“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you
of the common salvation,
it was needful for me to write unto you,
and exhort you that ye should
earnestly contend for the faith which was
once delivered unto the saints.”
When Jude wrote those everlasting words of exhortation, little did he know that they would be the continual spring board of the ever beckoning Biblical call to a ministerial repentance and repetitive return to the faith of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:22-26), that established for all eternity the Presbyterian principles of church government founded in the Book of Acts, and carried by the Apostle Paul from that small mixed race presbytery in Antioch (Acts 13:1-6), and baptized in the blood of all the martyrs of Jesus Christ unto this present hour as the continual costs of having God Almighty do great things through little men, who simply reckoned upon God being with them in their uncompromising rejection of apostate Christianity’s ecclesiastical preeminence with man. The foundations of the best of religions have always been man centered, even in the greatest concaves of Christendom. And little wonder, when for two thousand years all such religions and religious personages have been against the foundation of the Church of God, “which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
The entire church age story of Jesus Christ (it is His-story) from the first day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1) unto this present hour has been a continual clash between those whom the Apostle Paul confessed of being “the off scouring of all things unto this day” (1 Corinthians 4:13) and those infamous “men of renown” (Genesis 6:4/ Numbers 16:1-4) that have always taken over every religious movement on the face of this earth since Noah (see 2 Peter 2:4-20/ Jude 12-20). That centuries old conflict that pitted light against darkness at Calvary (1 John 1:5/ 2 Corinthians 4:4/ “prince of this world cometh and hath no place in me”….c.f.), raged on into the age of grace in the oft violent suppression of “the children of light, and the children of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5) by those whom the Bible has always labeled as “false brethren unawares brought in” (Galatians 2:4).
Since the anti-Christ like prophetic rantings of Caiaphas (see John 11:47-53), there has always existed in Christianity “a sect of the Pharisees that believed” (Acts 15:5) but who “find no place of repentance” (Hebrews 12:16, 17), who “rise up” (vs. 5) and know enough of the Bible to “wrest the scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16) in prophesying the expediency of “one man dying” (John 11:50) rather than suffering the loss of “our place and our nation” (vs. 47). And so that lineage of Pharisees and false brethren unawares brought in have prophesied, and the sheep of God’s pasture have died countless times for that holy calling to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in their flesh” (Colossians 1:24) in “always bearing about in the body the dying…the dying…the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12). This “treasure in earthen vessels” (vs. 7) the Bible calls “the mystery of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The scriptures call it being “buried with Christ by baptism into death” (Romans 6:3—6/ 1 Peter 3:18-4:1, 2). Paul called it “being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10), which the Bible sets forth as “a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9). By the pen of ready writers (Psalm 45:1) throughout the chronicles of history, both religious and secular God Almighty calls it, “Anabaptism”.
The burning of Clement the Scotchman A.D. 756
What then does it mean to be an Anabaptists?
Who are these people of God, that so nobly lived to die for Christ, and died to live in Him “counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord: for whom they suffered the loss of all things…that [as they testified again and again]…that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8, 9)? The Anabaptists were, and to this day still are as their name proclaims. The name has a three fold origin in both a Biblical exercise instituted by the Apostle Paul, a secular identification defining that Pauline exercise as being worthy of universal condemnation and death, the second of which when carried out establishes the third, and was and still is a physical manifestation from God Almighty of the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the lives of those who “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3) in “living godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12).
The word itself is Greek, avaßaptisµa, which means “Another baptism” (ana- “another”/ ßaptiaµa- “baptism”). That Greek word began to appear in church Latin in the 4th century, after being used in the Imperial Law Code from Justinian (A.D. 529) to condemn the practice of baptizing people with “another baptism” who had once been baptized as an infant or adult in the Roman Catholic Church. It condemned the belief in the necessity of “another baptism” as a heresy penalized by death . Latin Codex Justinianeus, formally Corpus Juris Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”) was the collections of laws and legal interpretations developed under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I from AD 529 to 565, one of which condemned anyone practicing Anabaptism to be worthy of death. That practice of baptizing people with “another baptism” from erroneous religious beliefs had its origin in the very first Anabaptist in the New Testament called Paul the Apostle, who in Acts 19 re-baptized the only Baptists converts mentioned in the entire Book of Acts with “another baptism” besides that which was given them by John the Baptists.
“And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?
And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily
baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people,
that they should believe on him which should come after him,
that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
-Acts 19:3, 4
Religious historians have lived and died to tell this story in various shades of the truth shown through ecclesiastical and denominational prisms, depending upon their own religion’s close or distant proximity to the “great falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) from such a “faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); and also depending upon their standing in either the crowd that watched these martyrs die, or in the council of them that thought they did God a service in killing them (John 16:2). John Foxe wrote about them in his famous Foxes’ Book of Martyrs as penance for having taken his part in the death of some of them . Church Historians’ fascination with the Anabaptists, whom they pen as “those radical reformers”, have inked that name into the everlasting annals of church history in countless stories as the label of both “heretic”, “reformer”, martyr and mad man, anarchists and saint. In following those historians whose religion burned and drowned them, they are called “cursed Anabaptists” and “radicals” in both Protestant and Catholic histories, never telling why they call them thus, in order to justify and cover that trail of blood that leads from their sanctuaries. In following the histories written by those who forsook both the life and the name, while still claiming the heritage of being that very line and name they forsook to escape the life of persecution, you find them fraudulently calling them Mennonites and Baptists before factual history ever heard of such folks.
The Mennonites and Baptists insist upon tracing their heritage back to the Anabaptists, without ever explaining why they do not hold to that name, while fraudulently claiming their historic confessions make them the heir to the line without the name or the life of an Anabaptist! Mennonite and Baptists historians are chief priests and scribes in the Apostate Liars Union of religious historians that think nothing about changing factual history into denominational fiction to cover their flight from “the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24/ 2 Timothy 1:8) while still wanting to claim expo facto the name for historic fame, though their “Christian testimony” screams post haste that they despise Anabaptist holiness, godliness and public reproach for “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12). The approach of Baptists and Mennonite historians for two centuries has been to remodel historic accounts to fit their individual denominational beliefs in premising their historic search with the insistence that the only sound way to write about church history is to look for the historic fundamental beliefs that the historian’s religion holds to, in the lives and beliefs of the men and women whose blood stains the annals of the Anabaptists chronicle. When the Baptists historian finds any of the martyrs that believed even one of the “historic Baptists principles”, they call that man or woman a Baptists , and lay claim to an apostolic succession that is theirs only in the vainest imaginations, completely unsupported by even a nominal inspection of the present day life of that Baptist historian and his Baptist religion. Though Thomas Armitage, in A History of the Baptists admitted the impossibility of such a succession in both his Preface to his original work, as well as to a detailed discussion of the same [pages 2-21), he nevertheless, thought nothing of labeling Anabaptists men and women as ‘Baptists’, to accomplish what the errant Baptists’ secessionists theorists could not. Even in the 1988 reprinting of Armitage’s work by Baptist Heritage Press, the Baptist Publisher admitted to the fraud of replacing the Anabaptist’s name, which the publisher excused under the guise of re-positioning Armitage’s view of the Baptists’ lineage by combining Armitage’s approach in a compromise with Robert Torbet’s English Separatist view . In that Foreword, Richard Weeks admitted, “It would seem that the Anabaptist title could well be dropped and that Torbet’s fourth sub-title under the Secessionist theory could be combined to make the third major theory more accurately that of simply Spiritual Kinship theory or a succession of spiritual principles”. Weeks clearly confesses to the Baptist approach of just outright lying about the identities of Anabaptists by calling them Baptists, writing in his Foreword, “This would dispense with the impossible task of trying to maintain an unnecessary chain-link approach to Baptist history but yet it would provide for continuity of Baptist principles…Logically if those new Testament principles were continuously in existence so were “Baptist” churches, and this fact LEAVES US WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION TO TRY TO IDENTIFY THE HISTORICAL RECORD OF LINEAL CHURCH DESCENT, which candidly is both IMPOSSIBLE AND UNNECESSARY”. This is just a seared conscience telling the truth about blatant lying in order to force a position and a Baptists view of church history that is fraudulent from the start. In layman’s speak, if the Baptist can just find one of their principles “in existence” in the lives and ministries of the Anabaptists, then the Baptist Churches were likewise in existence, whether they were or not. Howsoever true in his admission of this “third position” of viewing and writing future Baptists chronicles, the Baptists historians [including Armitage and J.M. Carroll ) have shifted from the original Baptists position beginning with John Smyth, and wishing to re-establish in word only, a link back to the Anabaptists, continue to outright lie about the associational identities of Anabaptists to fraudulently build their Spiritual Kinship theory into a historic record by falsely identifying Anabaptists martyrs and Anabaptists churches as Baptists. After 150 years of this lying, where one Baptist historian after another constructs their entire premise from infernal evidence, (that is each successive Baptist historian quotes and references from previous Baptists historians fraudulent manipulation of factual history), that the entire Baptists historical record is now so tarnished that it is worthless as a dependable reference for anyone seeking the truth.
But from the beginning of factual, and true Baptist history, for at least the first century and a half of their existence (1604-1776), “Baptists were firm in repudiating the suggestion that they had anything in common with the Anabaptists” at all, and “insist[ed] that they were not to be confused with the Anabaptist” . Factual history clearly states from the actual extent writings of the Baptists that they forsook that “cursed Anabaptists name” to escape the relentless persecution that accompanied that name and that life of Christ down through the Church Age . Thus the Baptists removed the “Ana” from the name not realizing that it wasn’t the Anabaptist name causing the persecution, nor the Anabaptist’s beliefs, but it was the Anabaptist’s life from God that has always brought about the persecution. Fear of persecution always starts with self: self preservation, self recognition and self esteem, and the latter being that which “when lusts hath conceived” in the first two, it “bringeth forth sin” in the latter; and “when sin is finished” in the latter, it “bringeth forth death” in the child of God and his church; spiritual death in exchange for physical life.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
And whosoever will lose his life for my sake
shall find it.”
- Matthew 16:25
Howbeit, today’s Baptists historian in that age old ecclesiastical exercise of that “sect of the Pharisees that believed” (Acts 15:5) these Baptists Pharisees and hypocrites falsify their writings about those same Anabaptists martyrs they originally repudiated any association with, in order to gloriously “build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous” (Matthew 23:29).
But the original and factual view of the Baptists was to distinguish themselves completely different from the Anabaptists. In writing of the Anabaptists entrance into England “as early as 1530”, Dr. W. T. Whitley wrote that “Baptists are to be sharply distinguished from the Anabaptists of the Continent, some of whom took refuge in England as early as 1530” . In deed all of the early Baptists Historians unanimously noted the distinction between Anabaptists and Baptists, who were of themselves by age, the closest to that generation to have remembered and endeavored to record that distinction, lest it be forgotten, or as is the case today fraudulently distorted. Of those historians are Evans, Early English Baptists, Vol. I, and Ivimey, History of the English Baptists, Vol. I and Crosby, History of the English Baptists, Volume I.
John Smyth and his small association of believers that hastened to remove themselves from “the reproach of Christ” (Hebrews 11:26), wrote in 1608 and “complained against the term Anabaptist as a name of reproach unjustly cast upon them” . For one hundred and fifty years after John Smyth, this same gripe can be found in “historic Baptist records”, clearly with wanton disregard of the Scriptural admonition that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12), as Baptist writers unnumbered insisted they should not be in anyway, doctrinal or otherwise connected with those “radical Anabaptists” so hated of men for the trouble they caused the body of Christ. Even the General Baptists Confession of 1611 [the year the King James Bible was presented to the world] listed numerous Anabaptists doctrines as errors not to be associated with Baptists. Then in 1660, The Standard Confession of General Baptists was subtitled, “A Brief Confession or Declaration of Faith, set forth by many of as who are falsely called Anabaptists” . The Particular Baptist Confession of 1644 with its 1646 revision contained similar disclaimers in the entitlements, namely, “churches commonly (though falsely) called Anabaptists”, and “Congregations…commonly (and unjustly) called Anabaptists” . And in 1777, Isaac Backus, that famous American Separatists Congregationalists preacher turned Baptist pastor, turned Continental Delegate, turned historian quoted from an act passed at Norwich, Connecticut, requiring Baptists “to certify a conscientious belief at a point which they did not believe; namely, that they were Anabaptists, a name of reproach cast upon them by their persecutors” . When the Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf wrote of the Baptists in Pennsylvania he stated very clearly, “The Baptist Church has not proved its origin, but they have sufficiently shown that they have nothing in common with the Anabaptists” .
One must realize that the enormous extent of the Catholic persecution against the Anabaptists throughout all of Europe up until 1500 A.D., grew in such magnitude when all of the Protestant Reformers joined the onslaught against them, that fear of death and banishment gripped the nominal recruits to Anabaptism, and even as their counterparts today are, certain ones began looking for ways to amend rather than just outright forsake “the faith of Christ”. It only takes one soldier to flee the fight, and many will retreat in a full swing to the rear of the conflict in a panicked rush to find an excusable way out of the war altogether (see Deuteronomy 20:8). Thus entered the annals of Church History two men, one just outside London, and the other just outside Zürich, each one being “a plain man” (Genesis 25:27), with a plain name, whose “fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15) “all their lifetime” moved them from one camp to another, as they searched for plausible and acceptable ways to believe the gospel without being a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8), and discover a plausible and acceptable way to peaceably “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) without “walk[ing] according to this rule” (Galatians 6:16 c.f. vs. 12) that “it is given…unto you…in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29); and to discover a plausible and acceptable means by which Christians could be “baptized into Jesus Christ” without being “baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). And so entered into the annals of church history, one Menno Simons born in Witmarsum, Netherlands in 1496 and one John Smyth, born in Lincolnshire in 1570. Both men came from little known backgrounds that landed them as priests in the national church of their time; Menno in the Catholic Church and John Smyth in the Anglican Church. Both men lived out their existence as ministerial transients, that fled “the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10/ James 1:12) as if it had been a bear trap.
Menno was born into a Dutch peasant family, and his father's name was Simon. Though a peasant’s poor life and family, he was enrolled at an early age in a monastic school, possibly at the Franciscan monastery in Bolsward, to prepare for the priesthood. From the little knowledge extant about his Catholic endeavors, he apparently never excelled until in March 1524, at the age of 28, he was ordained at Utrecht and assigned to the parish at Pingjum, near where he had been born in Witmarsum. Seven years later he became the village priest in his home parish at Witmarsum.
John Smyth was born nine years after the death of Menno Simons, and was educated locally just like Menno in a local grammar school as just a plain ordinary boy. Howbeit, just like Menno he rose from obscure hapless means to a privileged education, and studied further at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was a fellow during 1594–98 following his ordination as an Anglican priest in 1594. Smyth was a city preacher at Lincoln from 1600 to 1602, just as Menno was a village priest in his home parish of Witmarsum. And the similarities continued with Menno wavering through 12 years of spiritual struggle with his doctrinal beliefs and doubts that he kept suppressed for what he would later confess in writing was caused by “fear of the cross of his Lord”, and “apprehension and fear…the weakness of my nature…and the indescribably heavy cross which, if I began to preach, would be the more felt” . At the end of 12 years of suppressing the truth by his own fears of public persecution, Menno forsook the Catholic Church and turned to Christ alone for salvation, and became the bishop of a small band of Anabaptists gathered under the teaching of Obbe Philips in Groningen . Howbeit, history records from his own writings, that Menno never shook himself of those same fears, about which he would write with his own pen,
“Pondering these things my conscience tormented me so that I could no longer endure it.…If I through bodily fear do not lay bare the foundation of the truth, nor use all my powers to direct the wandering flock who would gladly do their duty if they knew it, to the true pastures of Christ—oh, how shall their shed blood, shed in the midst of transgression, rise against me at the judgment of the Almighty and pronounce sentence against my poor, miserable soul!”
Howbeit, Menno continued in his fears, and all his life time that fear moved him to continually flee from one place to another “lest he suffer persecution for the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:12). Even in his first writings after his call to the ministry, Menno wrote in the Meditation on the Twenty-Fifth Psalm that “it is not necessary to use the sword against me, for if I have not the truth of Jesus Christ, I shall gladly be taught it” . That stands in stark contrast to the assurance of the believers “in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of” (2 Timothy 3:14) in “earnestly contend[ing] for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), being “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
“If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee,
leave not thy place;
for yielding pacifieth great offenses.”
Howbeit, Menno’s last minute flights from those who sought his life were almost always at the expense of other men’s lives that provided safe haven to him; Christians that watched him flee their homes ahead of persecution, leaving those saints to face what was intended for him. And each time, those Anabaptists saints would stand fast in the faith that Menno wavered in, being arrested for harboring him, and to a man were examined in his stead and martyred for their “stedfastness of their faith of Christ” (Colossians 2:5), even when they were offered clemency for betraying him . Among those who took upon themselves not just “the fellowship of the ministering to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:4/ 9:1) but likewise “the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings” (Philippians 3:10) was Tjard Reynders . Menno laboured in East Friesland and then fled to West Friesland. When a Royal decree was issued in West Friesland in 1541, demanding his arrest, he fled to Amsterdam. From Amsterdam he moved from one place to another to avoid capture, finally fleeing the Netherlands in 1543 and proceeded to Northwest Germany, where there were districts in which the persecution was less severe than in the Netherlands. Finally, Menno was safer than in his fatherland, where he abode until 1561, his sixty-sixth year, and there died of old age and a weary life. Truly, his writings speak volumes about his ability to write the truth, though his life speaks volumes about his inability to die for it. His record is on high, which heaven declares includes the historical fact that he alone lived to write about the truth of Christ, that all the other Anabaptists leaders died for to a man during the same period of time.
In identical fashion, John Smyth too struggled for (12) years renouncing Anglicanism in 1606 and became minister at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, to a group of Separatists who had similarly abandoned the Church of England. His life was never as outstanding as he wanted it to be, and though Baptists in England have made a better to do of the man than God ever made of him, or even he made of himself, time and chance were not good to Smyth. He was born after the death of Luther, and after the Reformation was practically over, being born into a more tolerant Protestant England, twelve years after the death of Bloody Mary on November 17, 1558. The Council of Trent [December 13, 1545] established Rome’s counter reformation policies of ecumenicism, which was the motivating cause of England’s final break with the Catholic Church, both of which occurred before Smyth was born. Smyth was born after the death of Menno Simons, and Menno’s followers had already began to call themselves Mennonites. And like unto Menno Simons, the personal fears of John Smyth haunted him enough that though separating himself from the Anglican Church, he never could openly separate himself unto the “afflictions of the gospel” (Colossians 1;24), without first fleeing elsewhere before they arrived to overtake him. For two years Smyth worked with John Robinson, the minister to the Pilgrims in England and later in Holland, and helped organize Separatists in Nottinghamshire. In 1608, under the precipitated fear of what would follow under King James’ disdain of Anabaptist in his kingdom, both Smyth and Robinson went with their followers to Amsterdam. When James I ascended the throne in 1603, he began persecuting the Separatists. "I will make them conform themselves," he swore, "or I will have them out of the land." Smyth's group of 50 or so fled to Amsterdam, which was known for its religious toleration and its already-sizable community of Separatist exiles. Dropping the “Ana” from their designation and adopting Baptist principles there, Smyth baptized first himself and then others, including Thomas Helwys, later an influential London Baptist. Though an obvious attempt to avoid anything that might be conceived by those in authority as a “re-baptism”, Smyth’s self deceived act of actually baptizing himself goes without comment as nothing related to the Bible. Of this stupendous self gratifying compromise, Smyth himself wrote, “There is good warrant for a man churching himself," he justified. "For two men singly are no church; so may two men put baptism upon themselves”. Though this vain attempt at establishing a religious act that could escape being called “Ana-Baptist” [Re-Baptized], Smyth sought to create just a ‘baptism’ of one, for which the Amsterdam Separatist Richard Bernard nicknamed him a “Se-Baptist” (i.e. a self-baptizer). Nevertheless, Smyth as well as Thomas Helwys, succeeded in over coming both names [“Se-Baptists” and “Anabaptist”] and conferring upon themselves and their followers the shortened name of ‘Baptist’ .
However, in much dismay to the Baptist ever since, John Smyth found Amsterdam was also home to many Mennonites, who had for two generations practiced adult baptism based on a personal confession of faith. In his fearful, always wavering desire for self preservation and self propagation, Smyth began to converse with the Mennonites, and the more he communed with them, the more he began to embrace some of their views to the disparagement of Thomas Helwys. Smyth finally became convinced by the Mennonites that his having baptized himself was just a erroneous as his time in the Anglican church, and thus he wrote of his final despair, “We are in constant error”, and applied for membership in the Mennonite churches. To this sad confession, his protégé Thomas Helwys had him excommunicated in typical Baptists fashion of ‘cutting off their foot to spite their face’, and Helwys and all who Smyth had baptized in Amsterdam returned to England in 1611. And though Smyth continued to argue in defense of his having joined the Mennonites, Baptists historians edit out all the above factual information, and still refer to him as the father of the Baptists movement.
Not much removed from this fraud is the work of the Baptist’s historian’s Mennonite counter part that likewise looks for historic Mennonite principles in the blood of the Anabaptists martyrs. But unlike the Baptists who more often than not find their “Baptists distinctives” in one or more of the beliefs of the Anabaptist martyrs, the Mennonite searches in vain for his paramount Mennonite distinctives hammered into the confessions of Mennonites, Amish and Hutterian societies after the death of Menno Simons (namely hyper pacifism, foot washing, baptism by other means than immersion, the practice of shunning and the ban, and communal living). When such distinctively Mennonite teachings cannot be found in the confessions of the Anabaptists before Menno Simons or even in Menno’s own beliefs and writings, the Mennonite historian inserts them into the chronology hundreds of years before such beliefs were ever held or written down . Such fraudulent editing of original works to maintain a claim to a lineage long forsaken by both the Mennonites and Baptists is inexcusable lying that has moved God's people who do walk in the Anabaptists "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) to forsake both camps, and return to a Biblical reckoning of personal devotions to Christ and a strict New Testament Church authority based entirely upon the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. To reform the Mennonite and Baptists churches with their varied illegitimate offsprings (Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, Southern Baptists, Free Will Baptists, Independent Baptists and Calvinists, 7th Day Adventists, etc.) is a stupendous waste of godly energy that true Anabaptists history has proved absolutely impossible. The Protestant Reformers as Zwingli and Luther attempted such and produced nothing more than what they vainly attempted to reform with a twist on the fundamentals of their theology. “The reformers aimed to reform the old Church by the Bible; the radicals attempted to build a new Church from the Bible ”. The Anabaptists “despaired of seeing any good in the historical Church, and believed that it must be ended, as it was impossible to mend it” . The rest of Catholic and Protestant denominations have too much innocent blood from the Anabaptists martyrs dripping from their ecclesiastical hands to ever rate more than an open reproof to forsake that trail of blood and turn to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Howbeit, to reject those who have rejected this “way of holiness” (Isaiah 35:8) means nothing if that way cannot be established as even still existing in the lives of these who have learned to walk by that name, created of God for all those who “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” Anabaptists (Ephesians 4:1).
It is as futile as it is inaccurate and faulty to search the annals of church history for a folk who believed everything or anything of what Christians believe today, in order to establish a link or some vain historical connection that would lend legitimacy to modern day theological beliefs of a Christianity that on the whole sale scale has forsaken the life of Christ for a stated adherence to fundamental beliefs about Christianity without a life to match. Such fraudulent chronicling of church history is like unto searching the funeral photos of dead men buried to find a facial feature, hair color or similitude of height to your illegitimate bastard child in order to lend it a name of credibility, when your abominable fornication was covered by the very murder of the one’s whose name you stole to legitimize your child of whoredom. To do so would be to duplicate the same apostate self justification of all the historians mentioned above. The Anabaptists martyrs did not live or die for what they believed, but rather for a refusal to keep such beliefs to themselves. The Devil and Mankind have never martyred anyone for keeping their beliefs to themselves, or for believing what they did not live by. Nor have there ever been martyrs to just living to one’s own self, or believing to ones own self. Hypocrites have never been burned at the stake nor shall they ever suffer such, even as a punishment for their hypocrisy (study any Baptist Church since John Smith). Nor has anyone ever been martyred for keeping quite about their beliefs right or wrong (study any Mennonite, Amish, Brethren or Hutterite society over the last 300 years). The Anabaptists through out the church age have never been arrested just for what they believed, for they all believed a variety of things that differed even from one another.
The Anabaptists were to the man, killed for what they were called, and what they were called had nothing to do with what they believed when they were called that. For the very people, churches and governments that called them that, could never for the life of their murderous inquisitions agree by the evidence as to what these “holy people” (Deuteronomy 7:6) actually believed as a whole that was worthy of death. Even the Anglican turned Anabaptist Martyrologists John Foxe wrote to Queen Elizabeth, pleading, although in vain, for a “milder form of punishment” than burning at the stake. He admits the unreasonableness of their opinions, but says: “As to these fanatical sects…it is certain they are by no means to be countenanced in a commonwealth, but, in my opinion, ought to be suppressed by proper correction. But to roast alive the bodies of poor wretches that offend rather through blindness of judgment than perverseness of will, in fire and flames, raging with pitch and brimstone, is a hard-hearted thing, and more agreeable to the practice of Romanists than the customs of the Gospeller” . Such evidence of what they actually did believe has been truthfully recorded in countless volumes of the inquisitors own written records, where these little lambs “witnessed a good confession” (1 Timothy 6:13), none of which was sufficient witness against their souls to merit the condemnation of death pronounced upon them.
“Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know
That I find no fault in him.”
Howbeit, their unjustified condemnation is “now written…and printed in a book…graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock of their salvation for ever” (Job 19:23, 24/ Deuteronomy 32:15/ 2 Samuel 22:47/ Psalm 89:26/ 95:1), for they all lived and died for “the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:9/ 12:17) as “the spirit of prophecy” (19:10) that called these “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38)…ANABAPTISTS.
Again, what then does it mean to be an Anabaptists? Who are these people of God, that so nobly lived to die for Christ, and died to live in Him “counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord: for whom they suffered the loss of all things…that [as they testified again and again]…that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8, 9)? The Anabaptists were, and to this day still are as their name proclaims. The name has a three fold origin in both a Biblical exercise instituted by the Apostle Paul, a secular identification defining that Pauline exercise as being worthy of universal condemnation and death, the second of which when carried out establishes the third, and was and still is a physical manifestation from God Almighty of the work of the Holy Spirit of God in the lives of those who “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3) in “living godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Again, the word itself is Greek, avaßaptisµa, which means “Another baptism” (ana- “another”/ ßaptiaµa- “baptism”). That Greek word began to appear in church Latin in the 4th century, after being used in the Imperial Law Code from Justinian (A.D. 529) to condemn the practice of baptizing people with “another baptism” who had once been baptized as an infant or adult in the Roman Catholic Church. It condemned the belief in the necessity of “another baptism” as a heresy penalized by death . Latin Codex Justinianeus, formally Corpus Juris Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”) was the collections of laws and legal interpretations developed under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I from AD 529 to 565, one of which condemned anyone practicing Anabaptism to be worthy of death. That practice of baptizing people with “another baptism” from erroneous religious beliefs had its origin in the very first Anabaptist in the New Testament called Paul the Apostle, who in Acts 19 re-baptized the only Baptists converts mentioned in the entire Book of Acts with “another baptism” besides that which was given them by John the Baptists.
“And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?
And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily
baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people,
that they should believe on him which should come after him,
that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
-Acts 19:3, 4
That practice, which Paul had no definitive scripture for instituting, became the building block upon the foundation of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11) that would forever separate “the faith of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:22) “once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) from all the other ecclesiastical offshoots of Christianity from “the mother of harlots” in Rome (Revelation 17:5-18) to that “loud and stubborn” adulteress “with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart” (Proverbs 7:9-27) called the Protestant Reformation. Howbeit, that re-baptizing in water, was by no means the star burst of Anabaptism that attracted the hatred of the devil and the entire world, both secular and religious. Not a single church historian has had enough Bible knowledge to even relate the practice to the New Testament, much less to attribute the beginning of the exercise to the Apostle Paul. But that is exactly what Paul did in Acts 19, was to re-baptize men that had already been baptized as a form of their religious adherence to instruction from none other than John the Baptist (see vs. 1-5). That is God’s last days joke on the Baptists, and that is God’s last days joke on this entire “false Christianity unawares brought in” who falsely emphasized what God and the Bible never emphasized, and what their own bloody inquisitions never supported by factual or Biblical evidence in order to vainly justify their religious tortures, dismemberments, burnings, drownings and whole sale murder of a people of God better than themselves. A people whom they reproached as those “cursed Anabaptists”. Anabaptism as all of Satan’s advocates called it, was instituted by the Apostle Paul in Acts 19 who himself testified before he ever made Anabaptists out of the only Baptists in the Book of Acts,
“For Christ sent me not to baptize,
but to preach the gospel:
not with wisdom of words, lest the cross
of Christ should be made of none effect.”
-1 Corinthians 1:17
Catholics killed “Antipas…God’s faithful martyr” (Revelation 2:13) for 1,400 years calling them “Anabaptists” until the veil of that “Mother of Harlots” was soaked in “the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (17:6). Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of Rome ripping that scarlet veil from the face of that “wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms” (Nahum 3:4) and threw it down at the feet of Ulrich Zwingli. Zwingli girded it around his loins with the coat of arms of his newly formed Protestant Church State and signed the death warrants of his own Bible students when they rejected his mock reforms in “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures” (Hebrews 11:25, 26) of Zwingli’s pseudo Catholicism. Zwingli, in moving to establish his Protestant Church State, where lost and saved could be religious together about Christ, he wrote that he would “have no Donatist Church, consisting purely of saints” . The Anabaptists would have none of his ecumenical marriage with lost politicians, against which Zwingli quoted Luke 9:50, applying the words of Christ to lost men, and argued from the parable of the wheat and the tares, that allowing lost men into the church would give the angels something to do at the end of the age . From 1523 until 1527 Zwingli began to increasingly forsake the Bible and all that he had originally taught his students concerning the Catholic Church. For each of his compromises, Zwingli was reproved openly and scripturally by Balthasar Hubmaier , Felix Manz and Conrad Grebel. With no answer available to him from the scriptures, he chose rather to join hand in hand with lost Catholics turned lost Lutherans returning to the diabolical conspiracy of the Papists, that Rome had used since the implementation of the Justinian Code in 529 A.D. Finding nothing whereby they might accuse them (Mark 3:2/ Luke 11:54/ John 8:6), since they simply believed what Zwingli had taught them and initially professed himself, Zwingli began to deceitfully shift his public position on both Infant Baptism, and Baptism in general, that all of history and the annals of heaven will show was done with treachery and deceit in enabling the Zürich Counsel to revert back to the treachery of that Babylonian Mother of Harlots without swallowing Zwingli in the same trap. The Justinian Imperial Law Code of 529 A.D. had been used throughout all of Europe by the Papists to condemn God’s people, calling them “Anabaptists” in order to sentence them to death under the Code’s condemnation of anyone who re-baptized anyone from another religion. Although for 12 centuries the Imperial Code had declared all “Anabaptists” subject to condemnation and death, it had left each individual jurisdiction free to implement the Code when and how they decreed. The Catholics had unmercifully used it throughout its bloody history, in persecuting God’s people, declaring them “Anabaptists” regardless of what they believed. However, the Imperial Code had never been ratified or implemented in Zürich until 1526, when Zwingli, after publicly correcting his before-stated position on baptism in order to avoid the snare he was about to lay for his own students, signed off on it with the Zürich Council, to be used in condemning those saints against whom he had found no biblical answer for their continued reproofs of his compromise and rejection of the Bible. On March 5, 1526, Zürich issued a decree to the effect that if any baptized others or submitted to rebaptism they should be “drowned without mercy” . On that same day the Zürich Council, with Zwingli’s signature issued sentence against Conrad Gregel, Felix Manz and George Blaurock and fifteen others, that they should be imprisoned in the Heretic’s Tower and given only a diet of water and bread, and no one should be permitted “to go to them or to leave them:; and that they should be left in the Tower “to die or rot”. With his approval of such decree in tact, Zwingli wrote to Vadian, brother-in-law of Conrad Grebel, “This day the Senate has decided that the Anabaptist leaders shall be cast into the tower to remain there until they ‘either yield up the ghost or recant’, and that the death sentence shall be pronounced on those who continued to rebaptize…Thus the long tried patience [of the Council] has come to an end.”
“But beware of men: for they will
deliver you up to the councils,
and they will scourge you in their synagogues”.
That declaration amounted to a life sentence on those eighteen Anabaptists ministers, which materialized very quickly with the death of Conrad Grebel, who succumbed from the plague while imprisoned on bread and water that very summer of 1526. When this did nothing to deter Anabaptism, but rather watered it with the tears of the saints (Job 16:20/ Psalm 56:8/ Lamentations 2:18) causing it to flourish abundantly throughout all of Switzerland, Zwingli and the Zürich Council including Conrad Grebel’s own father went even further, and on January 5, 1527 drowned Felix Manz for the faith of Christ. Not content with this atrocity of Protestant Reformation of Catholic blood letting, the Zwinglian evangelicals and Lutheran proselytes from Rome inflamed themselves in the same manner as their whorish Catholic mother of blood thirstiness in a Necromania Ghost of Inquisitions Pasts. The Zwinglians beat George Blaurock through the streets of Zürich and out of the city into banishment, with death over his head if he ever returned. With that appalling conduct, the new Protestant religion began its first revival; a revival of the Old Catholic Inquisition of torture, mayhem and death that would eventually spread all over Europe and England. On the 21st day of May, A.D. 1527 in Rottenburg, Germany the Swiss Harlot’s Elder Sister Aholah the Lutheran became more “corrupt in her inordinate love than” her whorish Swiss Sister Aholibah “in her whoredoms” (see Ezekiel 23:1-11), where history records how the pseudo Lutheran Catholic Inquisitors cut Michael Sattler’s tongue out with the sword, then tore his body with red hot tongs, and pinchers then burned him to ashes whereby that Anabaptist “corner preacher” “quenched the violence of fire” (Hebrews 11:34). A few days later, these historic Reformers drowned Sattler’s wife, and dispatched five of his brothers and sisters with the sword. Wolfgang Ulimann and Johannes Brotli were martyred in 1528 and George Blaurock was finally burned at the stake in 1529.
It must be noted, that church historians have propagated errant Anabaptism by continuing a labelization that was of itself a scheme of both Catholics and Protestants to annihilate the children of God by use of the Imperial Code in broadly labeling Bible Believing Christians as Anabaptists in order to put them to death for violating the Imperial Civil Code’s prohibition against re-baptizing people from other religions. Though the Inquisitors (both Catholic, Protestant and Anglican) took great pleasure in addressing a multitude of doctrinal issues that they personally found offensive in God’s people, including numerous charges of heresy in their official indictments and death sentences, this they did for show and to lend false credibility to the State Church’s heretical views held in contempt by the children of God. But history is very clear from all perspectives that the actual death sentence of condemnation was for re-baptizing people of another religion. Hence, regardless of what they believed as Christians, they were pronounced “Anabaptists”, and condemned to death, inconsequential of the numerous other charges of heresy placed upon them at the time of death. Historians continue to spread the misconception by identifying certain people slain during this time as Anabaptists, simply because they were called that by the murderous religious inquisitors that put them to death as “Anabaptists”, whether they were or not! Such terrorists tactics utilizing vague and overbroad terms to encompass all dissenters has always been rooted in Rome, since the days of Caligula. It allows the ruthless religious murderers to kill dissenters (Christian or otherwise) at the hands of the State under color of law with a religious flavor. Religious murderers have always appealed to the State to perform its blood letting under color of law, lest they be condemned as the murderers they really are.
“Pilate then went out unto them, and said,
What accusation bring ye against this man?
They answered and said unto him, If he were not
A malefactor, we would not have delivered him up
Then Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge
Him according to your law.
The Jews therefore said unto him,
It is not lawful us to put any man to death.”
It also allowed the Reformers to escape the blame for their own teachings, when what they taught is taken to the full scriptural extent by their followers, without the State blaming the originator of that reform. Both Luther and Zwingli taught a reformed theology of Catholic heresy that neither reformer could or would carry to a Biblical fulfillment lest they personally bear the costs of such a return to Biblical ministrations. Additionally, both Luther and Zwingli would back away from their former positions to prepare for their retreat back into the suppressive darkness of the Catholic Inquisition to a hypocrisy never seen even in Rome.
When Zwingli’s students took his early teachings which he learned from Luther to a much fuller extent; and when he was incapable of persuading them otherwise from the scriptures since the Bible supported his students’ “press toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), Zwingli was able to avoid any blame for such, by simply reversing his position on baptism, and then persuaded the Zürich Council to enact the Justinian Code and condemned his troublesome students to death as “Anabaptists”. He thus was relieved from their constant rebukes for his compromising the Bible, and he escaped the blame for the obvious collision course his students were on in opposing the religious tenants of the Protestant State Church Council he had himself set up in Zürich.
One has not far to look, to find the same devilish conspiracy in Luther and Melancthon, as well as Calvin and Knox and all the Church of England. For no sooner had Zwingli felt the cold chills of spiritual cowardice run up his spine, making him shutter to think of carrying the Bible mandates on salvation and baptism as far as his students desired to go with God, than Martin Luther began feeling the same nauseating foreboding of coming doom when watching the increased furor over the teachings of the best student Luther ever turned out. Thomas Muntzer was a student and convert of Martin Luther, born at Stolberg in 1490, and with Luther’s approval, appointed as the Lutheran preacher of the chief Lutheran church at Zwickau . Also in the city of Zwickau were fiery corner preachers who would come to be called the “Zwickau Prophets”, who like unto the modern day street preachers of every clime and denomination, had “a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). The chief of the so-called Zwickau “prophets” was a master weaver named Nicholas Storch, a man of marked ability, and one who was well versed in the scriptures. The “prophets” advocated a wild millenarianism, maintaining that the day of the Lord was at hand, and that in that day the saints would put down all rule and authority but Christ’s , though they failed to note or preach, that such would not begin until the second coming of Christ. Thomas Muntzer was approved by Luther and appointed the preacher of the chief Lutheran church in Zwickau, where he quickly became closely associated with Storch and the “Zwickau Prophets”. However, Muntzer soon grew dissatisfied with Luther’s “half-way measures of reform”, and demanded the establishment of pure churches. Just as Zwingli’s students had rejected his compromise in allowing the lost and saved to form the Swiss church, so to did Luther and Munzter part over the same, to which Luther proved where Zwingli got the heresy, writing, “Where they want to go, I am not disposed to follow. God save me from a Church in which are none but the holy” . Luther saw “that the only alternative to his State Church was a Church of the regenerate, and this he did not desire” .
As Muntzer and the Zwickau Prophets began spreading Luther’s teachings of grace, they added thereto a proclamation of the hastening end of the church age and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, and at every opportunity a stab at denouncing the half way reforms of Luther in not rejecting infant baptism. The public disorders caused by these Zwickau Open Air Prophets (in modern day open air preaching, the authorities call it “Disorderly Conduct”), the civil authorities jailed them for a time, and subsequently banished Muntzer to the dismay of Luther. Muntzer then proceeded to Prague, and the other open air prophets moved their ministration to Wittenberg, where they likewise caused much excitement and “disorder” in their open air preaching. However, their boldness and knowledge of the scriptures soon began to have an effect on Carlstadt, rector of the University, and colleague and friend of Luther who combining their views with his own reformational work, further added to Luther’s dismay. Additionally, Luther’s colleague in the Lutheran Church, Phillip Melancthon (his adopted Greek name meaning “Black Dirt”) who was the German Lutheran author of the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran Church , was greatly impressed by the public preaching of the “prophets” from Zwickau, yet he became greatly embarrassed when he could not scripturally answer their objections to infant baptism. Turning to Luther to help settle the issues that he could not refute from the scriptures, Luther became as much agitated at his former student Muntzer as he was greatly frightened at the prospect of the Catholic authorities branding him personally responsible for the Peasants War, which was in truth, factually motivated in a great part by the preaching of Thomas Muntzer. Now that his fellow Colleague could not answer their arguments, history will record that the two of them conspired to denounce his own student as an “Anabaptists” when in fact he was a Lutheran, silence the troublesome dissenters to the Lutheran Reform and at the same time pacify the Catholics’ move to lodge the blame of the Peasants’ War (1524-1525) directly upon Luther. That plan was instituted in the Catholic-Lutheran ecumenical attack upon the city of Munster, the success of which paved the way for Catholic Neo-Lutheran compromise at the second Diet of Speyer held during Easter in April 1529, at which Diet, the name “Protestant” was stolen from the writings of Muntzer and used for the first time to designate the Lutheran and Zwinglian Reformers in contrast to the proposed common enemy of Catholics and these new “protestants”, which from the Second Diet of Speyer, both camps began to call “Anabaptists” after the Justinian Code. Luther and Zwingli and Melancthon had learned their lessons well, and history shows without contradiction, that Rome has ever loved and tolerated even her worst enemies, if they will learn their Papists lessons well in maintaining certain Catholic ministerial philosophies, and do what the Mother of Harlots does, even if they profess not to believe what she believes. Every time anyone rebelled against the Catholic Church, the Mother of Harlots would through her bishops and priests quickly silence such opposition, regardless of what they actually believed, by declaring them “Anabaptists”, for which the Catholics clergy could have them executed under the Imperial Code of Justinian. This they did to all the saints for 1,200 years leading right up to the Peasants’ War, and the execution of Luther’s most famous student, Thomas Muntzer, who was executed in 1525. Muntzer was not an “Anabaptist” by any stretch of the word . He was a Lutheran from the start, and with Luther’s approval and appointment was the pastor of the chief Lutheran church in Zwickau. Muntzer, though admitting that Infant Baptism could not be proved from the scriptures, nevertheless wrote a Lutheran liturgy that included infant baptism, and Muntzer never re-baptized anyone . Muntzer also did not believe in a separation of church and state as was revealed very openly in his return to Mulhausen and his subsequent participation in the peasants’ uprising there, during which Muntzer even assumed command of the local troops . Howbeit, the Catholics were quick to label him as an “Anabaptist” in order to justify killing him over religious differences. Because of that designation by the Catholics, Muntzer, according to Vedder has been erroneously referred to by nine out of every ten historians as an Anabaptist. Howbeit, he was reproved for his unscriptural teachings by Conrad Grebel, in a letter dated September 5, 1524 written in behalf of the Zürich Anabaptists, and co-signed by them. Howbeit, just as they had done thousands of times before, the Catholics branded him an Anabaptist, and upon his execution as such, it awakened the Franciscan and Jesuit ministerial character lying dormant in both Luther and Melanchthon, who both started upon a path of a similar scheme that was put into play at Speyer.
What happened at Speyer in 1529, only the Devil himself could have authored, in its totality of ecumenical compromising that would forever settle in heaven that the Catholics had reformed Luther, as much as Luther is credited with reforming the Catholics. The events that led up to the Diet of Speyer in 1529 are as extensive as they are seriously sinister, so much so, that most of Church History’s penmen have failed to recognize the full impact and the enormous treachery involved as Satan himself began to snare both Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation with the fear of man.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare.”
Those were days that modern Christianity cannot comprehend, where a man’s faith and his conscience, if stedfast, could get him and his family killed. Modern Christianity is ill prepared to stand fast when the stakes are so high, and the price so costly. Howbeit, history records, that contrary to his famous statement at the Diet of Worms, that “Here I stand. I can do no other”, Luther himself was ill prepared to back it up with his life, before he protected that stand with the life of others. From April 17, 1521, when Martin Luther made that famous declaration, until the disastrous NeoCatholic-Lutheran ecumenical slaughter of religious dissenters at Munster in 1534, history reveals a very troubled and many times frightened Luther that shifted his position and his teachings as much as the daily news of events scared him. Pope Leo X had condemned Luther at the Diet (assembly) of the Unholy Roman Empire held at Worms, Germany in 1521. The previous year, the Pope had condemned 41 propositions taught by Luther in June 1520 but had given him time to recant, which he refused to do. Because of such refusal, the Pope excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church on January 3, 1521. When the Emperor should have arrested Luther and executed him, the Elector Frederick III the Wise, Luther’s personal friend and ruler, intervened in his behalf and worked an agreement for Luther to appear before the Diet of Worms to answer for himself without threat of being taken and executed. Appearing before the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521, Luther refused to recant and acknowledged the books set before him were his own, and the Diet issued its Edict declaring Luther an outlaw heretic that should be captured and turned over to the Emperor of Germany for execution. But for his friendship with Frederick III, Luther would have been a dead man. Howbeit, when the Edict of Worms became unenforceable under the hands of Frederick who rather protected Luther, the First Diet of Speyer in 1526 was called, in order to provide that each ruler beneath Frederick could decide whether or not to enforce the provisions of the Edict of Worms. Howbeit, the Edict was never enforced. Nevertheless, it did much restrict Luther’s movements and ministrations, he not knowing when and which ruler might decide to enforce it against him while he was in or traveling through their jurisdiction. What occurred between the first Diet of Speyer and the Second, became lessons for Luther and Melanchthon that would ultimately lay the ground work for the Protestant courtship of the Mother of Harlots in the martyrdom of tens of thousands of Anabaptists for the faith of Jesus Christ, and that baptism into his death.
Howsoever History records, that Luther did not start out that way, nor at the beginning, would he have ever thought of using the sword to silence dissenters. Even during his preaching and writing against the Prophets of Zwickau, Luther admonished Melanchthon in a letter dated June 17, 1522, “Take care that our Prince does not stain his hands with the blood of these new prophets. It is by the aid of the Word alone we must conquer…No one must be compelled to the faith or to the things of the faith against his will; he must be prevailed upon by faith alone.”
The Catholics’ public opposition to Luther’s star pupil Thomas Munzter had frightened Luther. Luther along with Melanchthon had tried to distance themselves from Muntzer as early as 1523 when Melanchthon had appealed to Luther to help squelch the growing impact of the street preaching prophets from Zwickau . Those street preachers had moved from Zwickau to Wittenburg, while Muntzer had gone to Prague and then to Altstadt. In answer to Melanchthon’s appeal for help, Luther returned from his isolation in Wartburg and began preaching against the public ministrations of Storch and the open air prophets from Zwickau, trying to do with his preaching, what he had earlier warned Melanchthon not to do with the sword. Wittenburg quickly became an untenable place for the young open air evangelists, and they soon departed, with Storch thereafter traveling widely throughout Germany and Silesia, “preaching everywhere” (Mark 16:20) until his death in Munich in 1525.
Following the departure of the street preachers from Wittenburg, Luther turned his attention towards finalizing his separation and affiliation with his student Thomas Muntzer, who had by this time become the Lutheran pastor at Altstadt near the Mansfield mining community just before Easter 1523 , where the Lutheranite had begun to labor to lead a New Reformation and replace Luther, “whom he hated more than he did the Pope” . It was in Altstadt, that Muntzer wrote his most important religious, liturgical and theological manuscripts, and became the first to begin using the name Protestant, which label became increasingly popular, until stolen by Luther and Melanchthon to be coined into the alliance formed with Rome at the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529. Muntzer’s writings included German Church Office, German Protestant Mass, Protestation or Defense…Regarding the Beginning of the True Christian Faith and Baptism, Of Written Faith, and Precise Exposure of False Belief. Here also, Muntzer drafted his sermon, “Motivation for Defense”, and delivered his “Princes’ Sermon” to the Saxon rulers, in hopes of provoking them to join into his reformation of Christianity. However, the Saxon princes of Altstadt, were fully acceptant of Luther’s reformed theology, and with Luther’s insistence and instigation, they banished Muntzer from Altstadt in August 1524. Howbeit, in his letters to those same Saxon Princes, Luther shows a wavering spirit, that in some respects appears in conflict with what he preached and continued to instigate them to do in driving the preachers out of Altstadt. One month before the Saxons expelled Muntzer from their town, Luther wrote to the Princes in July 1524, “Let them preach as they please, for ‘there must needs be heresies’” (1 Corinthians 11:19).
From Altstadt, with the Peasants’ Revolt in full swing, Muntzer headed to Mulhausen, where under the fiery ignition of Muntzer’s preaching, Mulhausen became the center of the entire revolt. Through the remainder of 1524 until May of 1525, Muntzer traveled back and forth between Mulhausen, Nurnberg, Hegau and Klettgau, finally returning to Mulhausen, where in March 1525, he helped overthrow the governing council and formed his band of insurgents into an “Eternal Council”, and Muntzer himself assumed command of the local troops. It was during this time that Muntzer helped the peasants produce the Peasants’ Manifesto, entitled The Twelve Articles. Obviously, taken straight from the teachings of Luther himself, emphasizing his teaching on the sole authority of the Bible in all of life’s affairs and personally referencing Luther’s teachings as the basis of their beliefs, it troubled Luther sufficiently to inspire him to write his lengthy, “Admonition to Peace Concerning the Twelve Articles of the Peasants”, in which Luther much sympathized with the Peasants, while at the same time reproving them for their use of the sword, and taking God’s name in vain as the basis of their rebellion. In this reply, Luther also laid the blame for rebellion square upon the lords and princes in their self indulgence and luxury at the price of unbearable servitude of the peasants , and prophesied that if the lords and princes did not repent and likewise work reasonably within the gospel to satisfy the peasants, that God would use the peasants to overthrow them. This a-typical, Lutheran, man pleasing appeal (Galatians 1:10) to both sides did little to satisfy or admonish the Peasants to a more Lutheran approach to settling their grievances with the ruling class. On the contrary, it much encouraged them to further their rebellion to bring his prophecies to past sooner rather than later. It also stirred the pot of antagonism brewing with the Catholics in blaming Luther for the uprising itself. With Luther’s prophecy of God using the Peasants to overthrow the rulers, if they did not repent, the Peasants became increasingly bold in organized warfare to bring the matter to fulfillment.
An organized rebellion now launched itself all over southern Germany, and in April of 1525 during a journey with Melanchthon to Eisleben in Thuringia to establish a new Christian School, events unfurled to frighten Luther and Melanchthon even further. During their journey to Thuringia, Luther saw first hand the extent of the peasants’ violence during which time the peasants launched full scale attacks against their landlords and rulers, destroying and plundering castles, Catholic Monasteries and churches. Franconia had fallen to the Peasants’ Brigades led by Florian Geyer and Goetz von Berlichingen . By the end of April 1525, many castles, Catholic Monasteries, convents and Churches had fallen to the Lutheran Peasants of Protestantism, along with the entire cities of Erfurt and Salzungen . It is a FACT of history, that those German peasants were Lutheran’s, following to a man the teachings of the man whose name and teachings they followed and quoted from in their pitiful vain appeal in The Twelve Articles. Additionally, during this trip, Luther visited with his Brother-in-law, Johann Ruebel (Rebel), a court counselor in Mansfield, who living up to his name, had joined the Peasants, which so alarmed Luther, that he wrote to Ruebel in a personal letter of rebuke dated May 4, 1525. In that letter, was contained much of what Luther was about to pen in a complete reversal of his earlier admonition to the peasants which stands for all eternity as one of the most outstanding demonstrations of “the ministration of death and condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:7-9) in all of church history.
It is impossible to Biblically venture further into such an inglorious account without noting from the scriptures the single most important factor in the downfall of both Luther and Zwingli in the death of the falsely so called Protestant Reformation before that illegitimate bastard child ever lived. The Catholic Church, coming straight out of the Dark Ages, was an ecclesiastical cavern of double darkness, “even darkness which may be felt” (Exodus 10:21). And Rome’s control over all of Europe created a “land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness” (Job10:22). And from the scriptures, when such darkness reigns over vast domains, it is controlled by “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12), whose “prince” (John 12:31/ 14:30) is a god (2 Corinthians 4:4) whose church and “kingdom is full of darkness” (Revelation 16:10) “without form and void; and darkness…upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:1/ Jeremiah 4:23/ Isaiah 14:12-15).
“And the light of a candle
shall shine no more at all in thee.”
Where Luther and Zwingli erred exceedingly, was in the failure to recognize biblically, that you cannot re-form what is without form. And you cannot brighten darkness, when the very power of the gospel of Christ is founded upon this flashlight, that “God…commanded the light to shine OUT of darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
“Come out of her, my people,
that ye be not partakers of her sins.”
What was missing in the reformation, was missing in the hearts and souls of the men who professed to lead it. That which was missing in both Luther and Zwingli, ultimately transformed even the best of their ministries of “grace”, into “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:7, 9); to themselves and those that continued to follow them. Zwingli and Luther were both “men of letters”, having studied themselves into and out of the Roman Catholic Church by use of the most dangerous and deadliest Book ever written: a Book that even the smallest quotation thereof, can proceed directly from the mouth of the devil himself.
“For it is written.”
-Satan [Matthew 4:6]
Church historians have never been able to look at history from the folds of the Holy Scriptures, for they themselves are not men of the Bible, but men who read what other men wrote about the Bible or how the Bible controlled and scripted historical accounts. And they fail countless times to see that because men quote from the Bible, does not mean that they speak for God, and the only distinguishing factor between who does and who does not speak for God, is a baptism unto death, that “worketh death in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12). But a reformed theology that worketh death in others, is manifestly declared to have its roots still springing from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17/ 3:1-6) instead of the tree of life (Genesis 2:9/ Revelation 2:7). Church historians to this day, continue to miss the Biblical revelation in even that which is as clear as the fingers on their hands: and that being Jesus Christ never killed anyone when he was here the first time. And none of His followers have ever done so since he left them here “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in their mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). Luther’s condemnation was in having never ventured beyond “the letter” of the New Testament (2 Corinthians 3:6) before he rejected the letter of the law in his stand upon Galatians 3:13. Even Simon Peter in his last years warned every child of God who “look for such things” (2 Peter 3:14) to be “diligent” in their approach to the “epistles” of Paul, “in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures unto their own destruction” (vs. 16). What Luther could see in large letters from Galatians (see Galatians 6:11), was founded upon a baptism unto death in Romans (6:1-3) that physically and spiritually placed a true believer into a church (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13/ Ephesians 5:27, 32) completely different from the one Luther was trying to reform and Zwingli was trying to conquer. That church prospered under a “ministration of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 3:9) from little men, who simply reckoned on God being with them, with which God Almighty could make of those humble men “able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (3:6). That ministration, from such unlikely prospects is called in the Bible, “the ministration of the spirit” (3:8), “the ministration of righteousness” (3:9) and “the ministry of reconciliation” (5:18). It is centered upon “the mystery of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:16) that “God was in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19), just as He would likewise “manifest in our mortal flesh” (4:10, 11) so that we could actually speak “in Christ’s stead” (5:20) in order to minister the spirit of the New Testament, which spirit is the Lord himself (3:17). But without “the spirit of the new testament”, no minister is “able” (3:6) to do anything with his knowledge of the letter (vs.6) beyond killing himself “and those that hear him” (1 Timothy 4:16). And just as sure as “the letter killeth” (2 Corinthians 3:6), it also makes killers out of those that wield it for personal gain or self preservation.
Though the Pope ordered Luther out of the Catholic Church, Martin never ventured far from the doors upon which he nailed his thesis. And his clinging close to that threshold of treachery and deceit, soon manifest in his writings that Martin Luther had learned all too well the ecclesiastical, papists art of killing God’s people with the very Book they lived better than he knew! Following his visit with his Brother in Law, Luther hurriedly retreated back to Wittenburg, where he hastily wrote a counter reproof against the Peasants called Against the Murderous Robbing Hordes of the Peasants, in hopes of escaping the anticipated Catholic out cry to blame Luther for having inspired the Peasants violent revolt in his previous Book Admonition to Peace. It is abundantly clear by this time, that the desire to be recognized and accepted as the Great Reformer drove Luther on a Biblical line, as much as his fear of death provoked him on a sinister line. And he was quickly turning into a very disturbed theologian attempting to placate and please both sides, while he coveted to keep and maintain his position as leader of the Reformation, yet so fearful of a martyr’s crown as the costs of such a position in history. That fear of “him that had the power of death” (see Hebrews 2:14) would eventually supplant any “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7/ Matthew 10:28) Martin Luther ever demonstrated in his theology, devotion and fidelity to the truth; so much so, that in less than a decade, he would treacherously turn on those who had followed his original teaching on grace, and would walk hand in hand with the Catholic Church he sought to reform in murdering tens of thousands of Anabaptists followers of the Lamb. Such an apostasy from his original 95 Thesis Stand, was facilitated by the immediate reaction of the Catholics and Pro-Lutheran rulers in response to Luther’s new Treatise Against the Murderous Robbing Hordes of the Peasants, in which he first reverses his earlier teaching against the use of the sword, and vehemently advocates the immediate and overwhelming use of it against the Peasants, that he had so pathetically sympathized with two weeks earlier. Luther published his call to arms on the first week of May, 1525. Up to this date, the princes had been slow to war against the Peasants, following the example of Luther’s friend, Elector Frederick. However, the treachery of Luther begins to show forth in all of its sinister hypocrisy, as he now rails upon his star pupil Munzter as “the arch-devil himself who reigns at Mühlhausen”, and calling for the immediate destruction of all the Peasants, Luther penned these vehement words to distance himself from his students, and placate the Catholics from blaming him.
“I would instruct those in authority how to conduct themselves in this matter…With threefold horrible sins against God and men have these peasants loaded themselves, for which they have deserved a manifold death of body and soul…Second, they cause uproar and sacrilegiously rob and pillage monasteries and castles that do not belong to them, for which, like public highwaymen and murderers, they deserve the twofold death of body and soul. It is right and lawful to slay at the first opportunity a rebellious person, who is known as such, for he is already under God's and the emperor's ban. Every man is at once judge and executioner of a public rebel; just as, when a fire starts, he who can extinguish it first is the best fellow. Rebellion is not simply vile murder, but is like a great fire that kindles and devastates a country; it fills the land with murder and bloodshed, makes widows and orphans, and destroys everything, like the greatest calamity. Therefore, whosoever can, should smite, strangle, and stab, secretly or publicly, and should remember that there is nothing more poisonous, pernicious, and devilish than a rebellious man. Just as one must slay a mad dog, so, if you do not fight the rebels.”
Luther wrote further in his increasingly papists blood lusts, “I must instruct the temporal authorities on how they may act with a clear conscience in this matter. First, I will not oppose a ruler who, even though he does not tolerate the gospel, WILL SMITE AND PUNISH THESE PEASANTS WITHOUT FIRST OFFERING TO SUBMIT THE CASE TO JUDGMENT. He is within his right…in deed it is his duty to punish such scoundrels” . Luther even went as far as to declare the Catholics who died fighting those who were merely following his own teachings, as martyrs, writing “Thus, anyone who is killed fighting on the side of the rulers, may be a true martyr in the eyes of God, if he fights with the kind of conscience I have just described, for he acts in obedience to God’s word” . Martin Luther’s own writings show clearly, that his fear of death could quickly conquer all that he falsely professed to believe about salvation by the grace alone, in this infamous promise of life eternal to Catholics and Lutheran alike that would shed the blood of his former students.
“These are strange times, when a prince can win heaven
with bloodshed better than other men with prayer!”
Regardless of how Pro-Lutheran historians seek to malign the truth to garnish the sepulcher of Martin Luther, all of the Catholic and Lutheran rulers knew full well what Luther had just written, and what it meant, for to a man, both the Catholic and Protestant princes interpreted Luther’s Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants as justification for their own murderous bloodshed . Luther’s harsh book against the peasants had wide circulation through all the month of May, and enflamed every prince and ruler that read it into a murderous rampage of bloodshed, the end of which, one hundred thousand people were killed . Even Luther’s Brother-in-law Ruebel wrote to him in a letter dated May 21, 1525 complaining about Luther’s harsh reversal as causing the horrendous bloodshed, that at the present rate, Ruebel “feared that the entire population would eventually be wiped out” . Luther’s brother-in-law truthfully concluded and stated the facts very clearly in his accusations against Luther, that Martin had written so harshly about the peasants because his close friend and protector, elector Frederick had died and now Luther was so “fearful for his own skin” that he had turned on his followers and ran back to Rome. Many referred to him as “the flatterer of princes” because of his deceitful, treacherous and compromising reversal against the peasants. The peasants that survived accused Luther of betraying them. And even his Catholic opponents charged that Luther had sympathized, taught and encouraged the peasants in his Admonition to Peace, but out of fear for his own life had deserted them and “crawled back to the princes” .
It must be noted as factual history, that following this publication from Luther in Wittenburg, the Catholics and Protestant rulers joined forces to over throw the Peasants revolt throughout south Germany and in Mulhausen, where Muntzer was captured and tortured. Then on May 27, 1525, he was tried and convicted before the princes, who declared him an Anabaptists under the Justinian Code and executed him. With his execution and the defeat of the Peasants’ Rebellion, Catholic writers continued ascribing the actual blame for the uprising on Luther and his writings, which they rightly saw as having influenced the spirit of rebellion in Muntzer and others. One must keep in constant historical mindset of the fact, that until Muntzer was condemned and falsely condemned to be an Anabaptists, he and the peasants he rallied were to a man, Lutheran in all their theology. The hypocrisy of the Catholics is easily seen in watching the Catholic writers and rulers declare Muntzer an Anabaptists while blaming him and Luther’s training of him for the ground work theology behind the revolt. The Catholics and the peasants, as well as Muntzer himself knew the source of the theological foundation of the rebellion, that it lay squarely upon Martin Luther. It is a fact that Muntzer was Luther’s star pupil. And it is a fact that the Twelve Articles of the Peasants, formatted by Muntzer himself in behalf of the Peasants, clearly attributed in writing their biblical views as being identical to, and coming from Martin Luther. And it is an historical fact that Luther, became so frightenedly alarmed about being mentioned in the Twelve Articles, and that the territorial princes would accept the Catholic writer’s view of the revolt and decline to support his Reformation that he wrote the single piece of hateful treachery that inspired the first Catholic-Protestant ecumenical slaughter in all of church history. Wrote Vedder, “Bold spirit as he [Luther] was, he was for a time frightened at the tempest he had raised, and shrank from the consequences of his earlier teaching. He had once repudiated all authority in religion; he was now about to fall back on it. Only, it was the authority of the princes on which he would henceforth rely, instead of that of the Pope and Emperor, which he continued to reject. In a few more years, the early Luther was to vanish utterly” .
Howbeit, the Peasants’ War taught Luther as much as it taught the Catholics, lessons that would shortly play from both sides at the First Diet of Speyer in April the following year. With the Catholics mounting their accusations against him as having taught Muntzer how to instigate the Peasants’ Rebellion, Luther critically needed a way out; and such a way out that would get the attention off the Peasants and his first written appeal to them for Peace, and place it back onto the reformation of the Mother Church, supported by his second written condemnation of the Peasants and his ecumenical call to arms against them, and as well a way out that would leave Luther at the helm the Reformation. The Catholics had learned from Luther’s writing, that Martin really believed nothing of anything he had taught, and that under the right amount of pressure and fear of being put to death publicly, Martin would not hesitate to do the Papists’ dirty work for them, better than they could do it themselves. When both Catholic and Protestant rulers were holding back and waiting to deal with the Peasants’ revolt civilly, Luther strongly demanded they proceed militarily without a court of venue in an act of all out war, and be blessed of God and Luther in so doing. In seeing the rulers’ quick obedience to his admonition, Luther quickly learned that he could use his pen to lead both camps ecumenically to concentrate their energies against a common third enemy, and thus ignore him personally as a problem to either the Catholics as a theological antagonists, and to the Protestant critics as not going far enough with the New Testament teachings of grace and truth. These two goals he was able to accomplish by placing himself as an instructor of Catholics in areas they were willing to agree with him on, namely, destroying spiritual opposition to the Catholic Church and to himself. They had always done so civilly under the Justinian Code, but now Luther provided them scripture to do so biblically, with the Great Reformer kept at a not too far distance from Rome’s “shadowing shroud” (Ezekiel 31:3). It also enabled Luther to inspire and control the direction of the Reformation by positioning himself as the single spiritual adviser of the Protestant princes, in forcibly controlling the radical elements of his reformational teachings, that of itself pleased both the Catholics, empowered the Protestant princes as the stalwart battlements of the Reformation, and most importantly did a way with Luther’s critics that insisted upon him going further than his personal fears would allow him to go.
“This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”
“St. James Epistle is really an epistle of straw.”
Such a treacherous scheme, authored only by the prince of this world (John 12:31/ 14:30/ 16:11/ Ephesians 2:2), was expertly initiated by Luther and Melanchthon at the First Diet of Speyer and finalized at the Second Diet of Speyer 1529. At this first Catholic conclave, though willfully hidden by Protestant historians, the Diet was called by the Catholic Church and was an entirely Catholic Conclave. Howbeit, the Lutherans as they would be eventually called were allowed to be represented, clearly indicating that at that time, they were officially still considered part and parcel with the Catholic Church, being referred to as “The Reformed Movement” . At this Diet, which was called to deal with the ineffectiveness of the Diet of Worms that was supposed to end the Pope’s problems with Luther, it became clear that either Luther and his supporters amongst the ruling class make a clear statement and stand against the intention of the Diet, or be swallowed up by the majority, and the Reformation halted before it could truly take root of itself.
The Peasants’ Revolt had taught both Luther and his followers amongst the princes, that in order for their reformation to succeed, they had to first win for themselves political and governmental independence from Rome, before they could ever hope to win ecclesiastical independence. Luther’s Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants had temporarily killed that initiative, since the first demand of the peasants in their Twelve Articles was for ecclesiastical independence. Taking advantage of the Emperor’s recent war with the Turks, it was therefore decided that at the First Diet of Speyer 1526, the territorial rulers that followed Luther would push for political independence among the rulers first and foremost, and thereby create such political tension that the Pope and the Emperor would concentrate the Diet more on political appeasements than ecclesiastical tyranny to the jeopardy of both. This would also protect Luther from what was already clarified by the Pope was to be the main point of the First Diet of Speyer, and that being to re-validate the Diet of Worms’ condemnation of Luther. If all the rulers were to gain political independence, then Luther would be assured protection in Lutheran controlled areas regardless of the Diet’s affirmation of the Pope’s condemnation of Luther.
Though Luther himself kept his distance, choosing rather to abide close by, Melanchthon was dispatched in Luther’s stead, since during Luther’s retreat to Wartburg during 1521, Melanchthon had become the leader of the Reformation from Wittenburg. Melanchthon’s role from the First Diet of Speyer increasingly made him the civil rod of Luther’s ecclesiastical dominance of the Reformation “falsely so called” that would eventually run red with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ. One must remember that the Diets were assemblies of the ecclesiastical assemblies of the Roman Empire called by the Emperor and the Pope; and for men who are now called Lutherans to attend willfully, regardless of what their church historians falsely write today, those men were still Catholics at the time of their attendance! The Pope had ex-communicated no one but Luther in the Edict of Worms. But as more and more of the civil rulers became either persuaded of Luther’s new theology, or had their own personal grievances with the Pope, these soon to be called Protestants began to increase in number, until the execution of the Edict of Worms became less and less important civilly. The Pope’s excommunication of Luther became increasingly over shadowed by the Peasants’ Revolt and with Luther’s capitulation to an a-typical Catholic slaughter on the whole sale scale of his religious enemies. The question now arose for the Pope of how to deal with this new twist of Catholic-Lutheran Ecumenicalism in running headlong hand in hand civilly to enforce ecclesiastical edicts from two opposing religious views about one another upon a hapless group that simply wanted to dwell between both camps. And the question for Luther was how to gain the time to perfect civilly what he had failed to do theologically. He had obviously taken the theological reforms as far as he had the courage to take them, having to retract some of them (namely the use of force against opposing religious beliefs). He now needed more time to advance the much needed political reforms that the Peasants’ Revolt had taught him he needed in order to protect and enforce his religious reforms. That time was granted by the First Diet of Speyer.
The Diet was held in the summer of 1526, under Archduke Ferdinand, in the name of the Roman Emperor. As per their plan, the civil princes that supported Luther, for the first time, professed their beliefs in the Biblical doctrines of salvation by grace alone, being careful to keep such centered within the Bible rather than centered upon having originated with Luther himself. The princes for the first time dared to state these beliefs, being greatly strengthened by the sure numbers of the delegates of the imperial cities where Luther’s teaching had made the greatest progress to date. The stated position of the civil princes clarified their allegiance to the Emperor as long as they were allowed to maintain their individual personal beliefs, though in difference to the Catholic majority and even to the Pope himself. They made no demands to leave the Catholic Church, just to be allowed to believe what they wanted within its Papists walls. With the threatening invasion of the Turks, and an ongoing personal feud of the Emperor with the Pope himself, the timing was perfect; and the Emperor and the Catholic majority saw it clear that it was much more expedient to maintain civil unity at the expense of ecclesiastical unity, for the Emperor needed the civil princes at that moment, more than he needed the pleasantries of the Pope. Hence, the First Diet of Speyer came to the unanimous conclusion on August 27, 1526, that forbearance was in order, and thus “every State shall so live, rule, and believe as it may hope and trust to answer before God and his imperial Majesty.” Though the conclusion was not intended to annul the Edict of Worms or to be a permanent law of religious liberty without limits, it nonetheless gave each member of the Diet the right to act religiously as he pleased, as long as he remained in allegiance to the Imperial Majesty. In effect it was an armistice and temporary suspension of the Edict of Worms until a meeting of the general council could be called by the Emperor. That general council, though repeatedly insisted upon by the Pope, was repeatedly postponed for over twenty years. Howbeit, the practical application and effect of the 1526 Diet of Speyer was exactly what Luther and Melanchthon were hoping for, which without stating it, was a temporary acquittal of Luther as a heretic. Because of the relief from such, many of the Luther supporting princes, chief of whom were the Elector John of Saxony and Philip of Hesse made every use of interpreting the decree as they pleased and for the cause of Luther, many times going even beyond the limits of the Diet, even to what eventually led to basic territorial sovereignty.
Taking advantage of this new freedom, shortly after the First Diet, Melanchthon was then chosen as one of 28 commissioners that would travel to Saxony to regulate the constitution of the churches along the Lutheran theology. Such assignment without the inclusion of Luther, began what Luther would demonstrate for the remainder of his life (just as Menno Simons practiced), that he could “save his life” (Matthew 16:25/ Mark 8:35/ Luke 9:24/ 17:33) by allowing others to jeopardize theirs. Martin Luther and Menno Simons both learned to remain in the shadows as the “instructors” (1 Corinthians 4:15) to teach others what they should believe (Acts 15:1-7, 11) and allow them to determine how they carry out those beliefs in their daily “behavior” (see 1 Timothy 3:15), suffering their own consequences for that open behavior. Even to this present hour, such sociological structuring of religious beliefs is called before the United States Supreme Court as “the Belief Conduct Doctrine”, in which the Justices have declared that a person can believe anything they want about God, but government has the final say in how you practice those beliefs. As with all wisdom from the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) doctrinal statements should be framed in such a way that they never mean what they say nor say what they mean, but according to expedient use, they can be read “to and fro…and…up and down” (Job 1:7), like a papists crossing himself. Hence, the United States Supreme Court defines “Freedom of Religion” as “two concepts-freedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but in the nature of things, the second cannot be”.
“This wisdom descendeth not from above,
But is earthly, sensual, devilish.”
Such cowardly hiding behind the conduct of others in expressing their beliefs when you are the author of their beliefs, yet you will not own those same beliefs in your own conduct is no small sin. For all of history to this present hour shows that the world, and the flesh and the devil will allow you to believe anything you want, as long as you do not carry out that belief in daily life to the harm or restraint of the world, the flesh or the devil himself. And such devilish philosophy allows the “instructor” to shift his written beliefs whenever it is to his advantage, when the conduct of those he teaches to adhere to those beliefs troubles the powers that be because of what he taught them.
In Luther’s case, such shift can be seen in his personal letters to Melanchthon, whom he increasingly “used as a friend” (Judges 14:20) and to others to encourage them to carry out Luther’s instructions, but shield Martin from any negative back lash because of those instructions. Concerning the Anabaptists, Martin Luther’s letters clearly show Luther’s cowardly shift in “beliefs”, as they gradually allowed Melanchthon’s “conduct” and the civil conduct of the princes to slaughter God’s people to advance the Reformation “falsely so called”. When “the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:6) flowed unceasingly “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4), that shadow was from a man with a Thesis in his hand on how to “say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3).
• June 17, 1522, writing to Melanchthon concerning the open air preachers of Zwickau, Luther says, “Take care that our Prince does not stain his hands with the blood of these new prophets. It is by the aid of the Word alone we must conquer…No one must be compelled to the faith or to the things of the faith against his will; he must be prevailed upon by faith alone.”
• July 1524, he wrote to advise the Saxon Princes to leave the Anabaptists in peace so far as their doctrines were concerned. “Let them preach as they please, for ‘there must needs be heresies (1 Corinthians 11:19)’”.
• In the year 1524, Martin Luther received a visit from a learned Catholic priest out of Bavaria, named Leonhard Keyser, who had examined the writings of Luther and Zwingli, and now traveled to Wittenburg, where he conferred with Luther for a time, and commemorated the Lord’s Supper with him. Thinking he had gained another convert, Luther bade him God’s speed and he returned to Bavaria, where he spent most of 1525 studying and comparing Luther’s teachings with those of the Anabaptists, during which year he joined the church of the Anabaptists, and started his ministry anew, with “great power and zeal, undaunted by all the tyranny which arose over the believers, in the way of drowning, burning and putting to death” . Leonhard Keyser’s conversion and work as an Anabaptists preacher, as well as other converts to Anabaptism began to worry and agitate Luther, and as men like Keyser continued their powerful open air ministries, the effect and influence of such began to materialize in Luther’s increased shifted back to his Papists roots. Then on August 16, 1527, the ecumenical parish of Scharding, in Bavaria with the knowledge of Luther, burned to death another of Luther’s ardent converts and students. The dated chronology from Luther’s own letters implicates him of this knowledge and complacency in Keyser’s death.
• December 28, 1527, “There is nothing new except that they say the Anabaptists are increasing and extending in every direction.”
• December 31, 1527, “The new sect of Anabaptists is making astonishing progress. They are people who conduct themselves with very great outward propriety, and go through fire and water without flinching in support of their doctrines.”
• Then in a letter to Wenzel Link, the Austin General in Nurnberg, late in December 1527, Luther announced his intention of writing a full tract against the Anabaptists which he would publish the following year.
• However, Luther’s anxiety fed by his jealousy grows feverishly, and one month later, on January 27, 1528 he writes, “Bavaria is full of disorder…the words of Munzter are everywhere in circulation. ” Taken by itself, the statement and declaration means very little to the vast majority of historians. However, behind the scenes this small statement was directly connected to the beginning of a blood flow of martyrs who “preach[ed] from the housetops” what they “hear[d] in the ear” from Luther (Matthew 10:27). Luther’s statement concerning the Anabaptists in Bavaria he wrote from the troubled and convicted thoughts of his own heart “accusing or else excusing” (Romans 2:15) to get around his guilty conscience over the martyrdom of his most learned and recent student in Bavaria. Leonard Keyser was a very learned priest of the Roman Catholic mass, who had came into possession of the writings of Luther and Zwingli. Being much aroused by the message of grace, Keyser journeyed to Wittenburg in 1525 to confer with Luther, where he spent much time feasting on all that Luther could teach him ; and even commemorated the Lord’s Supper with Luther as a testimony of his having forsaken the Roman mass. Howbeit, like all other students of Luther, his teachings performed a work in the believers’ heart that never occurred in Luther’s, and Leonard Keyser went back to Bavaria a changed man. By the end of 1525 he had joined himself to the Anabaptists and became one of those corner preachers so detested by Roman and Lutheran alike. But his open air preaching would not last but two years. Being arrested at Scharding, in Bavaria in August of 1527, he was condemned by Bishop Ernest of Passau and other priests favorable to Rome and to Luther, and then prosecuted and condemned by the infamous Johann Eck who was the pope’s emissary and tormentor of Luther from the Diet of Worms. He was sentenced to be burned to death on Friday, August 16, 1527 before St. Lawrence day. Being driven to the place of execution in a small two wheeled cart, he reached over the sides of the cart a plucked a flower with his hand, saying to the judge who rode on horse back beside the cart, “Lord judge, here I pluck a flower; if you can burn this flower and me, you have justly condemned me; but, on the other hand, if you cannot burn me and this flower in my hand, consider what you have done and repent.” According to van Braght, “the judge and the three executioners threw an extraordinary quantity of wood into the fire, in order to burn him immediately to ashes by the great fire. But when the wood was entirely burned up, his body was taken from the fire uninjured. Then the three executioners and their assistants built another great fire of wood, which when it was consumed, his body still remained uninjured, only his hair and his nails were somewhat burnt brown, and the ashes having been removed from his body, the latter was found smooth and clear, and the flower in his hand, not withered, or burnt in the least. The executioners then cut his body into pieces, which they threw into a new fire. When the wood was burned up, the pieces lay unconsumed in the fire. Finally they took the pieces and threw them into the River Inn.” The judge was so terrified by this that he resigned and moved to another province. Howbeit, his assistant was so moved by it, that he moved to Moravia and joining himself to the Anabaptists lived and died a very pious saint of God.
The Burning of Leonard Keyser 1527
Four months later, as the news of such burdened Luther in Wittenburg, he writes to conveniently distance himself from any blame at having taught Keyser, and instead, as the Bible says of the guilty heart trying to get around the conviction of the conscience, “accuses” another of his students for kindling that fire, saying, “the words of Munzter are everywhere”. There is no historical account of Keyser ever having met or read from Munzter. Keyser’s mentor and chief master of theology was Luther alone.
• In a letter to Spalatin, February 5, 1528: “I send herewith my letter against the Anabaptists, or Catabaptists, which was composed hastily because I had others things to do. Perhaps if one of their leaders is angered by it, he will be aroused to write most diligently of their doctrines”.
• In that 1528 tract, Luther very clearly wrote more defensively of Roman Catholic teachings, so that even the Lutheran agreeable Oyer wrote of Luther that “he appeared to be almost a Romanist. He blandly accepted many of the Roman doctrines without any kind of qualification. Thus he declared as true the Romanist teachings on Scripture, baptism, sacrament of the altar, forgiveness of sins, office of minister, and catechetical formulae such as the Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, and the Confession of Faith. He did not specify which confession; probably he meant one of the early creedal statements, such as the Apostles Creed or the Nicaean Creed. Why then leave Rome? Luther gave only one answer in this tract: the pope was antichrist…but the church over which the pope presided had collected and preserved many truths which were still universally valid”. One must remember, that all the churches were Catholic, and that even Luther’s ex-communication was still effectively on hold from the First Diet of Speyer 1526, and that all the churches, and all the players, including Luther were still Catholic to the man. They were just a faction within the Catholic Church pushing for reform. Those Reformers would not become Lutherans until Anabaptists blood flowed in the streets to cover their tracks out the back door of the Mother of Harlots’ cathedral (Revelation 17:5). Luther’s tract was clearly a deliberate intention to draw an acceptable alliance with Rome, that would allow him to remain the Distanced Reformer in playing two sides against the middle, by placing the Anabaptists in the middle of the Catholic theological debate between Papists and Lutheran’s until his political friends had gained enough strength to turn the distant views into final separation. Luther’s words accomplished his purpose by enflaming both factions within the church and the territorial provinces in an ecclesiastical slaughter of God’s people, re-emphasizing the Anabaptists name for which all of history has not been able to erase.
• Leopold Schneider was beheaded as an open air witness of the sufferings of Christ in Augsburg shortly after Luther’s publication against the Anabaptists.
• Eighteen Anabaptists were burned to death in Salzburg that same year.
Eighteen Anabaptists Burned in Salzburg 1528
• Wolfgang Ulman was burned at the stake with his brother and ten other Anabaptists at Walzen in 1528 as was the open air preacher Hans Prestle, after winning many converts to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
• Little Hans of Stotzingen, who had been arrested several times for his open air evangelization, was finally condemned to death in Zabern in 1528 following the publication of Luther’s Tract Against the Anabaptists. Being sentenced to sword, at the place of execution, he maintained his open air preaching in one last admonition to the saints, crying aloud, “”In our extremity we now cry unto our God, to deliver us in our distress, that we might “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). The sacrifice which I mean is my whole body, life, skin and bones, and also my wife and children…Therefore fear neither pain nor death. I give praise and thanks to God, that I have become a sacrifice. I have long time longed for it, for “to me to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). O God, let me partake of the sufferings of Thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.” Following this last open air message, Little Hans of Stotzinger “was beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God” (Revelation 20:4).
• To Luther’s Tract also is accredited for all eternity the burning of corner preachers named Thomas and Balthasar, and one Dominicus, who were condemned to death in Bruenn, in Moravia.
• Likewise the burnings of Hans Feierer and five of his brethren, along with three of their wives who were drowned for the faith of Christ in Munich, A.D. 1528.
• Vilgard and Caspar of Schoeneck were beheaded for the gospel of Jesus Christ at Ries, in the Fluchtthal, near Brixen in 1528, with the Anabaptists increasing by the thousands, for which Sebastian Franck relates that “they were persecuted with great tyranny; first especially in popedom”, then just a mercilessly by the Lutherans. “They were forcibly imprisoned, and tormented with the sword, fire, water, and manifold imprisonments, so that within a few years very many were put to death.” Thousands slain in the most torturous ways, with 600 slain at Ensisheim alone, “all of whom patiently and stedfastly suffered as martyrs.
Then in March of 1529, the Papists convened the Second Diet of Speyer, having gained much zeal in their blood thirstiness against the Anabaptists, they now sought to expand their dominance against the Turks, and also stop any further advance of the Reformers within the Catholic Church. The blood thirsty Catholic forces descended upon Speyer with a fervency to reverse the policy of religious tolerance that had been adopted in 1526 at the First Diet of Speyer, and re-enforce the Diet of Worms once and for all, without waiting upon a General Council as was decided at the First Diet in 1526. The decision of this Diet, announced in April by the Roman Catholic Emperor of Germany, Charles V, rescinded all the innovations instituted at the First Diet of Speyer in 1526, and it forbade, on sentence of the Imperial ban, any further reformation until the meeting of the General Council, which was promised for the next year by the Emperor and the Pope.
Howbeit, in this decision, it highlighted the Catholic Church’s acceptance and acknowledgment of Luther’s reformation as it clearly was, just a faction within the Catholic Church up until this time. This was demonstrated in the Diet’s condemnation and absolute exclusion of both the Zwinglians and the Anabaptists from any toleration whatsoever. The Diet made it quite clear that the latter, the Anabaptists were to be destroyed and punished to death. However, the Lutheran faction was to be tolerated as long as no further reformation was attempted.
Again being absent from this Diet was Martin Luther, who again sent Melanchthon to represent him. With the Catholic’s exclusion of the Zwinglians and the condemnation of the Anabaptists, Martin Luther and Melanchthon realized as well, that with the Diet’s prohibition against any further reformation, it was time to state clearly what their positions were to this date, so as to push for as much acceptance as possible on the front side of “no further reformation”. To demonstrate such, they borrowed ideology from their betrayed and slain student, Thomas Munzter, and penned a written appeal to the Diet, in which they referred to themselves as “Protestants” within the Catholic Church, and this appeal was read on April 19, 1529 of fourteen free cities of Germany and six (6) princes who supported Luther. The document was signed by Elector John of Saxony, Margrave George of Brandenburg, Dukes Ernest and Francisof Braunschweig-Luneburg, Landgrave Philip of Hesse, Prince Wolfgang of Anhalt, and the representatives of fourteen imperial cities including Strasbourg and St. Gall. The Protestant name would forever be labeled upon those who, unlike the Anabaptists thought to reform Bible rejecting apostasy into man pleasing apostasy, and the name has always been attached to the disciples of Luther, Zwingli as well as John Calvin who replaced Zwingli.
Upon the reading of this Protest, all of the Princes and rulers who supported Luther knew the grave importance of binding the followers of Luther and Zwingli together into a formidable league that would discourage the Papists from civil aggression. Zwingli even saw this as their only hope of continuing the reformation. However, Martin Luther’s fear of death again proved that he would protect himself at all costs. In October that same year, Philip of Hesse gathered Luther and Zwingli to Marburg to work out an agreement that would settle their theological differences. Also present were Johannes Agricola, Johannes Brenz, Martin Bucer, Caspar Hedio, Justus Jonas, Philip Melanchthon, Johannes Oecolampadius and Andreas Osiander. Out of the fifteen doctrines to be argued, both Zwingli and Luther agreed on fourteen. But on the matter of the Lord’s Supper, Luther was not willing to even discuss it, for he came pre-determined to hold fast to that one major Catholic heresy that he knew would keep Zwingli at bay, in order to prevent any political push by his supporters in joining the two together.
The Marburg Colloquy October 1, 1529
Even a nominal study of the historical facts in light of the shallowness of Luther’s character cannot ignore Luther’s refusal to work with Zwingli as anything beyond his fear of the Diet’s intolerance of Zwingli and his followers. To agree to join with him, would place Luther outside of the Catholic Church’s tolerance of him, which would mean certain death, if Philip of Hesse’s belief that a combined Protestant League could defeat the Catholic Church and the Emperor Charles V. Luther would cut Zwingli off on his own and let him be killed before he would venture that far with his own neck. Exactly two years later, Zwingli would die on the battle field of Kappell, and be cut to pieces and dismembered by the Catholics on October 11, 1531, as God’s recompense for the blood of Jacob Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaourock and Michael Sattler.
The Protestant appeal at the Diet of Speyer 1529, was refined and detailed by Melanchthon at Luther’s direction in the Augsburg Confession presented to the Emperor Charles V on June 24, 1530 in which the Lutheran’s restated their doctrinal beliefs, along with the clear addition of the Condemnation of the Anabaptists as worthy of death, in order to build a platform of common ground with the Catholics and the Emperor of hating a common enemy, in order to build a platform of common ground of agreement about a worse enemy than the Reformers. Again, as always, when the princes and Melanchthon rode toward Augsburg to present the Confession in person to the Emperor at the risk of their own lives and liberty, Martin Luther accompanied them only as far as Coburg, where he remained behind in safety on April 23 to allow the others to stand where he dared not!
Heaven’s books will open someday (Revelation 20:12), and reveal the magnitude of such treachery and cowardice deceit from Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli and the Papists, who manipulated one another for their own personal gain and protection, and all of whom from the Diet of Speyer in 1529 and the Augsburg Confession of 1530, Catholics and Protestant’s alike joined in a slaughter of God’s people that would last another 100 years, and far surpass even the Ten Imperial Persecutions of early Rome.
With the Diet of Speyer and Luther’s Tract against the Anabaptists overshadowing the year, 1529 began the satanic bloodletting that would dye Luther’s cape after “the scarlet coloured beast” he served to mentor with his own reformed theology of which “mountain” he so desperately wanted to sit atop (Revelation 17:3-9) for fame. Six Anabaptists were imprisoned in Basel by one Batholomew Sincken, the castellan in that city, all of whom were never seen again. Hans Langmantel with his two servants, a man and a maid were condemned by the Lutherans in Germany. Langmantel had turned to Christ alone for salvation, and had led his servants in the same righteous path unto God. While imprisoned as Anabaptists in very severe conditions, they wrote, “O Gott, unser himmlischer Vater, kommt mit der Macht des thy Heiligen Geistes, dass Sie unser Herz, Seele und Meinung erfreuen können; geben Sie alle drei von uns einem starken Herzen, mit dem in diesem Kummer wir kämpfen und überwinden. Enthüllung 2:7”. Langmantel and his manservant were beheaded, and his maidservant was drowned.
George Blaurock, one of Zwingli’s most ardent students was arrested with his companions, including Hans van der Reve in Gusodaum, and burned at the stake near Clausen. Vigil Plaitner was martyred at Scharding in Bavaria. Louis of Constance, a Waldenses was killed with the sword near Lake Constance. John Hut, another Waldenses was imprisoned and tortured in the tower at Augsburg, in Swabia, who was severely tortured, then left lying almost dead beside a pile of hay, with a candle burning in it, until the candle set fire to the hay and thus ended “the sufferings of Christ” in this child of God Almighty. Seventy Anabaptists, including Wolfgang Brandhuber and Hans Niedermair were arrested and imprisoned in Lintz, in the country north of Enns and executed by the sword, fire and drowning. Carius Prader with several others were shut up together in a house in the country of Salzburg and died together in Christ when the house was set afire. Seven other Anabaptists were taken together at Gmund, in Swabia including a fourteen year old lad who was first to be imprisoned, and left severely confined for almost a year. Adding to his cramped cell were confined six other men, taken from their families. Each were drawn to the place of execution, the young lad being put forth first. As he stood to be dispatched with the sword, a Count rode up to him on horse back and offered a chance to escape the sword, saying, “My dear child, desist from this error, and I will give you a prebend, and care for you forever”. To this ply to forsake Christ, the young lad replied, “Should I love my life and forsake God, and seek to escape the cross of Christ? This a cannot do. Thy wealth can help neither of us, but I expect a better reward in heaven! Hence cease these entreaties.”
Anna of Freiburg was drowned likewise in 1529 at Freiburg. Likewise Daniel Kopf with his two brothers and four sisters departed this life to great rewards in Heaven, passing “some through the water, some through the fire; some through great trials, but all through the blood”. Wolfgang of Mos, Thomas Imwald of Aldein, George Frick of Wuerzburg, and Mankager of Fussen, with four Anabaptists sisters, Christina Tolinger of Penon, a widow, Barbara of Thiers, Agatha Kampner of Breitenberg with her sister Elizabeth (a convert of George Blaurock) were arrested in the Ful at Elschland were executed on the November 16, 1529 for the faith of Christ which was given them upon repentance towards God. Nine brothers and sisters were apprehended in the city of Alzey sentenced to death under the Imperial Mandate arising out of the Second Diet of Speyer. Another Anabaptist sister came to comfort them in their prison, for which she was also arrested and imprisoned with them. The men were executed with the sword, while the original sisters were drown in a horse pond. The last sister, who for her want to care for “the prisoners of the Lord” (Ephesians 4:1/ 2 Timothy 1:8) was burned at the stake since she had comforted and strengthened the others while they lay condemned under the Imperial mandate.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget
Your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed
Toward his name, in that ye have ministered
To the saints, and do minister.”
This same year saw the martyrdom of three hundred and fifty in accordance to the Imperial Mandate arising out of Speyer. These all died valiantly, singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in the hearts to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19/ Colossians 3:16) as they were led forth from their houses into prisons, and from the prisons to the place of execution, watching their brethren that preceded them across Jordan, being drowned, beheaded and burned. Many, whom the bloodthirsty papists and Lutherans “hated…because they are not of the world” (John 17:14), but because of their singing could not bring themselves to kill them, instead rather tortured and maimed their bodies; some of whom they cut off their fingers and burned crosses into their foreheads, because as said the Burgrave of Palsgrave, “What shall I do? The more I cause to be executed, the more they increase!”
What would move Lutherans, who professed to be different than Catholics to behave as did the Catholics in their blood thirsting, murderous hatred of the Anabaptists? The Second Diet of Speyer 1529 had pushed the Protestants to clearly define their differences in the Augsburg Confession, written by Melanchthon and edited by Luther, in hopes of separating themselves more from the Anabaptists and Zwinglians than from the Catholics themselves. However, when Luther and Melanchthon’s Augsburg Confession was initially presented to Charles V, the Hellish Roman Emperor on June 24, 1530, and read aloud to all on the 25th, Charles commissioned the pope’s emissary, the Catholic Theologian Johann Eck to work in conjunction with twenty other Catholic theologians to produce a written refutation to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession, which had to be re-written five times to please the emperor. That refutation became know as the Confutatio Pontificia, which included the official Catholic Response to the Reformers. In that document, just as he likewise did in his 404 Articles Eck combined Anabaptists, Lutherans, Zwinglians and Sacramentarians into the same group of heretics and enemies of the Catholic Church. Johann Eck had been Luther’s friend turned antagonists since the publication of Luther’s 95 Thesis, against which Eck had written a refutation tract in 1528. He became the increasing inveterate opponent of the Reformers and Luther’s personal antagonists, starting at the Leipzig Disputation in 1519 where he disputed with Luther and Carlstadt; then from Rome he wrote the papal bull Exsurge Domine in June 1520 in which the Pope condemned 41 of Luther’s 95 Theses, and threatened the latter with excommunication. Having authored the Papal Bull, Pope Leo X then commissioned Eck to enforce it throughout Germany, which set him on the course of his life as the arch enemy of all the Reformers. But it was his Augsburg Refutation, the Confutatio Pontificia and his 404 Articles that frightened both Luther and Melanchthon so terribly, and instigated them to wipe out all Anabaptists in a blood furry unknown even to Rome, just to prove that Lutheran’s were more like Catholics than Anabaptists or other reformers such as Zwingli, and hence, Lutherans could be rated as the lesser of two evils; and thus be tolerated as long as they would unite with Rome in one important issue far more important than their feigned belief in justification by faith alone. That united strategy was a consortium of religious hatred and violence in murdering God’s people wherever they might be found.
The Papal Theologian Johann Eck
It should be closely noted by all lovers of factual church history, that in Eck’s Confutatio Pontificia and the 404 Articles, was the implicated charge that the Protestant’s separation from Rome was the mother to all subsequent deviations, regardless of how extreme or light those theological deviations might be. As the leading Protestant Theologian, Melanchthon had already refuted this charge in his Preface to Charles V, pointing out clearly that “the Anabaptists did not come from Luther’s doctrines, for their ideas occurred before Luther. Now it remained for the he and Luther and all their followers to prove such a difference, which left only one avenue of Catholic persuasion, and that was the murderous religious extermination of the Anabaptists. They wasted no time in making the blood flow.
Besides the Justinian Code, there had been no official mandate concerning Germany or Switzerland ever issued to either confirm or denounce the Imperial Code of Justinian 529 A.D. that pronounced death to anyone who “re-baptized” someone from another religion. Zwingli and the Zürich Council followed with theirs against the Anabaptists on March 5, 1526 as detailed above. However, in Germany, the Elector John of Saxony issued his mandate against the Anabaptists on February 27, 1527, which was followed by the Imperial Mandate, issued by Charles V on January 4, 1528. The Elector’s mandate did not specifically call for execution of the Anabaptist, but simply threatened the possibility of death, and ordered that all open air preaching and religious meetings be reported to the magistrates so that the teaching and preaching could be watched closely for heresy. However, the Imperial Mandate issued by Charles V on January 4, 1528 specifically called for the execution of Anabaptists.
"Since in both ecclesiastical and civil law
Anabaptism is forbidden under severe penalties,
and since the imperial code decrees and orders,
on pain of the highest penalty of death,
that no one shall have himself baptized a second time
or re-baptize another . . . ."
Concisely put, Christians who lived a holy life before God and man who would not be silent about their beliefs in the world, “testify[ing] of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7) were to be immediately imprisoned wherever they might be found and then tried and executed as “Anabaptists”. Six Anabaptists were executed in the Electoral Territory of Reinhardsbrunn, which greatly disturbed Luther’s close friend and confident, Frederick Myconius, when Myconius witnessed the calm manner in which these “sheep of God’s pasture” (Psalm 74:1/ 95:7/ 100:3) faced death at the hands of their tormentors. Myconius wrote Melanchthon and Luther for their opinions about executing these peaceful Anabaptists. In a letter to Myconius in February 1530 Melanchthon replied that “all Anabaptists were to be treated with the utmost severity, no matter how blameless they might appear”. To Myconius’ inquiry, Luther himself wrote “I am very pleased with the outline of your projected work against the Anabaptists, which I hope will be published as soon as possible. As they are not only blasphemous, but highly seditious, urge the use of the sword against them by right of law. For it is in accordance with the will of God that he should incur punishment, who resists the civil power as the minister of God. (Romans xiii, 1-3). We may not, therefore, mete out better treatment to these men than God Himself and all the saints.” At the end of 1531, Melanchthon drafted a memorandum on the duty of the secular authorities in the matter of religious differences, with particular reference to the Anabaptists. In that memorandum, Melanchthon set forth the grounds for a regular system of coercion by the sword. Martin Luther set his name and signature to the bottom of this document, with the words, “I, Luther, Approve” [placet mihi Luthero]. By 1535, Melanchthon was personally overseeing and participating in the interrogations and trials of the Anabaptists and condemning them to death by sword for the men, and drowning for the women. As with the Pope, and all the Catholic Inquisitors of Dark Ages past, “Melanchthon based the death penalty for blasphemers on both Mosaic and Roman Law. “He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16). In the Justinian Code he discovered the Imperial Law, coming from both Honorius and Theodosius, which punished rebaptizers with death”.
On November 20, 1535, an entire house full of Anabaptists were arrested in Kleineutersdorg, a village two kilometers south of Kahla. Melanchthon over saw the interrogations, which required parts of two days, on December 1 and 6, 1535. Melanchthon directed most of the questions at the end of which he called for the three leaders to be executed with the sword, subsequent of which Heinz Kraut, Jobst Moller and Hans Peissker a miller were condemned to death by the sword as Anabaptists on January 25, 1536. The sentence was carried out on January 26, 1536, with all three showing great calm and integrity of courage as “they laid their heads on the block of their own accord. Because this kind of courage always made a deep impression on the people, it elicited from Melanchthon a stern warning not to be deceived by a show of faith and courage at their deaths by the Anabaptists”.
And thus the Protestant religion began its murderous assault upon the children of God, “the corner preachers”, those who would not be silent about the word of God in light of the corruptions of Rome and her illegitimate bastard child of whoredom, the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant and Catholic ecumenical blood thirst would not be quenched for nearly 100 years, and hundreds were snared in the slaughter who were no more Anabaptists than Luther or the Pope. But “hatred stirreth up strifes” and is “covered by deceit” (Proverbs 10:12/ 26:26) to such a point that left unchecked by an equally violent recompense of self defense, it will swallow up not only those afflicted by it, but those nearby the affronted target of such hatred. Such was the case in the infamous overthrow of the city of Munster. Volumes have been hastily written by Protestant, Catholic, Mennonites and Baptists historians concerning the stupendous atrocity reaped upon the City of Munster, by the Catholics and Lutherans, and the enormous effort and lies told to cover such terrible acts while falsely blaming it upon that line of people called Anabaptists.
Such horrible vengeance reaped upon so ignorant of religious people, with a blood thirst reminiscent of the Papal Dark Ages, it has ever since required the constant devilish work of both Catholic and Lutheran alike to ascribe much wanton disregard for truth about who the Munsterites really were and what they actually believed, in order to cover and justify the wanton blood shed, and tremendous disregard of any forbearance of holiness, decency and godly conduct on the part of the Catholic and Lutheran ecumenical military in one of Church History’s worst massacres of poor, miserable wretches. Those hapless wretches were just one half step above the Catholic and Lutheran oppressors that slaughtered them, and then called them Anabaptists to justify the bloodshed.
The leaders of the Munsterites as they would be referred to as oft as they were erroneously called Anabaptists, were Bernhard Rothmann, Jan Matthys, Bernard Knipperdolling and Jan of Leiden as he was called. They were aided by two traveling street preachers named Bartholomeus Boekbinder & William de Kuiper, who as many street preachers today, would be taught by no one and subject themselves to no one. All of these men, to a man referred to themselves as “Brethren of the Covenant” or “Covenanters”, which titles they derived from the only mentor any of them would even closely listen to, Melchoir Hoffmann.
Melchoir Hoffmann was without scholarly training, but possessed a deep and thorough understanding of the scriptures from his repeated reading of the Bible. He first appeared as a furrier in Livonia. Attracted by Martin Luther’s teachings, he came forward as a Lutheran Lay Preacher, combining his business travels as a furrier with an open air preaching ministration. Born in 1495, Hoffmann became a solid disciple of Martin Luther, and Luther gave him very much support and theological training in his early years. He worked as a lay preacher in the cities of Wolmar (from 1523), Dorpat and Reval. In Dorpat he became involved in an iconoclastic revolt, and the magistrates obliged him to go to Wittenberg to obtain Luther's continued approval of his preaching. Upon his return to itinerate preaching, he passed through Denmark en route back to Germany from Sweden, and his influential preaching had great effect in Nicolaikerche in Kiel, where they gave him his first ministerial position as preacher alongside the existing pastor. However, when Luther heard of such, he wrote that Hoffmann should be silenced, since he was in Luther’s self conceit, neither competent, educated nor “called to preach”. Though Luther had taught him, jealousy over his attributes and influence provoked Luther to disown him for lack of scholarly attainments. By 1530, Hoffmann would forsake Luther’s lack of standing upon anything Biblical beyond Rome’s tolerance, and for a season he joined himself to the Zwinglians in Strasbourg, but quickly found Zwingli going little further than Luther. However, Hoffmann did find a connection with a faction within the State Church who were proclaiming themselves prophets who were predicting a new era of expansion for the kingdom of God not found in the scriptures. These men were not Anabaptists, but a factual concise history will clearly link them with the Mennonites of today. They taught a naïve eschatology of vain hope, kindled by their own fears of persecution and death that kept them within the State Church, while fomenting a murmuring disdain for civil authority that would prove bigger than their ability to reason and think about “their latter end” (Deuteronomy 32:29) of such compromises. Smithson would write of them, “They taught that all persecution would cease, and a Pentecostal power would again descend upon the Church.” Hoffmann, being himself a visionary enthusiasts of the order of Balaam (Numbers 23 & 24), he quickly fell prey to wanting more for himself than his personal reading of the Bible was willing to grant him.
“Grant unto us that we may sit,
the one on thy right hand,
and the other on thy left hand,
in thy glory.”
Hoffmann “now began to proclaim that from a computation of prophetic data he was confident that 1533 would be the year of the establishment of the kingdom of Christ, and that Strasbourg would be the ‘new Jerusalem’; the two witnesses were to appear, and of these two, he was the first, even Elijah.”
“And Balaam lifted up his eyes and said…
Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man
whose eyes are open hath said,
He hath said, which heard the words of God,
which saw the vision of the Almighty,
falling into a trance, but having his eyes open.”
-Numbers 24:3, 4
In the midst of this new found prophetic office of one, Hoffmann and his protégés were confronted with the Imperial Mandate coming out of the Second Diet of Speyer 1529. “By this time” says Newman, “the cause of the Anabaptists had become most desperate. The edict of Speyer 1529 had outlawed them everywhere, making it not only lawful but obligatory upon Protestants and Catholics alike to seize them wherever found and put them to death without elaborate forms of trial. Most of their ablest leaders had already been destroyed. Free cities, where they had found a measure of toleration, were being forced to adopt rigorous measures for their exclusion” . Not being in anyway an Anabaptists, and infected with the soon to be Mennonites’ fear of persecution in Strasbourg, Hoffmann submitted himself to baptism in Strasbourg on April 23, 1530, but immediately began teaching that baptism should be reserved for the dawning of the new era. This teaching would prevent him from being labeled as an Anabaptists and jailed or killed. However, during a visit to Emden, he witnessed a remarkable revival of religion that was left unmolested by the civil authorities, which quickly overcame his fear of persecution for re-baptizing. It is recorded that at this place, where fear of persecution had relaxed, Hoffmann changed his previous reservation of baptism, and personally baptized three hundred persons in Emden. Leaving Emden in 1530, he traveled westward to the Netherlands, but was there overtaken with the news that many of his baptized converts had been executed, being condemned under the Imperial Code as “Anabaptists” in order to kill them. This immediately struck fear into Hoffmann, and caused him again to change his beliefs, and “conclude that he had made a mistake as to the opportune time for baptism, and he advised his followers in writing to “stand still” in the matter of keeping the ordinances and the formation of congregations. They were not to withdraw from the ruling State Church, but within it were to form circles in which the expectation of the coming of God in power would be kept alive.” Such compromises clearly identify him as anything else, but not an Anabaptists. Hoffman disagreed strongly with the Zürich Anabaptists, and repeatedly condemned their secession from the State Church. He was a post millennialist, who taught that the new era would dawn upon the earth with its manifestation of the Holy Ghost power, and the entire world would be converted. Hoffmann, like Menno Simons kept on the move for three years, continuing his open air preaching “in circuit” (1 Samuel 7:16, 17) throughout the Netherlands and Northern Germany, with “his return…to” (vs. 17) to Strasbourg. Howbeit, by 1533 his influential and visionary preaching could be tolerated by either the Lutherans or the Zwinglians, and Hoffmann was imprisoned at Strasbourg, where he would remain for the last ten years of his life, dying in his squalored cell in 1543. During his confinement, when his prophecies of the coming of Christ for 1533 were not fulfilled, he started a continual re-adjustment of his prophecies just as he had re-adjusted his theology. He never abandoned his expectation of the speedy end of the age, but just re-calculated his dates “with a wonderful power of accommodation with which he moved the time of consummation from date to date as the necessity of the case demanded.”
Howbeit, with his imprisonment, it left Hoffmann’s “seat empty” (1 Samuel 20:18) as the chief prophet of the “Covenanters”, but it did not take long to find another vain interloper. Following the Diet of Speyer 1529, and four years before Hoffmann’s imprisonment, there came to the city of Munster a man named Bernhard Rothmann (his given name quite possibly reminiscent of his eternal condition). Like Hoffmann, he was a student of Luther, and upon his entrance into Munster, he was most evident to all a strong Lutheran. With Luther’s backing, he became the leader of the Lutheran reformation in the City of Munster and by July 1531 became the pastor of the largest church in the city, St. Lambert’s Church. From his pulpit in St. Lambert’s Church his sermons condemned Catholic doctrines such as purgatory and the use of images, as well as the low morals of the priests. He was censured by the Catholic Bishop von Waldyck in 1531, and afterwards denied the authority of the Catholic Church and openly aligned himself with the Reformed Catholic faith of Martin Luther. In January of 1532, he published an evangelical creed, and gained the backing of the city authorities. By 1533 the Catholic Bishop von Waldyck gave up trying to reinstate Catholicism and officially recognized the city as a Lutheran municipality. In the treaty of February 14, 1533, Munster was recognized as a Lutheran city, and all the churches officially became Lutheran, though many Catholics continued to attend St. Lambert’s. “Pride” still going “before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18), Bernhard Rothmann, like Melchoir Hoffmann began to think too highly of himself, and almost simultaneously began studying after Hoffmann and the inevitable fools’ collision course with murderous idolatry was started in its damnable ecclesiastical downhill suicidal race to the lake of fire (see Mark 5:1-13). With one Lutheran novice studying another Lutheran novice, it became well known amongst the followers of Melchoir Hoffmann, that they had another new rising star of the Covenanter’s Reformational theology. With Hoffmann’s imprisonment in Strasbourg in 1533, the cowardly future Mennonites from Strasbourg felt led of the spirit to leave lest they too be swallowed up and imprisoned for whatever it was they believed that day! When Hoffmann’s failed prophecy that Strasbourg would become the “new Jerusalem” remodeled itself into the prophet’s “new court of the prison” (see Jeremiah 32:8), it became expedient to look elsewhere for the landing pad for the Hoffmannite Covenanters’ millennial kingdom. Fearing to maintain a presence in Strasbourg, Hoffmann’s entire congregation of future Mennonites adjourned in masse to Munster and the new rising star of the Hoffmannite Reformation, Bernhard Rothmann, pastor of St. Lambert’s Lutheran Church. Hoffmann had transferred his duties in the low countries to a pestilent fellow named Jan Matthys, but most of the faithful Covenanters flocked to Munster.
As more Hoffmannite Covenanters arrived into Munster, Rothmann’s following increased, and so did his fiery sermons against Catholicism, and his Hoffmannite visions of a millennial kingdom to come sine dine. With his increased following, it left Matthys out in the cold, wondering about his reduced role in the Covenanters Reformation, and contemplating how to thrust himself into the midst of Rothmann’s new found Lutheran Leadership Act. On January 5, 1534 there arrived into Munster two unemployed Hoffmannite Covenanters, dispatched there by Jan Matthys, whose lack of character to Biblically work with their own hands (1 Corinthians 4:12/ 1 Thessalonians 4:11) inspired them greatly to go wandering about “dry places seeking rest and finding none” (Matthew 12:43/ Luke 11:24). Open air evangelism has always attracted religious transients, to whom the excitement of open air preaching appeals, not for want of a holy calling from God, but simply to vent out their frustrations with the world in which they cannot succeed in without working for a living. So came to Munster the Hoffmannite Covenanters Bartholomeus Boekbinder and William Kuiper. According to Matthys’ plan, the two were to launch into a two day public preaching campaign throughout Munster to proclaim that God had moved the landing pad of the millennial kingdom from Strasbourg to Munster as retaliation for Strasbourg jailing Melchoir Hoffmann. They were to preach and proclaim that just as Christ came preaching after John the Baptist’s imprisonment, so too would come a new prophet after Melchoir Hoffmann’s imprisonment. That new prophet of the kingdom was none other than Jan Matthys of Harlem, whom Boekbinder and Kuiper insisted was really Enoch of old (see Genesis 5:24). Obviously, he could not be Elijah of old, since Hoffmann as Elijah was in jail at Strasbourg.
As consistently shown in the records of Protestant Reformational history, all of the Reformers with the exception of Melanchthon demonstrated a unique and comparable trait of individual, personal cowardice to stand alone. They each one, repeatedly demonstrated that their only courage had to be borrowed from the public stands of their followers while they lingered in the shadows, until they were thoroughly convinced it was safe for them to venture into the public arena. So it was likewise with Jan Matthys. He would not venture into Munster himself, until he had dispatched Boekbinder and Kuiper, and watched the reaction of the populace and Rothmann. With the new arrivals of the hundreds of Hoffmannite Covenanters, the reaction was spontaneous and exciting.
“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:
but when the desire cometh,
it is a tree of life.”
As Melchoir Hoffmann had taught his followers to defer baptism until the new era had landed, Matthys’ plan was to gage the reaction of the populace to proclamation of the newly arrived street prophets; and if sufficiently overwhelming in favor of the second coming of Enoch and the new era to Munster, then Boekbinder and Kuiper were to call for everyone to be baptized. As John the Baptist baptized the Jews in order “to manifest Christ to Israel” (John 1:31), so too should the citizens of Munster be baptized to manifest Jan Matthys as Enoch unto Munster. Not to be left out of this Hoffmannite millennial circus, the Luther pastor of St. Lambert’s, Bernhard Rothmann was first to submit to this new baptism. He was baptized on January 6, after which the two prophets vacated the town, and left Rothmann to baptized 1,400 converts to the most stupendous ecclesiastical satyr of the entire Protestant Reformation of the Catholic Church.
Matthys intensified his plan to be king, by professedly anointing his own “twelve apostles”, just like Christ. Howbeit, history only records four of them, namely Boekbinder, Kuiper, a Jan of Leiden and a fourth Bible blockhead named Bernard Knipperdolling. Matthys remained in the shadows, along the outskirts of Munster, until he had sufficient evidence that it was safe and acceptable to enter as the “false prophet” he really was.
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived:
for many shall come in my name,
saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near:
go ye not therefore after them.”
To test the waters, he dispatched Jan of Leiden on the 13th of January 1534, with Knipperdolling joining him three weeks later on February 8, when the two of them ran through the streets of Munster crying for everyone to repent of their sins, for Enoch was on his way. This created the wanted hysteria to which Matthys could enter as the calming comforter. The following day, on February 9, Matthys entered the city of Munster more as an “ass” than sitting upon one (see Matthew 21:5). The remainder of the ecclesiastical tragedy is melodramatic, with an expected and oft proclaimed atypical bloody, Catholic ending. Matthys was installed as king of Munster, and as any fool would anticipate, the Catholic Bishop Waldyck’s army surrounded the city and built earthworks to besiege the city on the night of the full moon, February 28, 1534. And as the fool he really was, Jan Matthys called all his disciples to “a Last Supper” on Good Friday, April 3rd and announced that he would be helped of God the following day to defeat the Catholic army outside the walls. Howbeit, unlike with Gideon’s three hundred men (see Judges 7:7), Matthys’ exited the city the next Sabbath Day’s morning with only twenty (20) men, and charged headlong at the Catholic Bishop’s army, and was cut to pieces in a matter of minutes, and Matthys was left cruelly dismembered on the road into the city. With Matthys and all his prophecies lying dead outside the walls as bird fodder, Jan of Leiden was installed as the new king, and the siege and battle for Munster raged on for over two years, with the Catholics finally taking the city on June 24, 1535. Jan of Leiden, Boekbinder, Bernard Knipperdolling and Bernard Krechting were captured and paraded through the streets of the Catholic and Lutheran cities, and finally brought back to Munster to stand trial on Wednesday, January 19, 1536, so that they could be condemned civilly for having violated the Imperial Code of Justinian 529, and the Imperial Mandate of 1529. Thus, because of their having baptized Catholics and Lutherans, they were falsely called Anabaptists, even though they never professed to be such, and openly called themselves Covenanters. Al three were tortured to death on Saturday, January 22, 1536 and their bodies hung inside of iron cages, suspending from the outside steeple of St. Lambert’s Church, which cages are there to this day, as tokens of the Catholics’ and Lutheran’s hatred of the Anabaptists.
Anabaptists Cages on Steeple of St. Lambert’s Church
Luther, Zwingli and Melancthon having spent years within the Catholic Church, they learned certain Papist’s principles of deceit and sinister treachery very well.
“There is treachery, O Ahaziah.”
- 2 Kings 9:23
Within the Fransican-Jesuit Baalite mentality is the ever present art of deceitful betrayal of close associates in order to save thyself, or settle personal differences, such devilish wisdom dating back to Judas Iscariot (see Luke 22:48), and Jezebel of old (see 1 Kings 21:8, 9), which doctrinal teaching the Bible identifies infiltrated the church beginning at Thyatira (Revelation 2:20) at the height of the Dark Ages between 857A.D. and 1,150 A.D. By 1500, the Catholic Church had mastered it well, and the Lutherans as well as the Zwinglians were not but 5 years removed from the Papist Cloister to have forgotten such tactics.
Having watched the Catholics again revert to the Justinian Code’s label of “Anabaptists”, in condemning Muntzer in May of 1525, Zwingli incorporated the same in Switzerland in condemning Conrad Grable and executing both Felix Manz George Blaurock. Luther and Melanchthon did the same with Munzter and every saint of God that dared stand up in the Light of God against the double darkness of the German Reformation of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5).
Every church historian that ever wrote missed it, and it now stands as the eternal record to condemn all their fraudulent lying about the factual events and truth of the Anabaptists’ story. Historians have clamored in unison for 1,600 years to condemn Christians by the hundreds of thousands, using the Justinian term “Anabaptists” as an excuse for murdering God’s people in a blood thirstiness that only the fires of hell will quench; excusing their hatred of God and God’s holiness manifested in the lives of His saints, by falsely condemning those saints to death for a religious exercise instituted by the Apostle Paul (Acts 19:1-6), in the very Bible those religious murderers professed to believe. Baptizing people or re-baptizing people has never been an issue with God or the devil, nor has it been anything more than a flippant excuse by Catholic, Anglican and Protestant Inquisitors to murder God’s people who lived a more holy and godly life than they ever obtained from their worthless religions established in Christ’s name, but without His life! Satan has never fought against or raged against what God is not for! And the Bible clarified God’s position towards baptism from the day He called the Apostle Paul to preach.
“For Christ sent me not to baptized,
But to preach the gospel.”
-1 Corinthians 1:17
Howbeit, it is an absolute Biblical standard of the New Testament salvation that is in Christ unto His righteousness and true holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1/ Romans 3:25-26/ Psalm 22:31/ Ephesians 4:24) that they which in deed and truth are “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6) being “baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:1-3). That baptism is the actual physical work and manifestation of the Holy Ghost of Jesus Christ in the lives and preaching of those whom that holy work of God would clearly identify thereby as Anabaptists. The re-baptizing in water from the scriptures was only a “like figure” (1 Peter 3:21) of something far more spiritual and deeper than the river into which each was immersed. That Anabaptism roots itself into this definitive scripture from Christ, spoken to his disciples after the initial baptism into water was long dried away.
“Ye shall indeed drink of the cup
that I drink of; and with the baptism that
I am baptized withal
shall ye be baptized.”
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
-Romans 6:3, 4
No people, whether few or many have ever believed everything that all the others believed, whether in their own specific group, or a variety of similar groups. Even as Paul never agreed fully with Peter (Galatians 2:11-17/ 2 Peter 3:15, 16) or Apollos (Acts 18:24-19:5/ 1 Corinthians 1:11-13), neither do they have to for God to use them, if they truly desire God and desire to be used of God. No Baptists or Mennonite could truthfully deny that God used John Wesley, and that he was a saved man and full of the Holy Ghost. But John Wesley believed very little of Baptists’ views of church and state, or Mennonites views of pacifism or their liberal view of holiness. And though John Wesley’s actual salvation was a fruit of the Anabaptists Moravians in America, his refusal to “continue in the things which he ha[d] learned and ha[d] been assured of, knowing of whom he ha[d] learned them” (2 Timothy 3:15) removed him from the roll call of the martyrs, though what he did retain, was the building blocks of the Episcopal Methodists Church unto this day. In like manner were the various groups of Anabaptists from Paul, down through the church age Montanists, Novatians, Donatists, Paulicians, Petrobrusians, Waldenses or the Moravians. All were looked upon by the world and Satan as “those cursed Anabaptists”, for which death and banishment was the only remedy to silence their stedfast obedience to the last command of Christ, to “go ye into all the world and preach” (Mark 16:15). Howbeit, they varied in numerous theological points that left their persecutors with nothing that could consistently be used as evidence they were all the same in damnable doctrines. Their doctrine was never the death sentence that reserved their place “under the altar…for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9).
Rather, it was their child like obedient walk with Christ that as Paul, “count[ed] all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through THE FAITH OF CHRIST, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9). So too did these saints of God stand and die “a more excellent sacrifice…by which they obtained witness” (Hebrews 11:4) from their record on high that they were “righteous even as Christ is righteous” (1 John 3:7), “God testifying of their gifts: and by it they being dead yet speaketh” that “they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). That is Anabaptism, in that mystical manifestation of the life of Jesus Christ in the believer’s body, whereby “death worketh in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12), in a Biblical baptism that modern day Christianity knows nothing about.
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross figuratively. His death was a cruel death of physical pain and suffering (Hebrews 2:9), whereby “we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). “They…platted a crown of thorns” and “put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand” (Matthew 27:29) for a scepter, which was snatched from his grasp and used to “smote him on the head” (vs. 30) to drive the thorns deep into “head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10). His hands were driven through with nails (John 20:25), and the soldiers “with a spear pierced his side” (John 19:34). They “smote him with their hands” (19:3), and “spit upon him” (Mark 15:19), and then “scourged Jesus” (Matthew 27:26) to such an extent, the prophets bore witness before hand of the bloody details that Pilate wanted none to see, how that “he was wounded...he was bruised…with stripes” (Isaiah 53:5) until “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). Ten times in the New Testament the Bible details Christ’s death as one of “sufferings” (Romans 8:18/ 2 Corinthians 1:5, 6, 7/Philippians 3:10/ Colossians 1:24/ Hebrews 2:10/ 1 Peter 1:11/ 4:13 and 5:1), and the promise of the same is sure to all they who will live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).
That promise concerns “godliness”, which modern day Christianity knows nothing of, nor do they wish to walk therein. Godliness is a great mystery, of which Paul wrote in the Scriptures, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). It requires a willing subjection to this unequivocal mandated requirement for all who walk therein, that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). There are not exceptions, and there has never been an exception throughout all of the annals of Biblical Church History. There has never existed any Mennonite or Baptist exception to that Biblical rule. Neither has there ever existed a Mennonite martyr or a Baptists martyr. But just as true, is the fact, that the Anabaptists did not disappear from the face of the earth, nor did they dissolve into any group called Mennonite, Baptists, Hutterian, or Amish society. All these to a man, regardless of their beliefs or outward show of dress, live without the knowledge or manifestation of God or Christ in their flesh. That is why the scriptures mandate that “we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11).
But the life of Christ lives on within an ever growing body of believers called Anabaptists. They did die out. They were not killed to the man, though their blood flowed throughout all of Europe and into England, where its flow reached even unto the United States with the public beatings and imprisonments of the Anabaptists open air preachers Elisha and Elijah Craig, John Corbley, Thomas Chambers and John Waller. Of the official record of Orange County, Virginia may be found in the Order Book of that county for the years 1763-1769, on page 514 the following Court Record.
ALLEN WYLEY, JOHN CORBLEY
ELIJAH CRAIG, THOMAS CHAMBERS
Duration of Imprisonment in Orange Goal UNKNOWN.
“At a Court held for Orange County on Thursday the 28th of July, 1768.
Rowland Thomas Zack Burnley
Present Reuben Daniel Wm. Moore Gent
James Walker Jonny Scott
“This day Allan Wiley, John Corbley, Elijah Craig and Thomas Chambers in Discharge of their Recognizance Entered into before Rowland Thomas Gent on being charged as Vagrant and Itinerant Persons and for Assembling themselves unlawfully at Sundry Times and Places Under the Denomination of Anabaptists and for Teaching and Preaching Schismatic Doctrines Whereupon the Court having Examined the Witnesses and heard the Counsel on both Sides are of the Opinion that the sd. Allen Wiley, John Corbley, Elijah Craig and Thomas Chambers are Guilty of a Breach of Good Behaviour and Ordered that they Enter into Bond each in the sum of £50 and two Securities in the Sum of £25 Each to be of Good behaviour until the 25th of October next and in case they fail to Enter into Such Bond as aforesaid that Each of Them so failing Shall be Committed to Gaol Until the Same Shall be performed.”
In deed, upon the labors and blood shed by saints better than ourselves, the Anabaptists Church today enters into these last days, where “perilous times have come” (2 Timothy 3:1). The Anabaptists have not died out, nor succumbed to the apostasy of the Mennonites, Baptists or Amish. They are as numerous as in times past, throughout the world, but have learned from true factual history, that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Within the last 25 years in the United States alone, Anabaptists preachers have been jailed almost a hundred times, for nothing more than preaching in public, to the world at large, that “the deeds thereof are evil” (ibid.). They remain to this present hour those still extant “corner preachers”. Howbeit, today, God Almighty has helped them to create a Biblical church over sight, that has for so many hundreds of years, been absent to the detriment of so many faithful, but far between Brethren, separated by as many theological differences as they were in miles and national boundaries. But they have learned to work together with their differences, submitting themselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21), “being subject one to another” (1 Peter 5:5) for the furtherance of the preaching of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Anabaptists Churches have extensive Articles of Faith, very unlike the shallow, and errantly compromised Confessions of both the Mennonites and Baptists churches over the past two hundred years. We still seek to reform no denominational or ecclesiastical apostate synagogue of the world, the flesh or the devil. But rather seek God’s help in maintaining a pure church in the order of the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Our’s is a New Testament Presbyterian form of church over sight, with Bishops and Elders ordained to territorial bishopricks (Acts 1:20) throughout North America, Europe and Africa, for which we make no apologies to those religious standard bearers of other denominations. We have National Bishops that travel extensively throughout their nations in “preach[ing] everywhere” (Mark 16:20) to establish New Testament Anabaptists Churches, where the saints and faithful are taught the word of God without the fear of man, towards that spiritual Anabaptism that is a manifestation of God “in the body of his flesh…which body we are (Colossians 1:22-24/ 3:15/ Ephesians 5:30/ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20/ Hebrews 10:10). The Bishops and Elders work tirelessly together throughout the world, to maintain the individual local church ministration free of ecclesiastical and hierarchical dominance, yet working in full fellowship and harmony with all the other local Anabaptists Congregations throughout the world. The Anabaptists Churches remain a persecuted congregation in every country they preach. There are still imprisonments and arrests, court appearances, persecutions and reproaches, beatings and stonings; all of which are still at the hands of other religions.
“I thought we burned all of you
Anabaptists to death years ago in Zürich.”
-Anglican Missionary Well Driller from Switzerland to the Anabaptist Bishop of North America on the road to Malakisi, Kenya
“The only mistake we Catholics made
was not killing all of you Anabaptists when we had the chance!”
-Catholic Jesuit Priest to the Anabaptist Bishop
of Pennsylvania while preaching to the Pope
in Washington, D.C. April 2008
“I needed that! God as my Witness,
I needed that!”
-New Hampshire Bishop Gould
[Shortly after being stoned by Muslims
December 4, 2008]
1 <a href="http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9044217/Code-of-Justinian"> Code of Justinian</a>
2 Tieleman Jans van Braght, Martyrology of the Anabaptists, published in Dutch 1660, and translated into English by Benjamin Millard and published in two volumes by the Hanserd-Knollys Society, in 1850, London. Also see Evans, Early English Baptists, vol. I, pp. 156-157. Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, vol. II, p. 166.
3 Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists, published in two volumes, published in New York in 1890 by Bryan, Taylor & Co. See Foreword by Dr. Richard C. Weeks, Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists, Reprinted 1988 by Baptists Heritage Press, Watertown, Wisconsin.
4 J.M. Carroll, The Trail of Blood, 59th Edition.
5 Winthrop S. Hudson, The Baptists Quarterly, Vol. 16, p. 309.
6 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 90, 91/ Madame Brons, Taufgesinnten oder Mennoniten, p. 120.
7 W. T. Whitley, A History of British Baptists, p. 17.
8 Henoch Clapham, Errors on the Right Hand, 1608 as quoted by Thomas Crosby, History of the English Baptists.
9 Winthrop S. Hudson, The Baptist Quarterly, Vol. 16, p. 303.
10 Hudson, The Baptist Quarterly, Vol. 16, p. 303.
11 Isaac Backus, A History of NewEngland with Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists, 2 Volumes, 2nd Edition, with notes by David Weston; Newton, Mass; Backus Historical Society, 1871.
12 Jacob Sessler, Communal Pietism among Early American Moravians, New York, H. Holt and Co. 1933, p.56.
13 Menno Simons, The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, Preface by Harold Stauffer Bender, 1955, p. 14, 15
14 Menno, Complete Writings, p. 15.
15 "Menno Simons." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 29 Dec. 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9052032>.
16 Menno Simons’ Works, Folio Edition (1681); fol. Az./ R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 161.
17 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 161.
18 Menno Simons, The Complete Writings of Menno Simons, Preface by Harold Stauffer Bender, 1955, p. 16.
19 Chris Traffanstedt, A Primer on Baptist History, ¶ 18.
20 Smyth, John." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 31 Dec. 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9068347>.
21 Tieleman Jans van Braght, The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror, originally the Martyrology of the Anabaptists, published in Dutch 1660. Re-translated into English and edited by Joseph F. Sohm, Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, 1990 edition, p. 372, 373.
22 Schaff, Swiss Reformation, vol. I. p. 71
23 Lindsay, History of the Reformation, vol. II, p. 422.
24 Evans, Early English Baptists, Vol. I, pp. 156-157. Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, Vol. II, p. 166.
25 <a href="http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9044217/Code-of-Justinian"> Code of Justinian</a>
26 Dorner, History of Protestant Theology, vol. I, p. 301/ R. J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 168.
27 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 168.
28 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 44.
29 Tieleman Jans van Braght, Martyrology of the Anabaptists, published in Dutch 1660, and translated into English by Benjamin Millard and published in two volumes by the Hanserd-Knollys Society, in 1850, London. Also, Smithson, , The Anabaptists, p. 48.
30 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 48.
31 Goshen College record Review Supplement, vol. 27, No. 4, p. 7.
32 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 50, 51.
33 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 51.
34 Franklin Littell, Studies in Church History, Volume VIII, The Anabaptist View of The Church, American Society of Church History, 1952.
35 Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 36-37.
36 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 36, 37.
37 Couts, Hans Denck, p. 184
38 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 177.
39 Philip Melanchthon. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 10, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/bps/topic/373644/Philip-Melanchthon
40 Mackinnon, Luther and the Reformation, vol. IV, p. 41.
41 Franck, Chronicles, III, for. 188/ R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 42.
42 Müntzer in English include Eric W. Gritsch, Reformer Without a Church: The Life and Thought of Thomas Muntzer, 1488?–1525 (1967), and a companion study, Thomas Müntzer: A Tragedy of Errors (1989); Tom Scott, Thomas Müntzer: Theology and Revolution in the German Reformation (1989); and Abraham Friesen, Thomas Muntzer, a Destroyer of the Godless (1990).
43 Vedder, Short History of the Baptists, p. 100.
44 Cornelius, Gesch. Des Munsterischen Aufruhrs, vol. II, 240 sq./ John L. Ruth, Conrad Grebel Son of Zürich, p. 94-96.
45 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 37, 38.
46 Eric W. Gritsch, Reformer Without a Church: The Life and Thought of Thomas Muntzer, 1488?–1525 (1967), and a companion study, Thomas Müntzer: A Tragedy of Errors (1989); Tom Scott, Thomas Müntzer: Theology and Revolution in the German Reformation (1989); and Abraham Friesen, Thomas Muntzer, a Destroyer of the Godless (1990).
47 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 38.
48 The Christian Society III, Luther’s Works, p. 3-45, Fortress Press.
49 Geyer (1490-1525), a Franconian noble, and former professional soldier in the service of Albert of Prussia who became one of Luther’s early converts. Because of his army service in Prussia, he became he commander of an army of Peasants to whom surrendered Wurzburg, Rothlenburg, and Margrave Cassimir of Brandenburg. He like Munzter, wanted to establish kingdom based upon the gospels and New Testament scriptures. An unquestionable Lutheran, he was killed after the battle Ingolstadt, of whom no historian attributes any wrong doing as they did the same actions of the Munsterites.
51 A Swabian of noble background, von Berlichingen (1480-1562) , a professional soldier, he wore an iron hand to replace one lost in battle. In 1525, with the outbreak of the Peasants' War, Berlichingen led the rebels in the district of Odenwald against the Ecclesiastical Princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Despite this, he was (according to his own account) not a fervent supporter of their cause. He agreed to lead the rebels partly because he had no other option, and partly in an effort to curb the excesses of the rebellion. Despite his wishes to stop wanton violence, Berlichingen found himself powerless to control the rebels and after a month of nominal leadership he deserted his command and returned to the Schloss Jagsthausen to sit out the rest of the rebellion. After the Imperial victory, he was called before the diet of Speyer to account for his actions. On 17 October 1526, he was acquitted by the Imperial chamber. Despite this, in November 1528 he was lured to Augsburg by the Swabian League, who were eager to settle old scores. After reaching Augsburg under promise of safe conduct, and while preparing to clear himself of the old charges against him made by the league, he was seized and made prisoner until 1530 when he was liberated, but only after repeating his oath of 1522 and agreeing to return to his Schloss Hornberg and remain in that area.
52 Schweibert, Luther and His Times, p.562.
53 James Harvey Robinson, Readings in European History, 2 vols (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1906), 2: 106-108.]
54 Robert C. Schultz, Luther’s Works, Vol. 46, pg. 52.
55 Ibid. p. 53.
56 Robert C. Schultz, Luther’s Works, Vol. 46, p. 54.
57 G.R. Elton, Reformation Europe, 1517-1559 (Cleveland & New York: Meridian Books, the World Publishing Company, 1964), p. 59/ Robert C. Schultz, Luther’s Works, Vol. 46, p. 59.
58 Schultz, LW, pg. 59.
59 Ibid. pg. 59.
60 Kritische Gesamtausgabe, D. Martin Luthers Werke, Weimar, 18, p. 348-349, in the list of John Cochlaeus’ replies to Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants. Hartmann Grisar quotes Cochlaeus as charging, “Now that the poor, unhappy peasants have lost the wager, you [Luther] go over to the princes. But in the previous booklet, when there was still a good chance of their success, you wrote very differently.” E.M. Lamond (trans.), Hartmann Grisar’s Luther (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916), II, 212.
61 Vedder, The Reformation in Germany, p. 253.
62 Martin Luther, 1522 Preface to The New Testament
63 C.L. Manschreck, Melanchthon: The Quiet Reformer (1958), is the most complete biography; see also R. Stupperich, Der unbekannte Melanchthon (1961; Eng. trans. by R.H. Fischer, Melanchthon, 1965). M. Rogness, Philip Melanchthon: Reformer Without Honor (1969), contains aspects of Melanchthon’s thought. His basic works and letters may be found in K.G. Bretschneider and E. Bindseil (eds.), Corpus Reformatorum, 28 vol. (1834–60); W. Pauck (ed.), Melanchthon and Bucer (1969), contains the 1521 Loci communes; and C.L. Manschreck (ed.), Melanchthon on Christian Doctrine (1965), the 1555 Loci communes. For information on Lutheran symbols, see T.G. Tappert (ed.), The Book of Concord (1959); for educational endeavours, C. Hartfelder, Philip Melanchthon als Praeceptor Germania (1889), with bibliography. W. Hammer, Die Melanchthonforschung im Wandel der Jahrhunderte, 2 vol. (1967–68), has a good bibliography to 1965; for a discussion of Melanchthon’s relation to patristics, see P. Fraenkel, Testimonia Patrum (1961).
64 Philip Schaff History of the Christian Church, Volume VII, 1882
65 Employment Division vs. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).
66 Cantwell vs. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 (1940).
67 Tieleman Jans van Braght, Martyrology of the Anabaptists, published in Dutch 1660, and translated into English by Benjamin Millard and published in two volumes by the Hanserd-Knollys Society, in 1850, London. Also, Smithson, , The Anabaptists, p. 48.
68 John S. Oyer, Lutheran Reformers Against Anabaptists, Vol. 13, 1964.
69 R.J. Smithson, The Anabaptists, p. 179.
70 Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 420-421.
71 John S. Oyer, Lutheran Reformers Against Anabaptists, Vol. 13, page 118.
72 Von der Widertauffe, p. A2v. Oyer, page 117.
73 Sebastian Franck, Chronicle, fol. 55, 109, with the old offer-boeck, lib.1, Leonh., lib 7; also Chron. Van den Ondergang, p. 1025.
74 Thieleman J. van Braght, Martyrs Mirror, page 429.
75 Text of Dr. John Eck’s 404 Theses, or 404 Articles. Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., Papers of the American Society of Church History, Second Series, Volume II, pp. 21-81, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London, the Knickerbocker Press, 1910.
76 Lutheran Reformers Against the Anabaptists, John S. Oyer, p. 158.
77 Lutheran Reformers Against the Anabaptists, John S. Oyer, p. 159/ Melanchthon was referencing the many groups condemned as Anabaptists under the Imperial Code, especially the Donatists and Novatians, which groups Melanchthon had specifically charged the Anabaptists with perpetuating.
78 Wappler, Thuringen, p. 34, pp. 268-69 for a printing of the mandate itself.
79 Lutheran Reformers Against the Anabaptists, John S. Oyer, p. 154-5.
80 Enders, quoted by Mackinnon, Luther and the Reformation, vol. IV, p. 64.
81 John S. Oyer, p. 180-181.
82 Corpus Reformatorum, III, p. 198-200.
83 Corpus Reformatorum, III, p. 15-34/ Lutheran Reformers Against the 84 Anabaptists, John S. Oyer, p. 168.
85 Melchior Hofmann, Christian Neff, ME, II, 779-81. The Anabaptists Story, William R. Estep, p. 108.
86 Estep, p. 109.
87 The Anabaptists, R.J. Smithson, p. 80.
88 The Anabaptists, R.J. Smithson, p. 81.
89 Newman, Manual of Church History, vol. II, p. 164.
90 Ibid. p. 81.
91 Ibid. p. 82.
92 Ibid. p. 83.
93 Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia, p. 135-136.
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