the weblog of Alan Knox

Anabaptist Accountability

Posted by on Aug 17, 2007 in blog links, church history, discipleship | 4 comments

Dave Black has posted the seventh article in his series on Abaptist belief and practices: “What I Have Learned from the Anabaptists (Part 7)“. This article deals with how the Anbaptists held one another accountable to know what they believe and to live according to those beliefs.

It is easy to get bogged down in discussions and disagreements about opinions that have little to do with faith in Christ and living according to that faith. These kinds of disagreements tend to distract and hinder the work of the Spirit through a believer and through a group of believers. Dave quoted John Wesley, who said:

I will not quarrel with you about my opinions; only see that your heart is right toward God, that you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ; that you love your neighbor, and walk as your Master walked, and I desire no more. I am sick of opinions; am weary to bear them; my soul loathes this frosty food. Give me solid and substantial religion; give me a humble, gentle lover of God and man; a man full of mercy and good faith, without partiality and without hypocrisy; a man laying himself out in the work of faith, the patience of hope, the labor of love. Let my soul be with these Christians wheresoever they are, and whatsoever opinion they are of.

Like Wesley, it is my desire to focus on living a life of faith, not quarrelling over opinions. This is not always easy. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lose an argument if it means strengthening a brother’s or sister’s faith and maturing them toward Christ.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-17-2007

    I will label my comment, “the little brother syndrome.”

    Growing up my little brother looked up to me and respected me more than anyone, I think. We spent every day playing together. I could tell him anything and he would believe me because I was older and wiser in his eyes. Little did he know that I didn’t no what I was talking about most of the time. It was only my uneducated opinion. But, he took my opinions as fact and if his friends or anyone else challenged those facts he would argue them till the point of exhaustion or tears or even throwing knuckles.(Na…ah, my brother said…)

    I think a lot of “pastors” try to play the role of the big brother. They think they no so much more than the little brothers and they teach their still immature opinions as facts, intentionally or not. Little brother is going to think they are fact because big brother has spent so…much…time investigating and studying the scriptures. Well, so has the other guys big brother, so…this leads to war.(My pastor said…no my pastor said…no, etc.)

    Oh, and when my little brother got into those fights/arguments you know what I did…”Dad, they’re fighting”, and little brother got a spanking because of me. Sad huh!


  2. 8-17-2007

    I used to be a “right fighter.” Looking back, I don’t think it produced any good fruit at any time. I appreciate the quotation from John Wesley and think that this kind of thinking is the best way toward true unity in the Church.

  3. 8-17-2007

    Thought you might appreciate this quote from George MacDonald

    “Even if your plan, your theories, were absolutely true, the holding of them with sincerity, the trusting in this or that about Christ, or in anything he did or could do, the trusting in anything but Himself, his own living self, is a delusion.

    I do not say that with this sad folly may not mingle a potent faith in the Lord himself; but I do say that the importance they place on theory is even more sadly obstructive to true faith than such theories themselves: while the mind is occupied in enquiring,‘Do I believe or feel this thing right?’—the true question is forgotten: ‘Have I left all to follow him?’ To the man who gives himself to the living Lord, every belief will necessarily come right; the Lord himself will see that his disciple believe aright concerning him. If a man cannot trust him for this, what claim can he make to faith in him? It is because he has little or no faith, that he is left clinging to preposterous and dishonouring ideas, the traditions of men concerning his Father.

    What is faith in him?’ I answer, The leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him; the leaving of your trust in men , in money, in opinion, in character, in atonement itself, and doing as he tells you. I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity—this obedience. It is the one terrible heresy of the church, that it has always been presenting something else than obedience as faith in Christ.”

  4. 8-17-2007


    I’ve been the big brother and the little brother. Great analogy, thanks!


    “Right fighter”… good description. I agree that loving will lead to unity, but fighting will not.

    C Grace,

    Wonderful quote! Thank you! I have a feeling that I will thinking about these lines in particular for several days to come: “while the mind is occupied in enquiring,‘Do I believe or feel this thing right?’—the true question is forgotten: ‘Have I left all to follow him?’”