Confused about the difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals? While they both share a commitment to living out their Christian faith, there are some significant differences between these two groups. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into the distinct beliefs and practices of Anabaptists and Evangelicals in order to help provide clarity on this important topic. Whether you’re looking for an overview of how these two denominations differ or just wanting to gain insight into why one is different from the other, by the end of this article you’ll have a better understanding of what sets them apart.
Who are Anabaptists?
Anabaptists are part of the Protestant movement in Christianity. Though Anabaptism is diverse, Anabaptists generally share beliefs on adult baptism and nonresistance to violence. Anabaptists trace their heritage to Radical Reformation movements in the 16th century.
- Anabaptists began as a group rejecting re-baptism which was seen by them as unconvincing because they believed that only adult believers could make the conscious decision to be baptized within the church.
- Anabaptists also practice a commitment to peace, seeing violence as antithetical to Christian teachings and instead emphasizing reconciliation and peacemaking. Anabaptism today has about 3 million adherents across multiple denominations, largely based in North America, Europe, India and Latin America.
- Anabaptism continues as an active strain within many Protestant churches today where adherents continue to celebrate the depth of spiritual connection that Anabaptist theology promotes.
Who are Evangelicals?
Evangelicals are a type of Protestant Christian that have a strong emphasis and fundamental belief in Evangelical teachings. Evangelicals represent a very diverse group, ranging from Baptists and Pentecostals to independent Evangelical churches.
- Evangelical Christians place heavy emphasis on evangelism – the act of spreading their faith to non-believers – and believe that salvation lies in accepting Jesus as one’s personal savior.
- Evangelicals emphasize living according to scripture and hold traditional moral teachings as essential core beliefs; this often results in Evangelicals identifying strongly with certain political parties and social values.
- Evangelicals differ from tradition forms of Christianity due to their strong focus on character building and bridging any spiritual gap between believers and non-believers, as well as strongly asserting their form of Christianity above others.
Difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals
Anabaptists and Evangelicals may have some similarities, but their beliefs about the core aspects of Christianity are markedly different.
- An Anabaptist’s faith is based on a central principle of adult believers baptizing other adults as an outward sign of the inner decision to follow Jesus.
- An evangelical, meanwhile, believes that salvation comes solely through faith in Jesus Christ and is usually associated with traditional doctrinal positions such as biblical inerrancy.
- An Anabaptist’s way of living focuses on simplicity and peacemaking however an evangelical’s emphasis is more so on evangelism and conversion.
- An Anabaptist will be more open to adapting its practices according to changes within its local context while an Evangelical holds strong to core beliefs even if they may differ from wider social norms or cultural beliefs.
Although both denominations claim to be biblical, Anabaptists are unique in understanding Jesus’ teachings through the lens of non-violence, whereas evangelicals place a stronger emphasis on political engagement for changing society.
Though both Anabaptists and Evangelicals share some commonalities, there are also several key ways in which they differ. For one, Anabaptists tend to be much more focused on social justice issues than Evangelicals. Additionally, while Evangelicals generally believe that it is possible for people to be “saved” after they die, Anabaptists typically do not believe this is the case. As you can see, there are a number of important differences between these two groups of Christians. It is important to understand these differences if you want to accurately communicate with members of either group.