Dr. Malcolm Yarnell is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Director of the Oxford Study Program, Director of the Center for Theological Research, and Editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology. Dr. Yarnell also authored, contributed to and/or edited several published works including his enlightening monograph on The Formation of Christian Doctrine. In a recent Baptist Press article entitled “Why we celebrate Radical Reformation Day” he explains its significance for Southern Baptists:
On this day in 1525, after an extended period of intense Bible study in the original languages, a period described by an early chronicler as an “extraordinary awakening and preparation by God,”1 the first Anabaptists or “Brothers,” as they called themselves, recovered the New Testament practice of baptizing only believers
Consequently, according to Yarnell,
For us, today, perhaps the most relevant doctrinal result of the Extraordinary Awakening was the fact that the cherished beliefs which we call “Baptist identity” — such as utter devotion to Jesus as the only Lord of the church, believers-only baptism, congregationalism, and the separation of church and state — received their first definition at this time.
The article in its entirety is worth your time: Why we celebrate Radical Reformation Day by Malcolm Yarnell.
1Dr. Yarnell’s original footnote “Beginning in the 16th century, Hutterite leaders compiled the “Great Chronicle” from original records gathered over many years. The quotations cited in the present essay come from the translation in “Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers,” ed. George H. Williams and Angel M. Mergal, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957), pp. 41-46. For more detail on the rise of the Anabaptists, see William R. Estep, “The Anabaptist Story: An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism,” 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996).