There are a couple of posts that I've been meaning to follow-up for months.
Firstly, I really do intend to carry on the series
. I was reminded of this recently, when I saw that Brian Maclaren's been reading some books on the topic
I also said a while ago that I would be writing more explicitly on anabaptist themes. I'll do that by following-up my earlier post on anabaptism seperation
(and the Amish in the City programme).
The funny thing is that these two themes are related. It's well known that there was a branch of anabaptism (often referred to as 'spiritualist') that embraced universalism. Many historians and/or anabaptist theologians often dismiss this group as not really anabaptist, but that seem to be a case of disowning the embarrassing family members.
I for one am glad that this "fringe" existed in early anabaptism. (In fact, it still exists today. One popular universalist book
of recent years was written by a Mennonite minister.) I'm glad that "anabaptist" is not defined by one's eschatology. Though we don't go as far as the Quakers, I'm also glad that the core essence of anabaptism (and thus the deciding factor in whether one is or is not an anabaptist) is not doctrinal; it's ethical. Of course, the two are related, but it's a question of emphasis. I'd rather that you follow Christ than that you learn to parrot the Creed's definition of his two natures!
(I'm not saying - and, before the flames start flying, have never
said - that I'm a universalist. But I will now admit that I don't think you need to be a Christian to get into heaven. I don't think that "getting into heaven" is what it's all about. It's surely about following Christ in the way of sacrificial love. And I'm not at all convinced that someone needs to call themselves a Christian to do that.)
Anyway, this is all simply a reminder to me to get on with these posts that I said I'd write ages