First Generation Anabaptist Ecclesiology, 1525-1561: A Study of Swiss, German, and Dutch Sources

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Previous works on the Anabaptist have often been told from the viewpoint of their persecutors. This book examines and frequently quotes the sixteenth century Anabaptists (from available English translations) and seeks to present their doctrine of the church in context, providing a critical assessment of their writings.


“Protestants and Roman Catholics, often with deliberate lack of precision, used the word “Anabaptist” as a polemical to describe all who dared to oppose the evils of state-church systems. Such misuse of the term arbitrarily stereotyped and caricatured Bible-believing ecclesial Anabaptists by lumping them with mystics, rationalists, Unitarians, and even pantheists. Dennis Bollinger has contributed an objective, balanced, readable, and valuable account that sets the record straight without overlooking faults. Both the specialist and the casual reader will benefit from this refreshing and informative work.” - Prof. David O. Beale, PhD, Bob Jones University

“What emerges most clearly [from this study] is a comprehension of the practical side Anabaptist theology. Anabaptist ideas revolve around their concept of the church, and mostly local church at that. This work is a credible effort to understand the Anabaptists on their own terms.” – Prof. Mark Sidwell, Bob Jones University

“[The author] has done a service to all who wish to understand Anabaptist ecclesiology and its connections, or the lack thereof, to other ecclesiologies both before and since. He has shown their affinity with the magisterial reformers and their reluctance to part ways. He has shown how Anabaptist ecclesiology arose form Scriptural exegesis, regardless of whether it was affected by social, political, and economic conditions. He has also shown the danger of the past tendency of some to build a Baptist ecclesiology on an Anabaptist foundation. Perhaps most significantly, his conclusions are based on English translations of the original source, affording easier verification of his research to a wider audience.” - Prof. Steven L. Ware, Nyack College

Table of Contents

1. Genesis of Anabaptism
2. Nature and Membership of the Church
3. Church Function and Church Government
4. Church Discipline
5. Church Ministry and Worship
6. Baptism
7. The Lord’s Supper and Other Ordinances
8. Future Hope of the Church
9. Conclusion
Table 1

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