sect that did not follow standard reformist practices and beliefs.