The State


Anabaptist political theology is uncommon in its perspective on the state and appropriate Christian political behavior. 1 Anabaptism is both a movement and a tendency, with strains present in other Christian traditions. It has always been pluralistic. Varied forms of Ana baptism developed in different areas of Europe during the Reformation and theological descendants of the early Anabaptists have maintained that diversity. Thus, the theological beliefs and their political manifestations discussed here should be viewed as trends within Anabaptism rather than as a pronouncement abont what all Anabaptists have believed. That said, as both a movement and a tendency, Anabaptists have rejected historic Christendom models of the state. In this chapter, I will address the formation of beliefs about the state in early Anabaptism. Since this is also addressed in other chapters in this volume, I will move on to discnss theological understandings of the state within Anabaptism and how these impact Anabaptist views of citizenship and nonresistance. The last section of the chapter addresses the shift of the church to the Global South and how early Anabaptist political theology is apparent in political practice and beliefs about the state among Anabaptism's descendants today.

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Copyright © Bloomsbury/T&T Clark. This chapter first appeared in Handbook of Anabaptism, Brian Brewer ed.

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