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Anabaptists and the Reformation

tion, and confined themselves generally to an assertion of the authority of the Bible without defining the grounds on which such authority rested. They made no such distinction as is attributed to certain heretical sects between the Old Testament and the New. They received the whole Bible as equally authoritative, but not equally authoritative for all purposes. Here they made a distinction, namely, that the New Testament is our sole source of knowledge of all that pertains to the Christian Church, and they would not admit the validity of arguments drawn from Jewish institutions to prove what should exist under the gospel.

The mystical element in Anabaptist teaching is apparent in what some of them say about the interpretation of Scripture. A special illumination is not only promised to every believer, but is indispensable for the understanding of the word of God, since the natural man cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, but spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. Though we may trace some likeness here between their teaching and the doctrines of the earlier Montanists and the later Friends, we miss altogether that exaggerated notion of an inner light