The Ana-Baptists (lit. Re-baptizers—a sub-division of the “Radical Reformation”) were people who were disatisfied with the “representative” religion of the Reformers (i.e. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, et al). These people have been broken down as the: Spiritualists (Mennonites, etc.), Evangelicals (Schweckanfeld), and the Unitarian Rationalist branches.

These “Radical Reformers” (the groups noted above) can be reduced down or united on certain core beliefs. Namely, their belief in the separation of church and state. They believed that in order to maintain the purity of the church, that there must be a definite split between the two. This countered the position of the “Reformers” and thus caused strife between the two groups. Conversely, another key belief was that they did not believe in “baby baptism” (viz. paedo-baptism). They believed that Scripture taught that only a “believer” in Christ ought to be baptized. This countered the ideas of the Reformers, like Ulrich Zwingli and others who believed that circumcision of the Old Testament had been replaced by baptism in the New Testament.

A keynote Ana-Baptist was named Conrad Grebel. He was originally a follower of Zwingli, but believed that Zwingli had erred, and was not following his own priniciple of the Reformation by testing all things by Scripture. Therefore in an act of separation Grebel “re-baptized” George Blaurock in an open display of the Ana-baptistic conviction to re-baptize and to show that they were definitely making a split from the Reformers.

Consequently the Ana-baptists were heavily persecuted by the Reformers, and Zwingli had a big part in this. Grebel ultimately was captured and imprisoned, and yet he escaped; but in his escape he died in flight.

The Ana-baptists brought an even more progressive thrust to this time frame; by further throwing off the “shackles” of the authority of the Catholic and even Protestant Proper (i.e. Reformed) churches. They were opposed by the Reformers because of their views on Church and State and baptism. Luther for example believed Church and State should work together–Ana-baptists did not. Ultimately the Ana-Baptists had a hard go of it, but their influence is felt even today (i.e. Mennonites, the Free Church movement, etc.).

Question: How would you identify, Reformed or Radically Reformed?

**The above was originally written as an essay response to a question posed for my “final” in my Reformation Theology class (seminary)–so it is a bit spotty and fragmented, and not comprehensive, but I did receive an “A” on the test 😉 . Anyway many of us who have been apart of the “Evangelical Church” have been part of a movement, the “Free Church”, initially spawned by folks like Conrad Grebel.**