Ambrosians

Anabaptist* sect. One of the biblical doctrines rediscovered at the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers: every believer could have direct access to God without the intervention of a human priest, and every believer was called to Christian witness and service. Inevitably, reaction against the clericalism of the medieval church became in some instances overreaction. Many of the Anabaptist groups denounced by Luther overstressed the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in the individual soul. Among these were the Ambrosians, named after their leader Ambrosius, who based their theology on their interpretation of John 1:9. If there were in fact direct illumination from God in every soul, then there was no need of a formal order of priests or ministers to interpret the Bible. The Bible itself was not the only authoritative medium of divine revelation-Ambrose held that the spiritual and direct revelations given to him had a higher authority than that of the Scriptures. To some extent the Quakers were the lineal descendants of groups such as the Ambrosians.

The name of Ambrosians had been used earlier by an order founded under the patronage of Ambrose of Milan. Given the Rule of Augustine in 1375, the order was dissolved in 1650.