FORT WORTH, TX (SWBTS) – President Paige Patterson proclaimed January 21 Radical Reformation Day at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Patterson referenced the birth of the Anabaptist movement on January 21, 1525, as he closed his chapel sermon on how Christians should relate to culture.
“Today is a very significant day,” Patterson said, adding, “… a day that from this day forward in the life of Southwestern Seminary is going to be a day celebrated.” Patterson likened the day to October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door in Wittenburg.
On January 21, 1525, Conrad Grebel performed the first Anabaptist baptism on George Blaurock in the Swiss home of Felix Manz. Blaurock subsequently baptized the rest of the men in the house.
According to William R. Estep, in his book The Anabaptist Story, “The newly baptized then pledged themselves as true disciples of Christ to live lives separated from the world and to teach the gospel and hold the faith.”
“It was that day the Free Church took flight,” Patterson said, noting that these men knew the implication of their pledge. Within five years, all of the men were martyred.
“They nevertheless paid the price to go against the culture of Rome and to go against the culture of even the Magisterial Reformers and say, ‘We must obey the Holy Spirit of God,’” said Patterson.
Patterson challenged students to study the culture but resist the moral, ethical and theological compromise that the culture often embraces. Students must be ready to accept divinely appointed times of adversity and face them with courage and faith.