The Anabaptists were the largest, most significant of the "radical" movements that paralleled the Protestant reforms of the 16th century. Their program was distinctive in its insistence upon baptism of adult believers, a visible life of discipleship, an ascetic way of life, and a commitment to nonviolence. This vision clashed with the ruling civil and church authorities, whether Catholic or Protestant, who persecuted them violently. Despite persecution and ostracism the Anabaptist tradition lives on in diverse forms whether among the Amish, the Hutterites, the Bruderhof, or the Mennonites.
C. Arnold Snyder teaches at Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo (Canada). His books include Anabaptist History and Theology.