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Who are the Mennonites?

Frequently Asked Questions
About Mennonites

What is the relationship between the terms "Anabaptist" and "Mennonite?"

"Anabaptist" is an umbrella name referring to those denominations that trace their roots to the Anabaptist movement which began in the early 1500's (see also FAQ "How did the Mennonite Church Begin?") Mennonites today have their roots in the renewal movement of the Anabaptists.

The Anabaptists were a group of Christian dissenters at the time of the 16th century Reformation who sought a return to New Testament Christianity. The term "Anabaptist" refers to the practice of rebaptizing persons who had already been baptized in infancy. Anabaptists believed that they represented a third option, an option that was neither Protestant nor Catholic. They believed that the church should be a group of voluntary adults, baptized upon confession of faith, and like the first Christians, separated from the world and state.

Mennonites continue to hold to a number of the key beliefs of the early Anabaptists:

  • The church as a body of those who have been converted and have turned from sin to Christ and in whom God's Spirit dwells.
  • The church as community where each member is of equal importance before God.
  • The importance of loving and caring for each other (mutual aid).
  • A forgiving love in all of life - with one's family, church members, neighbors and all people in the world.
  • The separation of church and state.

Anabaptist groups include the Mennonite Church, Old Order Amish, General Conference Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Church of the Brethren, Old Order Mennonite, Evangelical Mennonite, and many more. Additionally, there are a number of groups of Christians around the world who identify with Anabaptist thought, but are not connected with a specific Mennonite group. For instance, there is an active "Anabaptist Network" of Christians in England.

If your question has not been answered go to our Mennonite Glossary, or Information Request Form to send your question or comment.

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