A Call for Recovery of the Visual Arts in Anabaptist Worship

Traditionally, Anabaptists have been wary of the visual arts in worship. This article, however, observes that modern culture presents unique challenges that were not present during the early Anabaptist opposition to the arts and that can be met by artists. Thus, the article calls for a union of art and ethics and a dual concern for both the transcendent and immanent, resulting in the intentional and imaginative use of the visual arts in worship.

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An Anabaptist Theology of Worship

Anabaptists see the church as a radical body of believing disciples. Worship arises out of this community of faith and is simple and egalitarian. It recounts God’s story of redeeming love through the ongoing experience of the community of faith.

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A Reformation Model of Worship: Anabaptist, Balthasar Hubmaier’s “A Form For Christ’s Supper” (1527)

The liturgy below is of an Anabaptist group in Waldshut. Unlike other Anabaptists, this community was not on the run, but settled in a place where the people enjoyed greater freedom of worship. These Anabaptists were also led by a minister who was a liturgical scholar.

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Anabaptists

In general the Anabaptists were peaceful and drew disaffected persons of various sorts. Yet, while it was primarily a religious movement, it included some who were fanatical in their anticipation of the second coming of Christ and who were eager to hurry it along.

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