Bound and drowned for Christ
Aeltgen Baten an aged woman. And Maeyken Wouters a young woman about 24 years both received Christ and were baptized and gave evidence of their faith before God and man in their community in their native city of Liege, Belgium. For no more than this, the authorities of the state church (Roman Catholic) sent 14 trappers (those who were charged to bring in heretics) to apprehend these two offensive women. They were imprisoned for ten weeks in the officials’ tower, where they were enticed to turn from their faith. One bishop’s chaplain came to Maeyken on bended knee with wine trying to get her to recant but she repelled the “devil’s deceipt.” A friend came and said, “Just yield on one point and you can live as before.” She said, “Would you advise that I should forsake God and become a child of the Devil?” The man said, “Then you will have to die.” She said, “I would rather have this come to pass than to enjoy the light of day.” These two saints of God endured the worst tortures devised by depraved mankind, often fainting and being revived with cold water. They were so sustained that Aeltgen said, “Yes, if the door stood open, I should not wish to go away.” In all their sufferings they were joyful in their God, thankful to Him and sang praises to Him in prison. Their sentence was that they were to be bound, gagged and cast alive from the Meuse River Bridge. And so it was. Aeltgen said, “O Lord, this is a beautiful city indeed; would that it repented with Ninevah.” Maeyken asked that she might pray, her executioner told her to pray to the lords the magistrates, and believe with us in the Romish Church, and you shall save your life. And so the depths swallowed up these two precious saints on July 24, 1595, and their Lord received them.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 303-04.
Catholics and Protestants both engaged in burning Baptists
Protestant reformers were sometimes as guilty of atrocities as the Romanists against the Baptists and Anabaptists. Catholics and Protestants taught that tradition, reason and Scripture made it the pious duty of saints to torture and burn men as heretics out of pure love for their holiness and salvation. Protestantism told them that it was a sacred duty to slaughter those as schismatics , sectaries, malignants, who corrupted the Church and would not live in peace with the Reformed. The sad instances of persecution practiced against the Baptists by the Protestants in King Edward VI’s reign are in the Latin version of Foxe’s Book of Martrs but were left out of his English edition in order to protect the reputation of some of the martyrs of Queen Mary’s day who had persecuted the Baptists during Edward’s reign. John Rogers, one of Foxe’s friends, called for the death of those who opposed the baptism of infants. It was reported that Rogers declared “That burning alive was no cruel death, but easy enough.” It is believed that Foxe responded that Rogers himself may be the first to experience this mild burning. And so it was, Rogers was the first to be burned when the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne. During the last year of Edward’s reign Humphry Middleton was cast into prison by the Archbishop. After Bloody Mary arose to power, the bishops were cast into prison and Middleton was burned at Canterbury on July 12, 1555. The time of baptism as well as the mode was debated at this time because some of the Protestants immersed. So the issue was believer’s baptism v . infant baptism. During Mary’s reign the prisons were crowded because both of these positions were anathema to the Catholic Mary. None was recorded by Baptists.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 285-86.
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)