by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews)—Cold winds blowing off Lake Zurich could not quench the fire of biblical truth in the hearts of about a dozen men who trudged through the snow to the home of Felix Manz.
Faced with obeying the prescriptions of the Bible or the ordinances of man, these who would birth Anabaptism chose the former.
The events of that night — most likely recorded by former Roman Catholic priest, George Blaurock — marked a radical transformation amid what is known as the Reformation.
At issue was the practice of infant baptism. The Reformers did not make a full break from the Roman church and its paedobaptism. But those who would be the first Anabaptists (meaning, re-baptizers) embraced, among other New Testament doctrines, the baptism of believers only.
The Anabaptists held that biblical baptism required public confessions of sin and faith – such things babies could not do.
As the dozen men met that January night in 1525, they discussed their impending actions and prayed for God’s divine will.
Blaurock arose to ask Conrad Grebel to perform the rite, and Blaurock was baptized. He then baptized the remaining men, and the Anabaptist movement drew its first breaths.
The man pledged themselves as true disciples of Jesus Christ, to live separated lives from the world, to teach the gospel, and to hold to the Christian faith.
Two years later, the man in whose home the baptisms occurred was murdered for his beliefs. The Reformers with whom Felix Manz disagreed ordered his execution by drowning. Then they severely beat Blaurock and banished him. After four years of successful ministry, Blaurock died for his beliefs in the flames of martyrdom.
Many who followed in this radical transformation of the Reformation met the same fate: death, either by water or by fire.
“The Anabaptists were the most consistent witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ of any group in the Reformation,” Dr. Caner says. “These people literally died for their faith, fulfilling the Great Commission and spreading the gospel throughout Europe.”
With this historical backdrop of biblical conviction and gospel commitment, Truett-McConnell College named its proposed student recreation center after George Blaurock.
Already, students refer to it as the “Rock.”
“Radical Transformation” is the goal Dr. Caner has for students, the campus and the entire world surrounding Truett-McConnell College. The George Blaurock Student Recreation Center is an integral part of that plan.
Part and parcel of the “Rock” is a large area for students to have fellowship with each other – something believers need, and something such students want.
“If we are going to reach the next generation, then we must teach the next generation.” This quote of Dr. Caner’s expresses his heart not only for students, but also for a world dying in sin. He recognizes that we must not only pray for God to send more laborers into the fields white unto harvest, we must put feet to those prayers by attracting, equipping and sending those laborers out into this modern culture that has little regard for the things of God.
Considering the kind of addition the Rock will bring to the campus, one might turn Dr. Caner’s quote around to say: “If we are going to teach the next generation, then we must reach the next generation.”
The Rock surely has the “reach” factor. With its three basketball courts, two racquetball courts, zero entry pool, elevated running track, exercise and weight training rooms, and even a franchise restaurant, the facility will be central to recruiting new students.
Add to that paid memberships open to the public, and the Rock becomes ground zero for student fellowship and community ministry.
Given that there are scores of students who already are committed to sharing the gospel, then the Rock becomes a place where some will meet the Rock of Ages for the first time.
This is Radical Transformation.
The Rock radically transforms the campus.
The Rock radically transforms students.
The Rock radically transforms the community.
The Rock radically transforms the world.
Truett-McConnell College launched on May 5 a capital campaign for the Rock. God may not call upon you to suffer for the sake of the gospel, but he is calling upon you to make a sacrifice for it.
To learn more about how you can be foundational to the Rock, go to the website. Be sure to watch the videos at the site, and you will see why Dr. Caner says, “The Great Commission is the heartbeat of who we are.”
The Anabaptist vision and the spirit of George Blaurock live on at Truett-McConnell College.
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