Peter Riedemann's Hutterite Confession of Faith: Translation of the 1565 German Edition of Confession of Our Religion, Teaching, and Faith, by the Brothers who are Known as the Hutterites

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Herald Press, 1999 - Religion - 264 pages
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While in prison during 1540-42, Riedemann wrote for the Lutheran ruler, Philip of Hesse. He explained the Hutterite goal of a renewed community and dispelled popular misconceptions. The Hutterites quickly accepted Riedemann's confession as their own. Riedemann creatively wove together a fresh reading of the Bible with the classical creeds. He produced a powerful synthesis of Scripture and tradition on which to base Christian community. His dynamic vision of radical and communal discipleship still challenges believers toward greater faithfulness to the Lord and to each other. Riedemann's confession gives theological grounding for the Hutterite understanding of economic communalism and offers practical examples of it. This confession continues to guide Hutterite communities today. The book also includes John J. Friesen's translation of the 1565 German edition of Confession of Our Religion, Teaching, and Faith, by the Brothers Who Are Known as the Hutterites, along with a new history of Riedemann. This is the ninth volume in the Classics of the Radical Reformation, a series of Anabaptist and Free Church documents translated and annotated under the direction of the Institute of Mennonite Studies. 272 Pages.

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A young converted shoemaker turned Anabaptist missionary and pastor, Peter Riedemann seemed to have lived tirelessly in sharing and living his faith. Traversing literally thousands of miles, writing songs and letters, visiting churches, working as a pastor, and publishing books, he helped shape the early days of the Anabaptist movement. Besides his pastoral letters and a few songs written from prison, Peter Riedemann is remembered today because of two books that he wrote while in prison. Both of his books are works explaining the faith of the early Anabaptist movement to outsiders. His first book, written from prison in Gmunden, Austria, is published today under the title “Love is Like Fire.” His second and most significant, written from prison from the little German town of Wolkersdorf, is published simply under the title “Confession of Faith,” or an older publishing under the more denominational sounding title, “Peter Riedemann’s Hutterite Confession of Faith.” Historically, Peter Riedemann is also known for being (next to Jacob Hutter) as the second founder of the Moravian/Tyrolean Anabaptists, which later became known as the Hutterian Brethren. Perhaps because Riedemann was a labeled a Hutterite instead of a Mennonite, he and his works remained virtually unknown to the English-speaking world until 1950.
One of the most obvious things you quickly notice about “Confessions of Faith” is that he presents the faith following the lines of the ancient Apostles’ Creed. Some have suggested that he did this to prove the orthodoxy of the Anabaptists to Philip of Hess … who knows? Whatever his motive, the beauty of this approach was that it presents the early Anabaptist faith based on one thing—their understanding of God. Just as A. W. Tozer said over 400 years later in the opening line of The Knowledge of the Holy, “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” Riedemann’s theology flows from his view of God Himself. However, flowing from this creedal approach, Riedemann rescues the Apostles’ Creed from a mere head knowledge by insisting that this ancient faith must effect our life—or it is vain. As he wrote, “no one may truthfully ascribe such glory and honor to Christ unless he has experienced this victory in himself.”[1]

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - devandecicco - LibraryThing

Helpful with the ecclesiology, unsatisfying for theology, christology, pneumatology, and eschatology. Read full review


First Imprisonment
Missioner to Hesse

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About the author (1999)

Friesen is professor of history and theology.

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