We Reformed all know the anabaptists were wrong, but maybe it is time to consider the ways they were right. All Europe was in the grip of a social order that for 90 percent of the people, if we saw them through a time-portal window, we would identify them as slaves. The issues of the Reformation were settled by the leaders and the rising middle class, which was still microscopic. Everyone else had his life managed by others and got to find out from others whether he would be Protestant or Catholic on Tuesday next week.
The anabaptists were not really new. Peasants had been revolting (yeah, funny pun. haha) for centuries before Luther. It isn’t hard to see that these were essentially slave revolts.
And freedom was coming. We now, even the most covenantal among us Reformed believers, or even the most devout Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodoxy believer in North America, probably has far more of the independent heritage and mentality of the anabaptists than he does of the magisterial Reformers.
Perhaps I am exaggerating, but I doubt it. Focusing on the error of adult-only baptism is, in my opinion, probably a mistake. They were pioneers and prophets of a new social psychology. They just got impatient. In reality, the Protestants fighting against them continued the historical processes that brought about a world more to their liking.