The Anabaptist difference

"Anabaptist Essentials": a new book from author and educator Palmer Becker
by
MennoMedia staff
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April 4, 2017
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Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia
Book cover
Palmer Becker

What makes Anabaptism different from other Christian traditions? According to author Palmer Becker, it can be explained by three words: Jesus. Community. Reconciliation.

In the new resource Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith (Herald Press, March 2017), Becker introduces readers to the key convictions and practices of Anabaptism. Becker is also the author of the small volume, What Is an Anabaptist Christian? now published in 20 languages.

In an episode of his “Revisionist History” podcast, Author Malcolm Gladwell says of Becker’s three key words, “It’s hard to explain to an outsider how seriously the Mennonites take these three things: Jesus, community, and reconciliation.”

Publishers Weekly calls Anabaptist Essentials “an easy, engaging read for those who want to learn, or be reminded of, what Christianity is all about.” It adds that the section on conflict “should be assigned reading for every Christian for its clear-eyed assessment of conflict and effective nonviolent strategies for engaging and transforming it.”

In Anabaptist Essentials, Becker explains the core beliefs of Anabaptism and clearly lays out the differences that define the tradition. Becker explains, “In this book I unapologetically describe ten ways in which Anabaptist Christians are uniquely different from many, or even most, Christians. Anabaptists have often downplayed differences with other believers and highlighted similarities.” While seeking common ground is a good impulse, Becker says, “this quest for unity has also muted many of the unique qualities and strengths that the Anabaptist tradition might offer to the wider church.”

Designed for study in small groups and for use as a basic resource for Christian formation and conversation, the guide includes illustrations and discussion questions. Spanish and French editions of Anabaptist Essentials are planned for release in June 2017.

Becker is a speaker, pastor, church planter, missionary, author, and educator who has undertaken numerous short term ministry assignments with Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network. A graduate of Goshen College, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Regent College, and Fuller Theological Seminary, Becker most recently served as director of the Hesston College pastoral ministries program, before moving to Ontario in semi-retirement.

To schedule an interview with Palmer Becker, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Anabaptist Essentials is available to borrow or for purchase at www.commonword.ca/go/1129