Radical Reformation  

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This page Radical Reformation is a part of the protestantism series.  Illustration: The image breakers, c.1566 –1568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder
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This page Radical Reformation is a part of the protestantism series.
Illustration: The image breakers, c.15661568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Peasants' War, Anabaptism

The Radical Reformation was a 16th century response to both the perceived corruption in the Roman Catholic Church and the expanding Protestant movement led by Martin Luther. Focused primarily on the peasant class of Germany and the Low Countries, the Radical Reformation birthed many Anabaptist groups throughout Europe.

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Characteristics

Unlike not only the Catholics, but also the more mainstream Evangelical (Lutheran), Reformed (Zwinglian and Calvinist) Protestant movements, the Radical Reformation generally abandoned the idea of the "Church Visible" as distinct from the "Church Invisible." Thus, the Church only consisted of the tiny community of believers, who accepted Jesus Christ and demonstrated this by adult baptism, called "believer's baptism". While the reformers wanted to substitute their own learned elite for the learned elite of the Roman Catholic Church, the anabaptists rejected church authority almost entirely.

Early forms of Anabaptism

Early forms of the Radical Reformation were often millenarian, focusing on the imminent end of the world. This was particularly notable in the rule of John of Leiden over the city of Münster in 1535, which was ultimately crushed by the forces of the Catholic Bishop of Münster and the Lutheran Landgrave of Hesse. After the fall of Münster, several small groups continued to adhere to revolutionary Anabaptist beliefs. The largest and most important of these groups, the Batenburgers, persisted in various forms into the 1570s.

Later forms of Anabaptism

Later forms of Anabaptism were much smaller, and focused on the formation of small, separatist communities. Among the many varieties to develop were Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterites.

Other Radical Reformation movements

In addition to the Anabaptists, other Radical Reformation movements have been identified. Notably, George Hunston Williams, the great categorizer of the Radical Reformation, considered early forms of Unitarianism (such as that of the Socinians, and exemplified by Michael Servetus), and other trends that disregarded the Nicene christology still accepted by most Christians, as part of the Radical Reformation.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Radical Reformation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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