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)
Tag Archives: banishment
State Church or Gods Word
He had forsaken the priesthood
Jan. 17, 1525, was the first time that George Blaurock is heard of, and that is in connection with a discussion of the Anabaptists concerning infant baptism. The very basis of soul liberty is at the very heart of this issue. This was clearly seen by the Anabaptists before and after the Reformation. Pilgram Marpeck said, “By infant baptism men coerce people to enter the Kingdom of God; and yet there should be no coercion there…” The repudiation of infant baptism in Jan. 1525, led to the banishment of Ludwig Hetzer, William Reublin, and others, and to the imprisonment of Conrad Grebel, Blaurock and Felix Manz. Blaurock had been a monk, but had renounced the religion of ritual for one of reality. Following the deaths of Grebel and Manz he had become a leader among the Swiss Anabaptists, until he was burned at the stake. He was martyred because “…he had forsaken the priesthood, he disregarded infant baptism, he rejected the mass; he rejected the confession of the priests, and the mother of Christ is not to be invoked or worshipped.” At the place of execution he earnestly spoke to the people, and pointed them to the scriptures. In his death he exemplified one of the hymns he had written: “Blessed are those in all tribulation who cling to Christ to the end.” He was known as the second Paul and the “Hercules of the Anabaptists.” Another Blaurock hymn: “As he himself our suffering bore; When hanging on the accursed tree; So there is suffering still in store; O pious heart, for you and me.”
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins, pp. 35-36.