Sunday, February 26, 2006
Anabaptists and Tithing
Anabaptists (c.a. 1525) in general, and the Swiss Anabaptists more specifically, reacted radically to the use and abuse of tithing and they called for its abolition. Leaders of these groups included Felix Mantz, Conrad Grebel, Simon Stumpf, and Wilhelm Reublin, all of whom Zwingli had an impact on. Hubmaier, the Hutterites, and Thomas Müntzer also opposed the exacting of tithes. The Anabaptists maintained that the New Testament taught nothing about tithing and paints a picture of Christians having all things in common. Some even believed that Christians should not own property; instead, they must have everything in common: communalism. Not all were this radical, however. For example, while Hubmaier believed that Christians should help those in need liberally, he rejected as scriptural the command to relinquish private property. Generally, Anabaptists believed that the New Testament was the sole source for life in the current dispensation. Ministers of the gospel should be supported through voluntary contributions by the congregations they serve.
Resources on Anabaptists and Tithing:
E. Belfort Bax, Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2001; 1903), 12, 31, 37.
J. F. Gerhard Goeters, “Die Vorgeschichte des Täufertums in Zürich,” in Studien zur Geschichte und Theologie der Reformation: Festschrift für Ernst Bizer, eds. Luise Abramowski and J. F. Gerhard Goeters (Germany: Neukirchener Verlag, 1969), 255–59.
James M. Stayer, The German Peasants’ War and Anabaptist Community of Goods (London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991), 61–62, 95–106.
Thomas N. Finger, A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004), 19–20, 236.
Meic Pearse, The Great Restoration: The Religious Radicals of the 16th and 17th Centuries (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998), 77.
Abraham Friesen, Thomas Muentzer, a Destroyer of the Godless: The Making of a Sixteenth-Century Religious Revolutionary (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), 193–94.
Richard Heath, Anabaptism (London: Alexander and Shepheard, 1895), 29.
R. J. Smithson, The Anabaptists: Their Contribution to our Protestant Heritage (London: James Clarke, 1935), 122–23, 128–30, 148.
Ludwig Keller, Geschichte der Wiedertäufer und ihres Reichs zu Münster (Münster: Verlag der Coppenrathschen Buch und Kunsthandlung, 1880), 11.