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The Anabaptists The Church under the Cross. Emergence out of Zwingli’s Reformation 1519, Zwingli began attracting students: –Conrad Grebel –Felix Manz.

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Presentation on theme: "The Anabaptists The Church under the Cross. Emergence out of Zwingli’s Reformation 1519, Zwingli began attracting students: –Conrad Grebel –Felix Manz."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Anabaptists The Church under the Cross

2 Emergence out of Zwingli’s Reformation 1519, Zwingli began attracting students: –Conrad Grebel –Felix Manz –George Blaurock Known as Swiss Brethren; studies called Prophecy Meetings; studied NT in Greek Study led to rejection of infant baptism & support of believer’s baptism

3 First Signs of Disagreement Second Disputation (October 1523) –Grebel opposed Zwingli’s hesitation to reform mass –Swiss Brethren refused to accept magistrates’ decision not to change mass –Began meeting at Manz’ home for worship & Bible study Contacted other Reformers: Luther, Karlstadt, Muntzer for outside encouragement Breaking point –Brethren openly opposed infant baptism –Zwingli called for Third Disputation

4 Third Disputation – 17 Jan. 1525 Zwingli recognized that Council would not support rejection of infant baptism; he needed Council’s support for his Reformation So he called for suppression of Swiss Brethren at public disputation on baptism Zwingli coined term “Anabaptists”: Re-baptizers Decision: Brethren to stop meeting & have children baptized or leave in 8 days

5 1 st Baptism – 21 Jan. 1525 At home of Felix Manz, George Blaurock asked Conrad Grebel to baptize him Then Blaurock baptized others Baptism by pouring No ordained minister

6 Anabaptists Covenant –To live separate from the world –To teach the Gospel faithfully –To hold steadfastly to the truth Significance –Formed church after NT model –Affirmed absolute lordship of Jesus –Affirmed church based on voluntary commitment –Refuted popular doctrine of infant baptism –Rejected role of magistrate in religion

7 Anabaptists Pattern of preaching/evangelism –Proclamation –Response –Baptism –Observance of Lord’s Supper –Witnessing by new converts

8 Persecution & Martyrdom Ejection from Zurich Zwingli accused his former students & friends of sedition Grebel, Blaurock & Manz imprisoned many times; sentenced to life imprisonment but escaped Grebel died of plague

9 Felix Manz 1 st Anabaptist Martyr Manz sentenced to die on 5 Jan. 1527 Zurich prosecutors decided punishment for 2 nd baptism was 3 rd baptism: drowning Manz’s hands bound to his knees, with stick thrust between arms & legs; thrown into icy waters of Limmat River Last words: “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit”

10 George Blaurock On the day of Manz’ martyrdom, Blaurock was beaten & banished from Zurich Preached throughout Switzerland until banished in April 1527 Went to Tyrol in Austrian Alps, where many believers were baptized & churches started 6 September 1529, burned at stake

11 Church under the Cross Martyrdom was hallmark of “Church under the Cross”; Jesus was their example Persecuted by both Catholics & Protestants More Anabaptist martyrs in 16 th century at hands of Christians than during first 3 centuries under Roman pagans Results: –Dispersion of Anabaptists & spread of movement –Remnants in Germany, Moravia, Netherlands, England –Loss of leadership weakened movement

12 Martyrs’ Mirror The Bloody Theater or Martyrs’ Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only Upon Confession of Faith, and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus, Their Saviour, from the Time of Christ to the Year A.D. 1660 Illustrated stories of martyrs from Christ to 17 th- century Anabaptists

13 Dirk Willems Dirk was imprisoned in Netherlands; escaped through window by rope Prison guard chased Dirk across frozen river Dirk crosses safely; guard fell through ice Dirk rescued guard, who captured him Dirk was burned at stake Remembered as compassionate Christian who risked recapture to save pursuer

14 Anabaptist baker in Netherlands; imprisoned & tortured for teaching Anabaptist faith His letters to his mother detail torture Before being burned at stake, tongue screw was used to silence him Pastor retrieved screw; married Hans’ mother: screw became family heirloom Hans Bret

15 Michael Sattler (1490-1527) Former prior of Benedictine monastery Married Margaretha, former nun Baptized in 1526; became Anabaptist leader 24 Feb. 1527, Schleitheim Confession –Baptism: voluntary; for adult believers –Ban: church discipline –Lord’s Supper: memorial; only for baptized –Separation of church & state –Local church calls, supports, and disciplines pastor –Christians should not be magistrates –Christians should not swear an oath

16 Michael Sattler Arrested; charged with violations of Catholic doctrine & practice Asked for debate; prosecutor replied: “You rascal of a monk, should we dispute with you? The hangman shall dispute with you” 20 May 1527, martyred –Tongue cut out –Chained to wagon –Flesh torn with hot tongs –Bound to ladder; bag of gunpowder around his neck; pushed into fire –Prayed for persecutors Margaretha drowned 8 days later

17 Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528) Education & early ministry as Catholic (to 1522) –Earned doctorate; Scholastic theologian at University of Ingolstadt –Catholic priest at Regensburg –Pastor at Waldshut; studied NT, especially Pauline epistles

18 Balthasar Hubmaier Evangelical Reformer (1522-25) –Associated with Zwingli’s Reform in Zurich but sided with Swiss Brethren at Second Disputation (Oct. 1523) –Wrote 18 Articles & planned Reform at Waldshut

19 Balthasar Hubmaier Anabaptist Reformer (1525-28) –Baptized day before Easter; next day, baptized 300 –Reconstituted church at Waldshut based on believer’s baptism –Imprisoned at Zurich & released after recanting –1526, formed church at Augsburg –1527, organized Anabaptist church in Nikolsburg, Moravia

20 Balthasar Hubmaier 10 March 1528, in Vienna, burned at stake with sulphur & gunpowder rubbed into his beard “O dear brothers, pray God that he will give me patience in this my suffering. I will die in the Christian faith” Wife Elizabeth drowned in Danube 3 days later

21 Balthasar Hubmaier’s Writings Eighteen Articles (1524): First Reform writing –Faith, not merely assent –Hints at believer’s baptism –Local church should choose & support its own pastor –Denounced scholasticism –Priests should be allowed to marry Lord’s Supper = memorial

22 Balthasar Hubmaier’s Writings Concerning Heretics & Those Who Burn Them (1524): –1 st 16 th -century writing to advocate universal religious freedom –Advocated separation of church & state On Christian Baptism of Believers (1525): –Defended believer’s baptism & refuted Zwingli

23 Hubmaier’s Doctrines Universal religious liberty Separation of church & state Baptism –Essential requirement for proper NT church –Not sacramental –Prerequisites Hear the word Repent Show faith Confess sins Lord’s Supper as memorial

24 Hubmaier’s Doctrines Faith –Not mere mental assent –“Breaks out” in thanksgiving Soteriology –Human has free will, though limited in capacity to do good –Human is drawn outwardly by Word & inwardly by Holy Spirit –Result is “new birth” –Hubmaier believed in type of predestination that allows Gospel to be preached so that all may have chance to respond & be saved

25 Hubmaier’s Doctrines Marriage of priests Hubmaier on the Magistrate –Christian could be magistrate –Christian could bear the temporal sword, but only in certain instances of civil defense –Never justified in rebelling against unjust tyrant: in such a case, one must practice non-violent resistance, with willingness to suffer

26 Pilgram Marpeck (1495-1556) 1528-32, at Strasbourg, led Anabaptist church; opposed Bucer’s Reformed covenantal emphases; was expelled Settled in Augsburg in South Germany Distinguished between purposes of OT & NT –OT is promise; NT is fulfillment –OT is not equally normative with NT for ecclesiology: OT is preliminary; NT is final –OT should not be used to justify theocracy (church-state union) or covenantal interpretation of infant baptism

27 Melchior Hoffman (1495-1543) Began Anabaptist churches in North Germany & Netherlands Taught heavenly or celestial flesh of Christ –Mary did not furnish Jesus’ flesh but only his nourishment; she was conduit –Minimized his humanity; emphasized his deity

28 Melchior Hoffman (1495-1543) 1533, preached on Daniel & Revelation; declared that Strasbourg would be site of Jesus’ return & start of millennial kingdom Attracted multitudes, who expected Strasbourg to be New Jerusalem Rejected earlier Anabaptist pacifism; called for children of God to fight against children of darkness Predicted his imprisonment for 6 months, after which end would come He was imprisoned but was held beyond predicted Second Coming His followers left him in prison & went to Münster to look for Kingdom

29 Münster Anabaptists took over Münster, led by John Matthys & John Leiden Expelled Catholics; bishop & his army laid siege to city Results: iconoclasm, visions, polygamy, death of Matthys End: John Leiden was tortured, executed; his body was exhibited in cage Afterward, all Anabaptists tainted by reputation of radicals at Münster

30 Menno Simons (1496-1561) Former priest in Netherlands; baptized in 1536 Theology: –Discipline through church ban –Pacifism: reaction to Münster; refused participation in war –Faulty Christology: Christ’s nature did not derive from Mary’s flesh; instead, Christ’s body composed of “celestial flesh” Followers settled in America: Mennonites

31 Hutterites Led by Jacob Wiedemann (1528); financed by Jacob Hutter; near Nikolsburg, Moravia Peter Riedemann (1506-56) described Hutterite beliefs: - Christians must forsake private property - Regenerate person has no desire to own personal goods - Community of goods is necessary sign of true Church as seen in Acts 2

32 Biblical Anabaptists’ Theology Reform church back to primitive, NT model Scripture: guidelines for church from NT, not OT to justify state-church or persecution of heretics or infant baptism Believer’s baptism Lord’s Supper: memorial; Thanksgiving; sign of fellowship & unity

33 Biblical Anabaptists’ Theology Voluntarism: Believers formed “gathered church,” based on commitment to Christ, pledging themselves to discipleship Magistrate: to discharge justice & protect innocent; no jurisdiction in religious matters; most Anabaptists said that no Christian could be magistrate Sword: no Christian could go to war, even in defense of state Religious liberty for all Autonomy of local church: local congregations should elect, support & discipline pastor

34 Types of Radical Reformers Biblical: Use Bible as ultimate authority for reconstructing primitive church; examples: Anabaptists, later English Baptists Spiritualistic: Emphasize immediacy & primacy of revelation from Holy Spirit; new revelations come to God’s prophets that augment & even supersede Scripture; examples: Zwickau prophets, Münster Rationalistic: Human reason is authority in determining sense of Scripture & primitive model; challenge to doctrines of Trinity, vicarious atonement; examples: Servetus, Unitarians

35 Spiritualists Inspirationists or Evangelical Mystics Beliefs –Appealed to direct inspiration of Holy Spirit as prior, separate, beyond (or even against) Scripture –Dispensed with externals such as outward ordinances & formal church structures such as ordained ministry & confessions of faith

36 Spiritualists Beliefs –Gathered informal societies for fellowships for prayer, worship, exhortation & Bible study –Often held to perfectionist ideas that saints could live in full power of Christian life & overcome sin in present life –Opposed religious persecution, favored toleration & separation of church from state

37 Spiritualists Andreas Karlstadt Zwickau Prophets Thomas Müntzer Casper Schwenckfeld (1489-1561) –Mystic, Quietist, Pietist –Influenced by Luther but separated from him over spiritual interpretation of Lord’s Supper –Emphasized experiential knowledge of Christ –Believer is enrolled in School of Christ

38 Rationalists (Anti-Trinitarians) Beliefs –Restoration of biblical ideal for church –Appealed to reason for interpreting Scripture –Questioned orthodox teachings Anti-Trinitarian in range of heretical positions from modalism & adoptionism to Arianism –Optimistic about humanity’s moral uplift –Opposed persecution, advocated religious freedom

39 Rationalists (Anti-Trinitarians) Early example – Michael Servetus (1511-53) Wrote On the Errors of the Trinity (1531) Executed in Geneva with John Calvin’s approval

40 Rationalists (Anti-Trinitarians) Later shaper – Faustus Socinus (1539-1604) Exiled Italian humanist who joined Polish Brethren Applied baptism only to Gentile converts; hence, rejected infant baptism Denied deity of Christ & Trinity God's omniscience limited to what was necessary truth in future (what would definitely happen), and did not apply to what was contingent truth (what might happen) Beliefs led to Socinianism & Unitarianism


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