Welcome to the
Anabaptist Theology Forum

For many years we have been an open group of people who have met twice yearly to enjoy the challenge of new theological ideas, great company, inspiring conversation, and good food. During the Covid pandemic we have replaced these physical gatherings with more regular online sessions. Although there’s no food, we have been pleased to welcome more people who might not otherwise have been able to attend.
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Upcoming Meetings

Although restrictions have been eased, the future of in-person gatherings seems rather uncertain, not least once we head into the autumn. Partly because of this, but mainly because the online events have been popular, we will continue to run online Forums in the autumn and the first part of next year. Hopefully, we can arrange an in-person event later in 2022.

Programme

The Autumn Sessions are now complete, and we are planning the programme for next year.
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Please find below the highlights of some recent sessions, many of which can now be found on our YouTube channel.

The ‘Two-Kingdoms’ After Christendom: A Quaker Case Study, with Stuart Masters

Anabaptists and other radical Christian groups have tended to make a stark distinction between two kingdoms: the temporary and imperfect kingdoms of this world; and the eternal and perfect kingdom of Christ. These kingdoms are regarded as incompatible with one another, and fundamentally in conflict. In this session, Stuart Masters will draw on the experience of the early Quaker community, and the way the movement changed over time, to explore the relevance (or not) of two kingdoms theology today, particularly in a time of global pandemic. What does it mean to be individuals and communities who aspire to be ruled by Christ within a modern pluralist society?

Stuart Masters is a Learning and Research Team Leader at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham, UK. He is the West Midlands Regional Representative for the Anabaptist Mennonite Network.

Post-pandemic Church: a conversation with practitioners, with Karen Sethuraman and Keith Short

Karen Sethuraman is a Baptist minister in Northern Ireland, who leads a missional initiative/community called Soulspace in Belfast. She is embarking on a PhD looking at the relevance of the Anabaptist vision for church in post-conflict Northern Ireland.

Keith Short is based at St John’s Church, Linlithgow and is the leader of the Scottish Network Churches. Reading The Naked Anabaptist convinced him that Anabaptist core convictions are at the heart of this Network and he is encouraging others to read it.

Karen and Keith will be in conversation with Stuart Murray Williams, reflecting on what they and others have learned during the period of pandemic restrictions and how church might be different as we move forward.

Centre for Anabaptist Studies annual lecture: Paul, Nachfolge Christi and Gelassenheit: Reading Paul with the Radical Reformers, with Lloyd Pietersen

Since the Reformation the dominant Protestant view has been that justification by faith is at the heart of Paul’s theology. Anabaptists, whilst recognising the importance of justification by faith, insisted that true believers sought to follow the example of Jesus and that their faith resulted in transformed lives. The themes of Nachfolge Christi and Gelassenheit occur regularly in their writings. Whilst mainstream Protestants arguably made Paul and “the Christ of faith” central to their theology, Anabaptists insisted on the centrality of the Jesus of the Gospels. This lecture, however, seeks to challenge this simplistic notion of a “Protestant Paul” over against an “Anabaptist Jesus” and, by drawing on a sampling of sixteenth century Anabaptist writers, argues that Anabaptists saw Paul as a prime exemplar of both the imitation of Christ and true yieldedness. By drawing attention to these Anabaptist readings this lecture seeks to provide an Anabaptist contribution to contemporary debates surrounding the New Perspective on Paul.

Lloyd Pietersen first trained as a chartered accountant and served for many years as Treasurer of the Anabaptist Network. He left accountancy to become a teaching elder in a large church in Bristol where his teaching responsibilities led to a desire to pursue further academic training in biblical studies. His doctoral research was published as “The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity.” Lloyd is currently an honorary research fellow at Bristol Baptist College and editor of Anabaptism Today. He teaches two of the core modules on the MA programme at the Centre for Anabaptist Studies. He is also the author of Reading the Bible After Christendom. Lloyd is working on an academic monograph provisionally titled Reading Paul with the Radical Reformers and also hopes to write a volume on Paul for the ‘After Christendom’ series.
These meetings are all held via Zoom. Please download and read our Online Protocols document to understand how our meetings work.
Online Protocols

Past Sessions

One advantage of moving online is that we have been able to record the sessions and post them on our new Facebook channel.
Please visit and have a look at the varied topics we have been exploring.

News

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Run in partnership with the Anabaptist Mennonite Network