William Roscoe Estep

American theologian

William Roscoe Estep (February 12, 1920 – July 14, 2000) was an American Baptist historian and professor. He was considered an authority on the Anabaptist movement.


  • When most of Europe was still illiterate, the Hutterites had established a system of primary schools. Among them education was compulsory. They believed that their movement depended on an educated people who could practice discipleship in light of New Testament teachings. Of course, the state churches felt no such need. Their religion was primarily in the hands of religious professionals. The layman's chief function in such ecclesiastical systems was to obey. For this purpose ignorance served as well as, if not better than, knowledge.
    • The Anabaptist Story (1996), p. 142
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