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The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Anabaptist Christians have been around for almost 500 years. But what does Anabaptism look like when not clothed in Mennonite or Amish traditions? Writing from Great Britain, Stuart Murray peels back the layers to reveal the core components of Anabaptism and what they mean for faith in his context and ours. It's a way of following Jesus that challenges, disturbs, and inspi ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by Herald Press
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Clif Hostetler
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This book is written from the view point of a neo-Anabaptist. That is a person who comes from a background of main-line Christianity, has witnessed the slow demise of the traditional world view of imperial Christendom, and has concluded that the heart of true Christianity can be found in the Anabaptist tradition. The neo-Anabaptist may appear to embrace their discovery of Anabaptism with an enthusiasm of a new convert which those of us who were raised within the Anabaptist tradition may find sur ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been seeing increasing mentions of Anabaptists recently. Like many American Christians, probably the only associative reference I have of Anabaptists are groups such as the Amish, Mennonites, and Quakers. This book was a good introduction on some of the history, the core values, and how these values are practiced in contemporary society.

The title The Naked Anabaptist comes from the purpose of the book: to strip away group and cultural accouterments that are associated with forms of Anabap
Scott Corwin
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
No wonder I like this book!

My "general" Baptist background kindles in me warm affections for my Anabaptist cousins. Add to that my Anabaptist studies under the tutelage of Wayne Pipkin in Zürich and my interest in the theology/ethics of James William McClendon, Jr. and my 'baptist convictions are fanned into flame. On top of it all, T.B. Maston's Christ-centered, discipleship ethics--the focus of my doctoral studies--fueled my passions for a "life and teachings of Jesus" focus. (BTW:
Chase Parnell
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Christianity is a failed religion. Why? Because it has specialized in dealing with “spiritual needs” to the exclusion of physical and social needs. It has focused on “me” and “my eternal destiny,” but it has failed to address the dominant sociological and global realities of their lifetime: systemic injustice, poverty, and dysfunction.”

This book is all about the “post-Christendom” church and how the Anabaptist tradition might emerge as a model for authentic Christ-like faith. Discipleship, non
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Provides a great introduction to some of the core tenets of the tradition commonly held since the sixteenth century. Without trying to be the authoritative source for Anabaptist thought the author provides a great overview of the history, founding beliefs, and perspectives on why Anabaptist thought and practice is becoming increasingly popular in this post-Christendom age. I found myself constantly agreeing with the central topics as the author defined them (Following Jesus, Jesus-Centered Bible ...more
Adam Ross
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
A great book that strips away the frills from the Anabaptist movement, and would be an excellent book for anyone interested in the Anabaptist tradition or are simply looking for some fresh perspectives to bring into their own tradition.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting historical look at Anabaptist origins and how the life of the anabaptist is becoming more relevant in a post-christendom world.
Stephen London
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very helpful read if you are interested in learning from the Anabaptist approach to faith in Jesus, but not from a traditional Anabaptist background.
Jesse Rice
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was raised Anabaptist but have found myself drifting to a more liturgical stream of Christianity (Orthodoxy). This book, though sloppily written in some places, reminds me why I love Anabaptism so much: the focus on Christ, community, peace, simplicity and justice. There are surprising similarities to Orthodoxy and I'd forgotten them. But there are still those few nagging problems I have that keep me from being fully on board. I'll forever respect and remember my Anabaptist heritage, thanks to ...more
Weston Durrwachter
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Good introduction to Anabaptism. This is a good place to start for those interested in Anabaptism. Murray provides a concise history of the movement and the priorities of Anabaptists throughout the centuries (justice, peace, community, following Jesus, etc.)

The only negative of this book, in my mind, is that it felt extremely brief. Perhaps this is the point of a book on "the bare essentials" of Anabaptism. Anyone who is interested in going much deeper and learning more about the theology of An
Glenn Swanson
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well worth reading for all Christians and anyone interested in the history of the church. I appreciated that the author is not suggesting that Anabaptism is the “only way” and that he also included the weaknesses of this movement. Well researched and written in a spirit of love, truth and humility.
Adam Houser
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
New classic on what Anabaptism means and how to live a radical life of faith. I enjoyed that the author's perspective was not that of a North American Mennonite like myself.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of thoughts, which means it's a challenging and evocative read.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
First I have to say chapters one and two drove me a bit crazy with the "You might have encountered..." bits. This writing/editing needs some work.

Some thoughts from me about the tone of this book. It feels a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water:
-discussion of multivoiced church vs. mono-voiced church...are we all prepared to discuss in a weekly meeting (i.e. researched, time taken to think out, contextualized, etc)? This would be awesome if we were, but in a post-
Zaak Robichaud
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Ever since I was able to distinguish what anabaptists were from baptists, I have been intrigued by their story and their theology. My interactions and knowledge of anabaptists and their later affiliates have been:

seeing Hutterites at the farmer's market and out and about
the movie Witness set in an Amish settlement
many friends who grew up as Mennonites, or at least have Mennonite parentage
Paraguayan/German Mennonites to whom my wife taught English
the incredible
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Naked Anabaptist is indeed a great book that lifts the veil of modern day perceptions about the Anabaptist tradition and see what the Anabaptists truly believe. It allows its reader to look past the Amish family riding a horse-drawn carriage in Pennsylvania and see why they live the way they do based on Biblical principles. The same can be said for the Mennonites and Hutterites too.

In principle, the Anabaptist tradition is in my view perhaps the closest thing we have to true Biblical and Ki
Alan Stucky
Overall he does a very good job of articulating the core convictions of a particular group of people who are coming to Anabaptism from outside of the historical tradition. The core convictions (and the book) are strongly shaped by a lens of anti-Christendom, separation of church and state, and an understanding and skepticism of larger societal systems. If find myself resonating strongly with the 7 core convictions that he puts out, but I think that is because I probably come from a similar place ...more
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"No one can know Christ unless he follows after him in life...and no one can follow him unless he first knows him."

I grew up within the churches of Christ. However I always felt like an odd ball in the places the church of Christ resided during my life. This is partly to do with my fabulous parents, who constantly got our family's feet wet in all kinds of things. But it was partly because the churches of Christ had roots that were very Anabaptist and my family had stayed in touch wit
marcus miller
Oct 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a readable book which describes current religious movements in the UK influenced by Anabaptism. Murray tries to distill what he sees as the core principles of Anabaptism, stripping away the cultural traditions associated with today's Mennonites or Amish. In this process he looks at how culture, faith, politics, and religion intersect. I would encourage anyone interested in Anabaptism, Mennonites and current religious faith to read this book.

The tricky part comes with the ques
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I was excited about this book initially because I thought it would be a brief but entirely thorough history of the foundation of early Anabaptist tenets. And to some extent I was satisfied, though this book really read more like an introduction for someone with very little experience with Anabaptists, Mennonites or the like. There was one phrase that went something like "And that's another thing Anabaptists do" which was repeated over and over - almost like the current "And I'm a Mormon" campaig ...more
Donald Linnemeyer
Oct 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good. I wasn't used to the modern evangelical tone - you know what I mean; the sort of ambiguously spiritual and... friendly(?) sort of thing - and it took a while to get used to it. But Murray was just being open and honest, and that honesty became more and more apparent as the book went on. He offers a basic, introductory account of what he thinks it means to be anabaptist. He doesn't try to prove his stance really, and at times, I was a bit skeptical of the direction he w ...more
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book partially because I had wanted to, and because I was coordinating a Sunday School book study on it.

The book is fairly short, and my comments will be, as well.

I particularly appreciated the even-handed analysis of the Anabaptist traditions and practices, frequently acknowledging both shortcomings and strengths.

I appreciated the loosely-held aspect of much of the commentary, that acknowledged what exists, what other things have existed, as well
Dec 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: theological
Stuart Murray is a member of the Anabaptist Network in Great Britain and reflects on the principles of Anabaptism and how certain segments of the church are experiencing renewal in this post Christendom age by studying and applying the basic principles of Anbaptism. His book is an attempt to describe and explain how this oppressed Christian group from the 1500's speaks to the needs of European Christians today. I am not sure how applicable his insights are for an American context, as we are stil ...more
Jul 24, 2010 rated it liked it
once again, christendom gets a well-deserved scolding. but,
these neo-anabaptists are getting under my skin a little bit.
Take this sort of blather: "the anabaptist explores ways to empower________ (elderly, women, etc)"
explain that phrase to the young bride in prison who has just heard that her husband has been burned for heresy and is now facing the same fate as soon as her infant is weaned and taken from her.
or to the retching bleeding peasant just out of a
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like having the thoughts of my theological journey in printed form. While I didn't learn a lot from this book that I was not already it confirmed to me how much of my life has been impacted by Anabaptism. I felt a stronger confidence in who I am and who I'm trying to become though I still create more messes than I clean up. I really appreciated the succinct outline of the anabaptist core competencies as well as the outline of the potential pitfalls in the attempt to fit the ...more
Veronica Zundel
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
From one of the major leaders of the Anabaptist movement in the UK, this is an attempt to explore what Anabaptism is like stripped of the cultural accretions of historic Anabaptist churches (Mennonites etc). Very readable, nothing new to me as I have been in this scene for nearly 20 years, but definitely a book that had to be written. It will be a very useful resource not only for the UK Anabaptist scene, but for 'cultural Anabaptists' who need a refreshing of their tradition.
Circle of Hope Pastors
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: doing-theology, wind
Stuart Murray offers a rich exposition of Anabaptist thought and principles; written for a European audience, much of his critique is based on "post-Christendom." Since the United States, since its inception, has valued the separation of church and state, his analysis is limited. It's still effective in deducing the basic of Anabaptism (as a movement and school of thought, not necessarily a denomination.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stuart Murray offers a rich exposition of Anabaptist thought and principles; written for a European audience, much of his critique is based on "post-Christendom." Since the United States, since its inception, has valued the separation of church and state, his analysis is limited. It's still effective in deducing the basic of Anabaptism (as a movement and school of thought, not necessarily a denomination.
Russ Skinner
Really enjoyed this book. Planning on going back to check out the many links provided in the footnotes. (Reading it on an e-reader was a mixed blessing; even the links I wanted to check out weren't possible at that point.)

I will be doing an extended review in a blog post soon, and will post a link here when I do.

For now, highly recommend this book to any who are Anabaptist or know anyone who is.
Richard Coombs
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church-history
This is a useful introduction to Anabaptist history, theology and discipleship. It's written in a friendly way - like the author is simply chatting with you in the same room. I appreciated the emphases on accountability, community, and the social dimensions of living out their faith through justice and non-violence. There is some repetitiveness in the book but not too much to distract. Glad I read it and appreciated the content.
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Stuart Murray Williams works as a trainer and consultant under the auspices of the Anabaptist Network. Based in Bristol, he travels widely in the UK and overseas and works with local churches, mission agencies, denominational leaders, conferences and individuals. He has worked with at least 25 denominations in recent years. His particular areas of expertise are in:
•Church planting
•Emerging chu
“As followers, we do not claim to have arrived at the destination, nor need we distinguish ourselves from others who are at different stages of the journey. Belonging, believing, and behaving can all be interpreted as aspects of following. Churches that are committed to following Jesus can then welcome fellow travelers unreservedly and unconditionally. But their ethos is one of following, learning, changing, growing, and moving forward.” 2 likes
“We believe that the Christendom era has bequeathed a form of Christianity that has marginalized, spiritualized, domesticated, and emasculated Jesus. The teaching of Jesus is watered down, privatized, and explained away. Jesus is worshipped as a remote kingly figure or a romanticized personal savior. In” 1 likes
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