The Anabaptist Story
by Stanley A. Nelson

This material comprises the first of four parts in Dr. Nelson's A Believers' Church Theology which was first published by Herb Drake in 1994 for use in Prof. Nelson's Systematic Theology classes at Golden Gate Seminary. The revised edition was published in 1996, Herb Drake and Matthew Wysocki editors. Those who find Dr. Nelson's presentation of Christian theology helpful may want to consider purchasing the entire book, which may be found on the Book Recommendations page.

You may freely reproduce and distribute this work provided that that no changes are made, no revenues are collected beyond the nominal cost of media, and credit is given to the author and to House Church Central. The use of this publication on other web sites is encouraged, however this may only be done through the use of a hypertext link to this file on this server. Any other use requires the written permission of the author.

This is only the first part of the book A Believers' Church Theology The entire book, including the Introduction and the other three parts is available in PDF form1 on this site.

Now retired, Dr. Nelson was Senior Professor of Theology at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary). He joined the faculty of Golden Gate in 1984. Dr. Nelson received his training at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Union Seminary, the University of Nigeria-Ibadan, and Oxford University.

While Dr. Nelson originally taught Systematic Theology in the classical manner, in 1989 he began a new approach that he calls "embedded theology." Rather than introducing the student to theological concepts as if they were philosophical ideas, Dr. Nelson helps the student "feel" the development of each doctrine as it emerged from the historical conflict that is the heritage of Baptists and others of the believers' church [that is, "house church"] tradition.

Before joining the faculty at Golden Gate, Dr. Nelson had labored over thirty years in Christian service, split about evenly between foreign missions and the pastorate. These experiences equipped him to present his subject more as a humble witness to the Christian walk than as a synthesis of theological concepts, and the reader will find many illustrations taken from his years of service. Dr. Nelson's presentations are truly humble, and sometimes very personal, as he strives to help the student understand the historical and inductive mind-set of the biblical authors.

While intended primarily as a study aid for the new theology student, this work goes beyond mere "study notes." Pastors and teachers who have learned their theology within the traditional model will find a fresh and exciting perspective in Dr. Nelson's presentation.

table of Contents

  1. The Beginnings in Zurich.
    1. The Man Ulrich (Huldreich) Zwingli.
    2. The Disputations in Zurich.
  2. The Doctrine of the Fallen Church.
    1. Zwingli's Dating of the Fall of the Church.
    2. Luther's Dating of the Fall of the Church.
    3. Anabaptist's Dating of the Fall of the Church.
    4. A Historical Study of the Fall of the Church.
  3. The Doctrine of the Regenerate Church.
    1. The Nature of the Ekklesia.
  4. Fellowship Practices.
    1. The Practice of the Profession of Faith.
    2. The Practice of Believers' Baptism.
    3. The Practice of Christian Living.
  5. Summary and Conclusions.
    1. The "Two Stage" Theories of Salvation.
    2. Doctrines.
    3. Observations.