Anabaptist Song: Hymns Birthed from Conviction and Suffering

The Anabaptists represent a historic collection of people who were unwilling to compromise biblical convictions regardless of the cost. The hymns and spiritual songs of the Anabaptist movement convey the religious ideals and convictions that arose from within their reformatory party, whose roots began during the Medieval Era. Their call for reform was considered overly radical, which facilitated resentment and persecution from all sides, including the Roman Catholic Church and the other Reformers. Therefore, as a result of these convictions and sufferings, rich and historic hymns were birthed.
The creation of Anabaptist hymns is not an anomaly, considering all deeper religious movements give birth to new hymns. However, the German Reformation facilitated the greatest outpouring of new hymn writing and singing in Christian history. Hymnological development within the German Reformation was greatly influenced by the Minnegesang and the Volkslied, songs whose origins are found in everyday life. Most of the Anabaptist and Lutheran hymns were adapted to well-known folk tunes. The Anabaptists used the medium of the Volkslied to voice their sentiments about the circumstances they faced. The purpose of the Anabaptist hymns was twofold, teaching Gospel truths and telling the stories of Anabaptist martyrs.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the history surrounding the Anabaptist movement during the Reformation and to analyze how hymns and spiritual songs were written as a result of their surrounding circumstances. The utilization of these hymns within the Anabaptist gatherings will be discussed, as well as how these hymns are applicable and useful in contemporary church settings. Most of these Anabaptist songs are historical treasures and profitable for remembrance and reflection today.

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