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Subject: [BRE] Pietism and Anabaptism
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 23:01:17 GMT


One of the strengths (and sometimes weaknesses) of the Brethren is the balance or the lack of balance between Pietism and Anabaptism. The early Brethren borrowed from both systems of thought. They realized the necessity of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They also realized there was a need for structure in their religious lives. The Pietists emphasized the personal qualities of our relationship with God. The Anabaptist realized the need of community among believers.
During the past 300 years there have been swings from one side to the other. In the early days there was a strong dose of Pietism, later Anabaptism became dominant. The Brethren have suffered when they lost their balance. When every man did what was right in his own eyes, the community suffered. When the community framed miiniscule rules the personal relationship was threatened. There were times that the Brethren inched towards legalism, but there were other times and places where the Brethren majored in the mystical and otherworldly.
A wise balance between the two systems gave the Brethren the best of both. When unbalanced there were problems.
Milton Cook
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