Anabaptist Approaches to Scripture: Part 2

Mark N Living as Anabaptists

“I want my church now and to the end of its earthly ministry to be a church of the Bible. But I add at once, I want this because I want it to be a church of the historic and living Christ to whom this Bible everlastingly testifies.”  – Harold S. Bender, Biblical Revelation and Inspiration

Anabaptists have always taken a serious approach to scripture, especially as it pertains to discipleship.  The early Anabaptists were often described as Biblicists, both in a positive and negative sense of the word.  In the early 20th century, during the Fundamentalist vs. Modernist war of words over the Bible, the Mennonites, realizing they weren’t Modernists, began to adopt some of the doctrinal positions of the Fundamentalists, including Biblical inerrancy and plenary verbal inspiration.  But, by the 1950s, the Mennonites had developed their own view on Biblical inspiration, one that upholds the authority of the Bible but in a reasonable and Christocentric manner.

This ‘third way’ approach to Scripture is reflected well in Biblical Revelation and Inspiration by Harold S. Bender.  His statement quoted above expresses the heart of my Neo-Anabaptist faith.  Below are some words from the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective that also reflect our view of Scripture.

We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life.”

“We seek to understand and interpret Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ as we are led by the Holy Spirit in the church.”

“Because Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh, Scripture as a whole has its center and fulfillment in him.”


Biblical Revelation and Inspiration –

Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective –