Month: January 2012

Courageous Anabaptist women featured during Radical Reformation Tour in May

FORT WORTH—During the Radical Reformation Tour that Southwestern Seminary will host in May, participants will visit significance places such as the site of several drownings in Zurich, a farmhouse in the Emmental Valley that still has the secret compartment built into the barn that was used to hide an Anabaptist family that was facing persecution, and many other areas associated with the lives of courageous Anabaptist women and men.

Women enrolled in the class on Women of the Radical Reformation will learn about some of these Anabaptist women:

  • Weynken Claes, when asked why she did not just keep quiet about her beliefs, she said “I cannot remain silent about it.” She was executed in 1527.
  • Elizabeth of Leeuwarden learned Latin in a convent and studied the Vulgate and became a respected teacher before her execution by drowning in 1549. In the transcript of her trial, she steadily replied to the examiners with confidence and with Scripture. After her first hearing, they sent her to the torture room where screws were put on her thumbs and two forefingers till blood spurted from her nails. Then they were going to apply screws to her shins, but she objected for modesty’s sake because no man had ever touched her bare body.
  • Lijsken Dircks and her husband were imprisoned in separate prisons in Antwerp, and they wrote letters encouraging one another before they were tortured and executed in 1551. Lijsken’s correspondence reveals a feistiness of spirit and deep understanding of Scripture. She remarked to her husband that she told her captors that “they were ever learning and never able to come to a right knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Her captors told her to focus on her sewing and not to trouble herself with the Scriptures, demonstrating a notion that women did not need to have an understanding of their faith.
  • In one account a woman named Grietgen was stopped by authorities and admitted that her children were not baptized. The authority warned her that “if you want to talk this way, you shall be burnt,” and she replied, “I know it.”
  • In 1533, Christini Haring was let out of prison to deliver her baby and then willingly returned to prison, knowing that certain death was before her.
  • Anneken Jans was arrested for singing a hymn.
  • Ursel van Essen was racked and beaten—many of these women were cruelly tortured before their execution.
  • Anneken van den Hove was buried alive for her convictions.
  • Annelein of Freiburg wrote hymns; she was drowned and then burned in 1529.
  • Margarette Pruess, daughter of a Strasbourg printer, helped publish Anabaptist works.
  • Anna Maler and her sister Ursula were drowned in 1529, yet they displayed courage: “Thus, though women, they were manful and valiant in God, so that many were amazed at their steadfastness, that thus in life and death they testified to the divine truth.”

Signature Sounds to be heard at Empower Evangelism Conference

The Grammy-nominated Ernie Haase & Signature Sound has broken the traditional mold of gospel quartets. Their unconventional approach will be heard during the SBTC Empower Evangelism Conference, Feb. 27-29, at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco.

The group’s founder and leader, Haase, was a long-time member of the famous Cathedral Quartet, headed by the late George Younce.  

In 2003, he gathered a group of like-minded men who share his love for God, great harmonies, time-honored songs and energetic performances and Signature Sound was born. Haase (tenor), Devin McGlamery (lead), Doug Anderson (baritone) and Ian Owens (bass) perform more than 100 solo shows yearly in North America and abroad.

The group’s first DVD release soared to the top of Billboard Magazine’s Music Video Chart and simultaneously topped the Contemporary Christian Music Video Chart. That same DVD achieved Gold sales status, and the project’s accompanying audio release topped both the CCM and Southern Gospel Audio Charts simultaneously at No. 1.

In 2008, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound won Gospel Music Association Dove Awards for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year and Southern Gospel Album of the Year for “Get Away Jordan.” The “Jordan” album has also been certified Gold. In 2009, they won another Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year Dove Award for “Reason Enough” from their “Dream On” album.

The annual Empower Evangelism Conference will also feature a slate of well-known preachers, such as pastors Ronnie Floyd and Ted Traylor and evangelists such as Junior Hill and Jay Lowder.

Other musicians include Grammy-winning singer Larnelle Harris, best-selling recording artist Charles Billingsley of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., vocalist and songwriter Luke Garrett, and music ministers Curtis Brewer of Odessa and Phillip Griffin of Fort Worth.

Conference to consider influence of 16th-century Anabaptist movement

California pastor Rick Warren and Reformation scholar Abraham Friesen will join Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty to weigh the impact of the so-called Radical Reformation on modern trends in Baptist thought and life during Southwestern’s annual Anabaptism & Contemporary Baptists Conference, Jan. 30-31.

The two-day conference, hosted on the seminary’s campus, acts as part of the school’s annual celebration of the work of the Reformation’s radical reformers to birth the return of the free church on Jan. 21, 1525. Relying on Scripture and a conviction for in believer’s baptism and a free church under Christ’s lordship, the radical reformers were forebears of modern Baptists and other free church groups.

In honoring the doctrinal fidelity and missionary spirit of the Anabaptist movement, the conference will highlight the theology and methodology of these 16th-century reformers that often resulted in persecution, slander, and even martyrdom for the sake of the gospel.

Malcolm Yarnell, SWBTS associate professor of systematic theology, said many of the conference speakers bring decades of academic research in both the Radical Reformation and Baptist heritage.

“From a material perspective, each contributor will, like the radical reformers themselves, advocate his own unique outlook,” Yarnell told the TEXAN. He went on to characterize the radicals’ as “freely following the spiritual call of our Lord in Scripture rather than slavishly mimicking some favored scholar’s preconceived philosophical paradigm.”

Yarnell said conference attendees could expect to hear voices advocating radical pursuance of the Great Commission and the recovery of theological and ecclesiological integrity in local churches.

“Some will focus on the mission of the church to preach freely to all peoples the saving gospel of the crucified and resurrected God-man; others will note the need for restoring covenantal fidelity in baptism, communion, and church discipline in the churches headed by Jesus Christ; yet others will recall the staunch biblicism of the Anabaptists as necessary for Baptists today if we wish to restore New Testament Christianity,” he said.

Speakers for the event include Renaissance and Reformation history expert Abraham Friesen, professor of history emeritus at University of California at Santa Barbara.  

A champion of the Anabaptist movement, Friesen is the author of numerous books and articles including “In Defense of Privilege: Russian Mennonites and the State Before and During World War I,” “History and Renewal in the Anabaptist/Mennonite Tradition” and “Erasmus, the Anabaptists, and the Great Commission.” He has also served as a member of the Editorial Board of Sixteenth Century Journal, Journal of Mennonite Studies, and Mennonite Quarterly Studies.  

At the conference, Friesen will look at the impact of Dutch Renaissance scholar Erasmus on Martin Luther and the Anabaptists.

Warren, well-known pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, will join the conference to look at the contribution and commitment of the radical reformers to the Great Commission.

While Warren is perhaps most well known for his best-selling books, “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” he has also lectured around the world at numerous seminaries and universities. His six books seek to explain theology in understandable ways and have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Like the early Anabaptist leaders who were both theologians and pastors, Yarnell said Warren follows in the “vibrant tradition of free churchmen who preach and teach the truths of Scripture” that transform all aspects of Christian life.

“Their theologians, who were their church leaders, were more interested in the practical nature of the Christian life of radical discipleship than in creating theoretical systems,” he added.

SWBTS President Paige Patterson, who initiated the idea of a Reformation Day celebration on the campus, will address the impact of Anabaptism’s legacy. Last year, Patterson addressed the Evangelical Theological Society with a plea for “theological and spiritual kinship” free of ecumenism between English and American Baptists and the 16th-century Anabaptists.

Patterson, who has also served as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Criswell College, is author and contributor to numerous books and publications including “The Church in the 21st Century,” “Christ or the Bible,” “Heaven,” “The Troubled Triumphant Church: An Exposition of First Corinthians,” and “A Pilgrim Priesthood: An Exposition of First Peter.”

At the conference, Yarnell will address the Anabaptist theological method. Yarnell is the author of “The Formation of Christian Doctrine,” and is under contract for the publication of his doctoral dissertation, “Royal Priesthood in the English Reformation,” as well as a new Baptist heritage text. He is also the editor of the Southwestern Journal of Theology and of

Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., will evaluate the legacy of famous Anabaptist leader Balthasar Hubmaier for the modern church. A prolific writer, Caner has written or contributed to 18 books on topics including Islam, persecution, religious liberty, ecclesiology, Baptist history, and apologetics. His dissertation centered on Hubmaier. In addition to his other publications, “Unveiling Islam,” which received the Gold Medallion Book of the Year award, sold nearly 200,000 copies, and his book “More Than a Prophet” was a finalist for Book of the Year in Evangelism for Outreach magazine.

Additional conference speakers include SWBTS Ph.D. student Ralf Schowalter and International Mission Board missionary to the Ukraine Russell Woodbridge, who has also served as assistant professor of theology and church history at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike Wilkinson, minister to adults at First Baptist in Rockwall and adjunct professor of Baptist history and heritage at the College at Southwestern, will also present at the conference. The men are experts on Anabaptist leaders Hans Denck, Gerhard Westerburg, and Leonhard Schiemer, respectively.

Along with scheduled speakers, the conference will also offer breakout sessions covering subjects such as Italian Anabaptism, Michael Sattler and the first Anabaptist confession of faith, Anabaptist catechisms, church discipline and more.

“Southwestern Seminary hopes to demonstrate that the 16th-century Anabaptists still have a thing or two to teach contemporary Baptists about the radical nature of Christian discipleship,” Yarnell said. “As
Balthasar Hubmaier typically concluded: this truth is unkillable.”

To register for this conference or to find out more information, call 1-877-474-4769 or e-mail

After two wars, veteran was called to duty

ATLANTA, Texas—War was indescribable, he said. No carefully penned, heartstring tugging or gut-wrenching sentence could begin to convey the realities of war.

Yet war could not begin to describe the raucous turmoil that brought Joe Anderson to his knees in a Fort Hood barracks.

“I had run as long as I could,” Anderson said. “I hadn’t slept in three nights before that. When I finally gave in I slept like a baby.”

After ignoring God for years, the power and persistence of his Creator finally overtook Anderson, leading him to surrender his life to the ministry from his bunk on the military base.

“I just gave into the Lord,” Anderson said. “‘Whatever you want me to do, I’m willing to do,’ I told him.”
That was 1965.

Anderson enlisted in the Navy at 17 to serve in World War II after trying earlier to get in. Several years later he re-enlisted, this time in the Army, and went on to retire, but not before serving in combat once more—during the early Vietnam War.

After he returned home from Vietnam in the mid-1960s, Anderson began working nights to provide for his wife and children while he attended East Texas Baptist College (now East Texas Baptist University) in Marshall. The rigorous schedule battered his health, though, and God graciously called Anderson to serve as a pastor after three years at the school.

Anderson went on to pastor five churches, and it was during this phase of life that Anderson said he felt the blessing of living in the Lord’s will.

“The Lord just blessed our willingness,” Anderson said. “I loved every bit of it. I just try to do what the Lord wants me to do and he does the rest. When I was pastoring, I tried to be a pastor for the whole community, not just my church.”

After he retired from the pastorate, Anderson became a regular among supply preachers, filling pulpits and continuing in his service to the Lord. His work was far from winding down, though. He organized a group of retirees to travel the country building and restoring churches.

“We had a travel trailer and we were like gypsies,” Anderson said. “The churches would give us places to park our RVs and we would start from the ground up. We would give them three weeks of free labor. During that time we either built or assisted over 100 churches throughout the U.S.”

Often the churches would ask Anderson and his crew to stay for two or three days after the building projects were completed to have impromptu revival services.

Now, at 85 years old and several months beyond hip surgery, Anderson said he is ready for what the Lord has for him next.

“Right now I’ve been asking the Lord to lead me to a church to start pastoring again,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s pastor at First Baptist Church of Queen City, Mike Lovely, said when he has visited Anderson in the hospital in the past, the man is always ready to get right back to work—the Lord’s work.

“He will say, ‘As soon as I get on my feet I’ll be preaching.’ In fact, I think if they called him to preach today, he would,” Lovely said.

Lovely said the veteran-turned-preacher is “tough as a boot. He’s a pillar in our church without a doubt.”

Anderson, who has three grown children, remarried after his wife Bobbie died from breast cancer. He met Jackie, his second wife, in church and said she has been a blessing from the Lord.

“I’ll tell you, you can’t out-do the Lord,” Anderson said.

Outrunning him, Anderson said, is out of the question too. After trying to elude the Lord for years and finally losing that battle at Fort Hood, Anderson he would offer to anyone this advice: “If [you] feel like the Lord is telling you to do it, do it,” Anderson said. “You can’t run from God. He’ll get you and he will put you where he wants you.”

IMB training for reaching SE Asia peoples March 1-3 in Euless

EULESS—First Baptist Church of Euless will host a training event, March 1-3, for groups embracing an unreached, unengaged people group (UUPG) from Southeast Asia.

This International Mission Board event will provide training in how to effectively research and pray for UUPGs, casting vision for reaching a UUPG, strengthening your church's UUPG task force, training in field evangelism methods and reproducible discipleship, and identifying and witnessing to a UUPG in your hometown. Also, the event will help churches navigate the six-to-12-month window needed for 'field training' and visiting the UUPG on the field.

To register, visit