Back in June, Radio National featured a program on Anabaptism and interviewed several Anabaptists from Australia and New Zealand:
I think the speakers were eloquent and the presentation was good. I liked the emphasis on radical discipleship and that Jarrod got a chance to mention Peace Tree. I was disappointed, though, that the program didn’t emphasise the Anabaptist vision of church – which is the most important part for me.
I also note Chris Marshall’s comments on scripture, which sound a lot like what Ray Gingerich was saying on his visit – indeed, I wonder if this position is becoming ‘anbaptist orthodoxy’:
As well as the kind of ethical Christocentrism, a feeling that Jesus teaches us how to live, and we must take literally what he says, also there is the kind of hermeneutical Christocentrism which is that when we read the Bible, and we try to work out what in the Bible is still God’s word for today, because the Bible’s a very diverse document and has lots of violent bits in it, how do we decide how the Bible is relevant for today, that one of the key tests is it must be consistent with the way of Christ. So what we read in Scripture that is not consistent with the way of Christ, no longer has authority for today. What we read in any part of Scripture that is consistent with the way of Christ, continues to be God’s word for today.
What Chris says here is not going to win many friends for Anabaptism among Evangelicals. I’m ambivalent. I think he puts the case too strongly. All scripture should function authoritatively in some way for Christians. I think we have to wrestle with the parts that don’t seem consistent with Christ; God may still speak to us through them.