What is a Mennonite?
Mennonites are one branch of “Anabaptists” in the Christian movement. This branch came about 500 years ago when a small group of Jesus-followers were arrested and killed for a radical interpretation of baptism. 500 years ago, “baptism” was done to babies as a way of enlisting them onto the citizenship roles of the State. Baptism had been co-opted by various Empires to make citizens. The citizenship lists were kept from baptism records in the State-run churches.
Anabaptist means “Re-Baptize.” These folks (with new access to Bibles thanks to the printing press and the many new translations) were reading the ancient Scriptures during the upheaval of the Reformation. They decided to baptize adults who wanted to follow the teachings of Jesus and the explanations of Paul.
To Re-Baptize someone was criminal. It’s akin to burning a flag today, or falsifying voting records–it was a rejection of their Empire citizenship and an affront to the political order.
Menno Simons was a Catholic priest who became a radical Anabaptist who challenged the ways Empire citizenship so mangled our true identities in God’s family. His writings about church organization and faith life together were so influential that a movement of churches took on his name: “Mennonites.” There are many and wide variations of Mennonite churches but generally they are distinctive in their pacifism, the commitment to maintaining separation between the Church and political power, the valuing of radical honesty over binding oaths, the practice of baptism as a Sacrament that only happens when individuals can articulate their own faith, and the practice of Communion as a Sacrament that binds the church together and into God’s will.
Who we are, what we believe
We are Mennonites. While there are many variations of Mennonite churches, we all share some distinctive beliefs and principles.
What do we Believe?
At the San Antonio Mennonite Church we follow Jesus the Messiah, son of the Living God.
We are committed to the Good News that Jesus reigns in a Kingdom that has come to us.
As a Church family of faith we participate in God’s miraculous and ongoing restoration of a broken and violent world, symbolized by our baptism: the transformation of drowning into new life, our communion: the transformation of suffering into sacred unity, and the Cross: the transformation of violence into God’s eternal victory.
Learn more about us with this YouTube video playlist.