Tag Archives: Zurich

357 – Dec. 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Anabaptist martyrs and leaders




1527 – Simon Stumpf, an Anabaptist was banished from Zurich. Other leaders among the Anabaptists were Johannes Denck, Michael Sattler, Andreas Carlstadt, Johannes Hut, and Jacob Hutter. Even though these men were not as well known as Balthasar Hubmaier, Felix Manz, Conrad Grebel and George Blaurock, they were still outstanding Anabaptist leaders in their own right. Denck was known as the “Apostle of Love,” Michael Sattler as “A Superlative Witness,” and Andreas Carlstadt greatly influenced Hubmaier with his brilliant theology. Another that needs to be known by all is Pilgram Marpeck.  John C. Wenger, has called him the greatest of all the South German and Swiss Anabaptist leaders. After his conversion he was forced to become a real “pilgrim”, and he has been called, “a wandering citizen of heaven.” Marpeck was saved just a few months following the martyrdom of Michael Sattler when he was the mining engineer of Rottenburg, Germany. But when he united with the Anabaptists he lost his position on Jan. of 1528, and three months later, he lost his possessions, as they were confiscated. Things continued to degenerate, and on Dec. 18 the man of God was expelled from the city, and fled to Strassburg with his wife where there was a strong contingent of Anabaptists. Marpeck soon became the outstanding leader among them but his writings were banned by the authorities and he was imprisoned. He debated with Martin Bucer, and stood for the separation of Church and State, and believer’s baptism. He was one of the few Anabaptist leaders that died a natural death. It was in Dec.1556. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 701-02. William R. Estep, The Anabaptist Story (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1963), p. 10.]


Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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334 – Nov. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Zwingli persecutes the Anabaptists


1525 – The following proclamation was published against the Anabaptists in Zurich, Switzerland by the Zwinglians: “…we ordain…that…all men, women, young men, and maidens, abstain from rebaptism, and from this time practice it no more; and that they bring their children to be baptized.” It went on to say that whoever refused to obey this public order would be punished by a fine of silver. Five years later harsher penalties were levied, including torture and death. The Anabaptists became the target of such inhuman abuses that defy description from both Rome and the Reformers. William Jones, In his History of the Christian Church wrote, “They were publicly whipped, drawn by the heels through the streets, racked till’ every bone was disjointed, had their teeth beat out, their noses, hands, and ears cut off, sharp pointed spears run under their nails, melted lead thrown on their naked bodies, had their eyes dug out, limbs cut off, ground between stones, broiled on gridirons, cast by heaps into the sea, crucified, scraped to death with shells, torn in pieces by boughs of trees, etc. When Peter Sager was burned, the town records recorded the following: “Paid to Master Garnancie for burning Peter Sager, 20 Shillings; for cords and stake, 10 shillings; for the pains of the executioner, 28 shillings; special watchmen during the execution, 17 shillings, 6 pfennigs; other amounts for twelve wagon loads of fuel and twenty-eight measures of wine for the dance at the court-house, in honor of the Count of Zil.” Our Anabaptist forefathers truly found themselves in a pincer movement between Rome on one side and the Reformers on the other. [This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 655-56. Joseph Meyer, Baptists Establishers of Religious Liberty (Chicago: Private Printing, 1923), pp. 101-2.]    Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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State Church or Gods Word
The Anabaptists of Zurich agreed to debate Ulrich Zwingli on the subject of infant baptism in January of 1525, provided that the only authority to which the debaters could appeal was the Bible. Reneging on his promise, Zwingli defeated his Anabaptist opponents by shouting them down.  The Zurich City Council declared him the victor and decreed that the Anabaptists should have all their children baptized within a week or suffer banishment.
The Anabaptists refused to come, so on February 1, 1525, the Council ordered them arrested and that each of their children should be baptized as soon as they were born.  After they were fined 1,000 gulden plus costs, all were released except Felix Mantz and George Blaurock.  In the next few years, the Council imposed confiscation of property, imprisonment, torture, and death upon the Anabaptists of Zurich. The severity of punishments meted out to people who were no threat to public order shows the weakness of the arguments used against them.  The Reformation in Zurich had turned into a Protestant inquisition.
Zwingli chose the authority of the state church rather than the authority of God’s word. Our heritage of freedom does not come to us from the Reformers, but from the Word of God and men of biblical conviction like Mantz and Blaurock, who, at the cost of their lives, was obedient to God rather than man.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins)

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