Tag Archives: Donatists

272 – Sept. 29, 1512 – This Day in Baptist History Past

The Donatists Repudiated this Falsity

Balthasar Hubmaier received the doctorate of theology from the University of Ingolstadt in Germany and entered the Roman Catholic ministry. Through his studies he became disillusioned with what he had been taught and by 1523 was in contact with the Protestant reformer, Zwingli and he was transformed by the grace of God. His outspoken ways brought great persecution down upon him. He like Peter, under pressure, denied the truth, but repented and was able to give a glorious testimony to God’s grace in the flames of martyrdom on March 10, 1528. Three days later his wife Elizabeth, undaunted in her faith, was thrown into the Danube River and drowned. The doctrine that caused our Anabaptist forebears to suffer at the hands of Catholic and Protestant Reformers alike was infant baptism. That wicked heresy was established in the third century as Cyprian consulted with sixty bishops upon the question of whether children were to be baptized on the third or eighth day from their birth? Our forefathers the Donatists, repudiated this falsity. The Reformers, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin continued in this heresy, and also persecuted the Baptists, and other non-conformists over this issue, which they had received from Augustine. [Wm. R. Estep, The Anabaptist Story Nashville: Broadman Press, 1963), p. 49. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 533-34.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

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Anabaptist Memorial in Zurich

[the] Anabaptists… realized their principles had long endured.
 On this date, Jan. 05, 1527 two outstanding Anabaptists paid the price for their faith.  Felix Manz, known as the Apollo of the Anabaptists, was drowned in Lake Zurich for his testimony for Christ.  George Blaurock, considered the Hercules of the movement, was stripped to the waist and severely beaten.  Many church historians speak of the Anabaptists as mere heretics.  Franklin Hamlin Littell, in The Origins of Protestantism (New York: The Macmillan Co. 1964), wrote, “Information on the…[Anabaptists] has been notoriously scarce and has rested in the main upon hostile polemics.”  It is apparent that the Anabaptists in the days of the Reformers realized their principles had long endured.  They maintained, according to Littell, the “…principle that the True Church could not have been destroyed since the founding. …”  Dr. Roland H. Bainton connects Anabaptists with the ancient Donatists he when acknowledges that “The parallels between the Anabaptists and Donatists were however, more than superficial.”  One of the things he wrote of was their similar enemies and persecutions and enemies.  He also said, “To call these people Anabaptists, that is rebaptizers, was to malign them, because they denied that baptism was repeated, inasmuch as infant baptism is no baptism at all.  The called themselves simply Baptists.  The offensive name was given to them to bring them under the Justinian Code which had been written against the Donatists.  Leonard Verdin, historian of the Christian Reformed Denomination wrote, “We know that at the time of the birth of the Hybrid [The Anabaptists of the days of the Reformation] there were already people who were called Anabaptists.”  Interestingly C. A. Cornelius (1819-1903) a Roman Catholic scholar was among the first historians to call for modern research of the Anabaptist movement.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. IIII: Cummins /, pp. 9-10.
The picture above is a memorial in Zurich listing the names of 43 Anabaptists who were martyred by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy (Church/State) in the 16th Century. (Wickepedia)

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