Mister Richardson’s
Church History Class

Chapter 25: The Anabaptists

A. Beginnings
1. The Anabaptist movement started in Zürich, Switzerland in 1525.
2. Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock, even though he had been baptized as a baby.
3. The people who believed in baptism as an adult, on the basis of faith, were called Anabaptists (or Re-Baptizers) because so many of them had already been baptized as a baby.
4. They rejected the view that citizens of the state automatically became members of the church.
5. They also believed that all members of the church should be born-again and baptized after a profession of faith.

B. Other Beliefs
1. Many of the Anabaptists approved of Luther's and Zwingli's teachings, but thought they had not gone far enough.
2. Anabaptists believed in a complete separation from the world.
3. They would not take an oath in court, nor take up arms in defense of their country.
4. They also established small, independent communities where all shared together.
5. Some even believed that God still inspired prophets as in the Bible.
6. Because of their rejection of the authority of the state, many Anabaptists were persecuted and executed.

C. The Kingdom of Münster
1. In the 1530's, radical Anabaptists under the leadership of Melchior Hoffman attempted to establish Christ's Kingdom on earth.
2. Hoffman predicted that Jesus would return in 1533.
3. But Hoffman died in prison before the year came.
4. Jan Matthys and his followers then took over the city of Münster, which they called The New Jerusalem. Thousands came.
5. But the city was besieged by a united army of Catholics and Lutherans.
6. Matthys was killed in battle in April, 1534.
7. John of Leiden then took charge and proclaimed himself king, while permitting polygamy.
8. The city was taken on June 24, 1535, with many people massacred and tortured.

D. Mennonites and Amish
1. Menno Simons was ordained as a Catholic priest in Holland in 1524.
2. He left the Catholic Church in 1536 after studying the writings of Luther and others.
3. He joined the Anabaptists and began to emphasize honest work and peaceful living.
4. His followers came to be known as Mennonites because of their rejection of the radical Anabaptist teachings.
5. The Amish were known for the teachings of Jakob Ammann.
6. They separated from other Anabaptists in 1693 in order to practice a rigorous discipline that includes excommunication and shunning.