Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Anabaptists and Zwingli

Been reading about the Sixteenth-Century Anabaptists. Troubling stuff. Makes no sense. Reformation leaders like Zwingli believed the Bible was the prime authority for the church. Yet they murdered their Anabaptist brothers by drowning them.

Why? The Anabaptists saw support in the Bible for adult baptisms, and Zwingli and company didn't. Was it all about control?

The Bible is the authority... as long as you let me interpret it for you!???

(If you have an hour to listen to some history about the Anabaptists, try this link:


Maël said...


for Zwingli it was a little more complicated than control. It was not about control, but politics and cowardice. You must remember that at that time, the church and the state ware tied. Zwingli was able to implement many "good" reforms in Zurich because he won over the government to his side, therefore rendering the Roman faith illegal there. He, like his Anabaptist brothers in Christ, had come to the conclusion that Baptism should be by immersion and after salvation. He eventually denied that, but there are writings that prove that he did early on. With a pastoral concern Zwingli warned his brothers that the people were not ready for that much change. They waited two years on him to move, but by then Zwingli had decided that he was going to loose the favor of the government if he moved in that direction, so he never did. Out of cowardice he then turned his back on his brothers and persecuted them.

Zwingli was deadly wrong, but I do not think that we can truly comprehend the culture they were in. We have been too accustomed to freedom of religion and the separation of church and state.

The Anabaptists are neat people. There is much we can learn from them: both good and bad. Keep on reading!

Jonathan said...

Thanks Maël for the comment. Yes what you say lines up with what I've read/heard. I guess there is a difference between control and wanting to be in with power and politics.

It must have been difficult for those following people like Zwingli. They would hear Zwingli say that the Bible is the authority for our faith. But when they read the Bible themselves and see new truths that don't conform to the new ruling powers they are told not to follow the Bible but stick with the crowd.

I'm feeling in a similar spot these days. Just thankful society no longer believes heretics need to be killed. :)

Yes, I also love how the Anabaptists figured out that the body must be free to participate at the gathering... and how they ended up gathering in homes. They show that the new organic church or simple church movement isn't really a new thing.

God bless!