Would Menno Simons Blog Anonymously?

When Menno Simons renounced the Roman Catholic Church in January of 1536, he was considered an enemy to the church he had served faithfully for many years. When he was eventually forced to hide from the authorities for one year, he used this time to devote himself to reflection and writing. Had there been computer technology in the 16th century, would Menno Simons have used it during the time he was in hiding?

Today a reader (who has chosen to call themselves Menno Simons) has made the following thought provoking comment which deserves consideration:

I think if Menno Simons had a blog, he would include his name.

Do you really think so?

Menno Simons went into hiding for a time from those who did not accept his message.

Just because there are those who are reluctant to reveal their identity on the internet does not mean that their message is cowardly or false. It could simply mean that they are obedient enough to speak under the conviction of the Lord, even if it is with fear and trembling, but do not feel free to jeopardize themselves, their career, or their families, by stepping into the public spotlight. But somehow, their message needs to go public.

Consider also the fact that there are many well known writers who have chosen to use pen names for personal reasons. Does this invalidate their words, books, or opinions in their articles?

Not too long ago there was a group from a certain Mennonite seminary that called themselves the 18 Men, who came on the blog scene temporarily to try to make a difference. They had biblically based concerns and godly convictions regarding some serious doctrinal issues within their Bible seminary, but chose to remain anonymous for personal reasons. Their efforts were successful. Does this mean that their message was invalid? Hardly.

Also to consider are the following well thought out comments (which surprisingly have thus far been allowed to remain) under the famous article below. These are very helpful in regards to the valid reasons why some bloggers might choose to blog anonymously, and whether Menno Simons would have done the same:

The Trouble with Blogs

When the bold and outspoken ministry of Menno Simons jeopardized his safety, he went into hiding after a spiritual struggle of 11 years. This is what he wrote during this time:

“Pondering these things my conscience tormented me so that I could no longer endure it. . . . If I through bodily fear do not lay bare the foundation of the truth, nor use all my powers to direct the wandering flock who would gladly do their duty if they knew it, to the true pastures of Christ — oh, how shall their shed blood, shed in the midst of transgression, rise against me at the judgment of the Almighty and pronounce sentence against my poor, miserable soul!”

At the above link we also read:

Menno spent a quiet year in hiding, finding a sense of direction for his future work. During this time he wrote “The Spiritual Resurrection,” “The New Birth,” and “Meditation on the Twenty-third Psalm.” Late in 1536 or early 1537, he received believer’s baptism, was called to leadership by the peaceful Anabaptist group founded in 1534 by Obbe Philips, and was ordained by Obbe. He also married. From this time on his life was in constant danger as a heretic. In 1542 the Holy Roman emperor Charles V (1500-58) himself issued an edict against him, promising 100 guilders reward for his arrest. One of the first Anabaptist believers to be executed for sheltering Menno was Tyaard Renicx of Leeuwarden, in 1539.


Thankfully, we are not in danger of arrest and martyrdom for telling the truth about what is happening to the Mennonite Brethren denomination today as it leads its members back (via the emerging church and contemplative spiritual formation) to the Roman Catholic church and her doctrines which their namesake, Menno Simons, so bravely denounced.


The Emerging Church: Another Road to Rome

Also see:

Anabaptist Anonymous Blogging Throughout History…


13 thoughts on “Would Menno Simons Blog Anonymously?

  1. I would respectfully suggest that anxiety over job prospects or social exclusion is quite different than fearing for your life. I’m glad your last paragraph at least acknowledged this.

    To me, blogs like this can too easily become places where you can take accountability-free potshots at people you don’t agree with.

  2. Menno,

    “To me, blogs like this can too easily become places where you can take accountability-free potshots at people you don’t agree with”

    So is “can” the same as “is”?

    Are you saying that this is going on here?

    • Menno,

      The purpose of this blog is not to take ‘potshots at people’ with whom this blogger ‘disagrees.’ This blog is about earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered to the saints in keeping with the Word of God which warns us:

      “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1

      Which is the biblical approach – to point out false teachings or to gather around those who teach them?

      “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3

      • Can you explain to me the difference between “challenging the authenticity of someone’s faith” and accusing them of being a false prophet? Which is worse in your opinion?

      • Who should we interpret the verses that you’ve quoted above as referring to? On a blog that mentions specific leaders in this kind of context, what other conclusion should we draw but that you see THEM as false teachers?

  3. In my opinion, if you’re going to public claims that challenge the authenticity of a brother or sister’s faith, you need to make yourself known.

    • Menno,

      Logically speaking, what right do anonymous commenters have to challenge anonymous bloggers to make themselves known? Also, this blog has not challenged the authenticity of anyone’s ‘faith,’ but rather, it is questioning what they are teaching and where it could lead.

      Truthfully, would knowing the name of this blog author really have any bearing on the facts blogged here? Whether a messenger uses an alias or not is irrelevant to the message. (Why make it easier for those who will just “shoot the messenger”?)

      • I would be very content if all that happened here was a “questioning” of what people were teaching. But from where I sit it looks like the author of this blog has lots of answers and not very many questions at all.

        I also wish it was just a matter of “presenting the facts.” But as it is, this website is full of links, isolated quotes, attributions and name associations which are HEAVILY interpreted by the author who is pasting them together and assuming that the faintest hint of Catholic influence in a given church or leader’s theology is enough to implicitly hang the label “false teacher” around their neck. To suggest that it’s just a matter of presenting facts is just a little too easy in my opinion.

      • Menno,

        Thank you for your opinions, but you must read more carefully. The postings on this blog are as filled with questions and facts and links to their original sources as the comment boxes have so far been filled with assumptions, insinuations, false accusations and opines.

    • Menno, I don’t know about “The Olives”, but there’s a significant difference between passing on false doctrine and being a false teacher.

      I don’t have all my theological ducks lined up, and if I peddle an idea that is incorrect, I’m peddling a false doctrine. That doesn’t mean I’m unregenerate, since if someone challenges me and shows me from the scripture where I’m wrong, I’ll eventually come around (assuming that they’re right). It’s a painful process, but I’ll eventually come around.

      False teachers don’t come around when they are shown that they are not teaching in line with scripture.

      This doesn’t mean that those who disagree with me are all false teachers either, since true Christians believe in the authority of the scripture and submit to it. The Bible clearly lays out false teachers; what they look like and what marks them.

      I don’t think that “The Olives” has labelled more than 1 or 2 people as false teachers.

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