What does it look like to be an Anabaptist community in the modern world? And why does it matter?
A new incarnation of Anabaptism is emerging, but not where we might expect. In the United Kingdom—a post-Christendom context with little historical Anabaptist presence—Christian communities are embodying fresh expressions of Anabaptist faith and practice. In this companion to The Naked Anabaptist, author Stuart Murray identifies twelve common practices of such churches and communities that are shaped by an Anabaptist vision.
Murray explores how these practices—which include encouraging economic radicalism in the face of rampant consumerism, truth-telling in a “post-truth” society, and accountability in an individualistic culture that knows little about the Christian story—might shape emerging Christian communities and inspire those seeking fresh expressions as cultural changes accelerate. The book concludes with three on-the-ground reports from ministry leaders pursuing this Anabaptist vision in their own post-Christendom contexts.
The New Anabaptists provides foundational resources for followers of Jesus in many different settings as they rise to the challenge of faithful and radical discipleship in local communities.
Introduction: The New Anabaptists in Practice
Section 1: From Core Convictions to Common Practices
1. Starting with Jesus
2. Baptism and communion
3. Multi-voiced church
5. Sharing resources
6. Peaceful witness
Section 2: Common Practices in Context
1. Peaceful Borders
2. Soulspace, Belfast
3. The Incarnate Project
4. Contribution from South Africa
5. Contribution from Australia
6. Contribution from Canada
Conclusion: The Anabaptist Vision in Post-Christendom
Stuart Murray is a church planter, trainer, mentor, writer, strategist, and consultant. Since 2001, he has worked under the auspices of the Anabaptist Mennonite Network as a trainer and consultant, with a particular interest in urban mission, church planting, and emerging forms of church. In 2014, he became the founding director of the Centre for Anabaptist Studies, based at Bristol Baptist College. Stuart has written several books, including Post-Christendom (2004), Church after Christendom (2005), and The Naked Anabaptist (2010), among others. He lives in Canterbury, is married to Sian, who is a Baptist minister, and has two grown sons and three grandchildren.
“I encourage broad use of The New Anabaptists. It builds on the foundations of the early Anabaptist movement by reporting how current believers in new places and in new ways are sharing their faith and practices. We may see many churches declining, but Stuart Murray’s book helps us see it emerging in new, creative ways. This book gives me hope for the future of the Anabaptist church in post-Christendom.”
~PALMER BECKER, speaker, pastor, church planter, missionary, educator, and author of Anabaptist Essentials
“Offering an excellent companion volume to his earlier book The Naked Anabaptist, Stuart Murray’s TheNew Anabaptists fleshes out the faith practices that characterize emerging Anabaptist (and Anabaptist-adjacent) communities. Murray offers a refreshing articulation of how Anabaptist theology might translate into the real-world experience of Christ followers in a variety of contemporary settings. This vision will be appealing to scholars, clergy, students, and laity alike as it inspires dreams for how an Anabaptist faith might be practiced in the twenty-first century.”
~MELANIE HOWARD, associate professor of biblical and theological studies and chair of the Biblical and Religious Studies division at Fresno Pacific University
“As I read The New Anabaptists, I kept remembering the moments when my children entered this world: it was fraught with danger, full of pain, noisy, messy, and full of apprehension—yet those were among the most beautiful and life-giving moments of my existence. Such is the nature of the core practices that Stuart Murray describes when lived out: they can be difficult, there are dangers to watch out for, and we may experience apprehension—yet when we put them into practice, we also experience the life-giving Spirit of God. This book will likely challenge something about the way that you live, but any challenge rooted in leading us closer to Jesus is worth the discomfort it may cause.”
~KEVIN WIEBE, senior pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Stevenson, Ontario, and author of Faithful in Small Things
“What a thoughtful, honest, and practical resource for those yearning for authentic neo-Anabaptist expressions of Christian life! Here is a vision of what such a life might look like, grounded in actual communities and their accounts of struggle as well as joy of being part of something life-giving and life-transforming. While particular in its focus and context, this book will be an inspiration to many, not only in Britain and Ireland but also far beyond.”
~REV. DR. LINA TOTH, theologian, educator, and author of Singleness and Marriage After Christendom
“The church in the West faces an identity crisis that has us reaching for a way of being church that matters more in our lives and to the world. Here is a timely call to take stock in this liminal space, seeking an ancient way that can point us to a more Jesus-centered, collaborative, generous, honest, peace-filled, and just expression of the faith. Stuart Murray and his colleagues humbly offer a winsome description of shared practices for Anabaptist Christians that can form emerging and existing Christian communities toward a renewed identity and witness for our time.”
~DAVID BOSHART, president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
“In this thought-provoking book, Stuart Murray Williams explores the outworking of Anabaptist convictions and values through specific practices, and three further chapters written by practitioners demonstrate how both values and practices are being expressed in specific situations. Inspiring and practical, The New Anabaptists will be invaluable for individuals and communities seeking to be faithful followers of Jesus today.”
~LINDA WILSON, chair of Anabaptist Mennonite Network
“A number of Jesus followers in Britain and Ireland have been courting Anabaptism for several decades. More recently they have strengthened that relationship by ‘announcing their engagement’ through a set of Anabaptist-inspired common practices and by undertaking new peacemaking and church planting initiatives. This is their story. If you are wondering what vibrant, authentic, and local Anabaptist life and witness might look like in their post-Christendom context and other settings like it, this book should rise to the top of your reading list.”
~JAMES R. KRABILL, visiting professor at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Dallas International University