MENNONITES, ANABAPTISTS, BAPTISTS
One of many Protestant Christians like for example Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Huguenots (French Protestants). They separated from Roman Catholic Church in XVI and XVII century. The chief leaders of Mennonites were the following priests: in Holland (1536) - Menno Simons - a preacher in Witmarsum (Friesian) who is not the founder of Mennonite Church, Obbe and Dirk Philips; in Germany (1527) - Pilgram Marpeck, Thomas Muenzer; in Switzerland (1525) - Konrad Grebel, Juergen Blaurock, Felix Manz. The Mennonites were involved in anabaptism. It was religious movement which emerged from Reformation and was opposed to money based and institutionalized Christianity such as: Roman Catholic Church and non-radical reformation. The Bible is the source of Mennonites inspiration. They refuse to rule. The politics is the root of all evil. They reject military service to keep peace all over the world. Mennonites accept only two sacraments: baptism of adults and The Eucharist. Jesus Christ, like for other Protestants (Calvinists, Lutherans) is ultimate personality, and Absolute Divinity. The Easter is the greatest celebration. The Cross is the most important spiritual symbol.The Mennonite Church was set up in XVI century by few heretics (Menno Simons was not a founder) who during Reformation like other ex-catholic priests e.g. Martin Luther abandoned Roman Catholic Church to create a new religious branch. Martin Luther was the most famous church reformer. However Menno Simons (Dutch reformer), Ulrich Zwingli (Swiss reformer)and John Calvin were also great individuals who longed for reforming Roman Catholic Church.
Many Mennonites and other Anabaptists as well as Baptists, Methodists and Quakers left The Old Continent. Most of them emigrated to the USA. Some Mennonites settled down in other parts of the world: Paraguay (South America), Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine (Crimea). In the U.S. Mennonites established GERMANTOWN. Since 1863 it has been the bustling with activity centre of entire Mennonite Church. According to their doctrine a human being should live in accordance with strict moral standards. Their hardline rules are not easy to practice. Mennonites do not accept divorce, homosexuality, incest, abortion (every human life is divine and sacred), drug and substance abuse, crime, fashion, violence and war, lust for money and sex. They think that parents are very important to us and should be cared for.
We do not know too much about Mennonites who found themselves in Poland. Some of them arrived in Polish Pommern while they were escaping from Netherlands in XVI-XVII century. After 1945 they emigrated, mainly to the USA. In Poland there are no members of Mennonite Church now. But there are the chapel and the name of the street (ulica Menonitów) in Danzig (Gdansk) (see the pictures which I have taken during my stay in this city). Currently, the Mennonite's chapel in Danzig (Gdansk) belongs to the Pentecostal Church. Mennonites have no governing body and hierarchy. They constitute, like other Protestants, the set of independent, small communities called congregations. Most Mennonites in the world are Americans but more and more of them can be found in South America (Paraguay, Brazil).
The common label employed for the members of Protestant sects in XVI century who ignored the infant's baptism and practiced baptism of adults. The first Anabaptist bunches appeared in 1525 in Switzerland. The founder of anabaptist movement in Germany was Thomas Muenzer - a preacher in Zwickau. Anabaptists stood against any institutional form of Reformation (for example represented by Calvin, Luther or Zwingli) and The Roman Catholic Church (papism). This fact caused their persecution in Western Europe. Anabaptists were also regarded as one of the branches of "THE SECOND REFORMATION" or "RADICAL AND SPIRITUAL REFORMATION". The pejorative name "Anabaptists" referred to their negative attitude towards infant's baptism. Anabaptist approval of adult's baptism could have stemmed from the fact that Jesus Christ was baptized by Saint John as he was grown-up and strongly believing person (see the picture - Baptism of Jesus Christ). The other reason was the fact that unlike infant's baptism, only baptism of adults was biblical.The Scripture contained many descriptions of adults who became Christians and were baptized in the biblical river "Jordan".
So their doctrine stated that individual should have been baptized only when he or she was old enough to understand what he or she was doing. Anabaptists were spreading leftist heresy around, those times. Supporting anarchy, the idea of small communities, the bunches of people helping each other, they were trying hard to fight against poverty and misery. In addition, they helped the weak and the neglected. Anabaptists represented a garden variety of social backgrounds.Some were Jews, others could have been just religious nonconformists or anti-conformists. Some were just peasants but others came from noble or even artistocratic families. Some blue blooded persons who were involved in anabaptism could have even lost their nobility titles, good reputation, wealth and social status.
Popularity of the Anabaptist movement amongst the members of the underclass (peasants and beggars) brought about the uprising which took place in 1535, in Muenster (John from Leida). The famous leader of German peasants revolt was Thomas Muenzer (ex-catholic priest and preacher in Zwickau). It was brutally suppressed by the Church Officials. Many Anabaptists were imprisoned, the social spirit and sense of justice were abused. Anabaptists were simply dubbed "heretics" and "devils". It seemed like they were in a permanent danger zone. Moreover Anabaptist doctrine was rejected by other churches both Catholic and Protestant. It was believed that it had been totally false.
The Protestant branch which occurred in England at the beginning of XVII century. The founders of Baptist Church (as well as Pentecostals) might have been inspired by Anabaptist and Mennonite ideology. However unlike Mennonites Baptists have a positive view on the State and military service. Baptists accept only baptism of adults (it happens by immersion as it used to be in the biblical river "Jordan") and The Bible (The Scripture) as the only source of Christian tradition, faith and moral standards. They approve of total separation between The State and The Church. Baptists as well as for example Jesuits are known for establishing missions in the distant areas of our world. In the USA most Protestants are Baptists.