Little Bits of History

No Babies

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 21, 2012

Anabaptist Persecution of 1544

January 21, 1525: Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock hold a baptismal ceremony. The three Swiss men broke with a thousand year tradition of unity of church and state when they held the religious rite at Manz’s mother’s house in Zürich. Grebel became the “Father of the Anabaptists” as co-founder of the Swiss Brethren sect. They rejected infant baptism and preached a “true Christianity.” Today’s Swiss Mennonite Conference stems from the Swiss Brethren group.

Huldrych Zwingli was a Reformation leader in Switzerland. He questioned some rites, rituals, and customs of the Catholic Church. In 1521 Grebel went to study with Zwingli after returning from years of studies abroad. Zwingli and Grebel formed a study group and researched the Latin Bible as well as the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament. It was here that Grebel met Manz. The group argued over which parts of the Catholic Church needed reform and Zwingli and the others split. Zwingli argued before the canton and obtained their blessing.

Switzerland’s government was entwined with the Church and demanded Grebel and Manz cease and desist their practice of not baptizing infants. The men refused and were exiled from the canton. Grebel preached his gospel in surrounding cities. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1525 and escaped with the help of friends in 1526. He died just a few months later. Manz was found guilty of performing adult re-baptisms which became a crime on March 7, 1526. On January 5, 1527 he was punished for his crime – execution by drowning. He was the first martyr of the Anabaptists.

Anabaptists are Christians of the Radical Reformation. Today, they have a variety of sects: Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, and other variants of German Baptist faiths. Their belief in believer’s baptism rather than infant baptism caused widespread persecution in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were not only hounded by the Catholic Church, but by other Reformation faiths as well. They hold the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practices. If it isn’t the Bible, they don’t do it.

Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right. – John Donne

Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch. – E.M. Forster

A faith of convenience is a hollow faith. – Father Mulcahy, M*A*S*H, “A Holy Mess”

Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God. – Carter Lindberg

Also on this day:

The Evil Weed – In 1908, the Sullivan Ordinance, an early smoking ban, was passed and vetoed.
I Feel … The Need … For Speed – In 1976, the Concorde SST began service.
Miss Sam – In 1960, Little Joe 1B launched successfully and returned to Earth.

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