Ulrich Zwingli

1484-1531

Ulrich Zwingli was born in a simple cottage in Wildhaus, Toggenburg, high in an Alpine valley, the third son of the village magistrate. He had seven brothers and two sisters. At the age of ten Zwingli was sent to a Latin school in Basle. Next he studied at the University of Bern and later that of Vienna where he studied classical writings. Zwingli greatly enjoyed and excelled at playing the lute, harp, violin, flute, dulcimer and hunting horn. He later taught and studied again in Basle and became good friends with Leo Judæ, who would become his chief co-laborer in Zürich. They both studied under Thomas Wyttenbach, who taught the pure Gospel and the need for reform. When Zwingli was ordained he became a parish priest in Glarus where he taught himself Greek so he could study the New Testament in the original. He began a correspondence with Erasmus that lasted for several years. Ægidius and Valentine Tschudi, later the leading reformers of Glarus, studied under Zwingli during this time. As was common among the priests Zwingli had several unchaste relationships with women during this period, including one with a nun. In 1512, 1513 and 1515 Zwingli, serving as a chaplain, accompanied mercenaries from Glarus to fight for Pope Julius II in Italy against the French. Over 6,000 Swiss youth died in this conflict. Zwingli began preaching against the Swiss tradition of making money by selling the military service of their young men. Though most of the congregation in Glarus supported Zwingli, some powerful citizens, angered by his preaching against mercenaries, forced him to resign his pastorate. In 1516 Zwingli became the parish priest in Einsiedeln, during this time he grew greatly in his knowledge and love of the truth of the Scripture. He began preaching the Gospel and against abuses in the Catholic church, such as the veneration of Mary and the sale of indulgences by a Franciscan monk, Bernhardin Samson. At the end of 1518 he was elected to become priest of the Grossmünster in Zürich. Zwingli’s first sermon in Zürich was delivered on January 1st, 1519 on his 36th birthday; it was on the first chapter of Matthew. From that point forward he preached expositionally through books of the Bible, preaching only what was clearly in the text. His sermons were plain, practical and powerful, delivered with rugged masculine forcefulness. Zwingli set up a class for young men in which he taught them Greek, Hebrew and Latin classics as a way to lead them into Bible study. In 1519 the plague struck Zürich taking the lives of close to a third of the population. Until he contracted it himself, Zwingli tirelessly ministered to the sick and dying. In 1520 the city council ordered the priests to preach the Scripture and to remain silent on matters of human invention. During Lent in 1522 Zwingli preached against the practice of abstaining from meat during Lent. Several of Zwingli’s friends, including Christoph Froschauer, the first printer in Zürich, acted on this sermon by eating sausages during Lent. The Bishop of Constance ordered the city council to put a stop to these violations of church teaching. In response Zwingli wrote a pamphlet defending the authority of Scripture over church tradition. Zwingli began to instruct and act as a father to the handsome and intelligent boy, Gerold Meyer von Knonau. Zwingli helped von Knonau attend the University of Basle. After von Knonau’s graduation in 1523, at the age of 14, Zwingli encouraged and charged him to choose the path of righteousness, which the young man heeded; at 16 he married Küngolt Dietschi, the daughter of a council member, at 18 von Knonau was selected to serve on the Council of Zürich and at 21 he was voted in as the president of the council. Von Knonau showed himself to be one of Zwingli’s chief allies on the council in working for reform in Zürich. In the summer of 1522 Zwingli and some others petitioned for the clergy to be allowed to marry, though they were denied, Wilhelm Reublin and Leo Judæ publicly married. Through working with von Knonau, Zwingli met and fell in love with his widowed mother, Anna Reinhart, who also had two daughters, Margaretha and Agatha. Zwingli and Anna were secretly married in 1522 and made the marriage public on April 5th, 1524. They had four children together, Regula, Wilhelm, Ulrich and Anna. Every Friday Zwingli preached the Gospel to large crowds in the market place. Most of the people of Zürich began to embrace the Gospel and to burn with zeal for the Lord. Due to Zwingli’s preaching on reform and the growth of the Reformation in Germany, the council called a public disputation to settle the matter of the authority of Scripture. In preparation for this disputation Zwingli published 67 Theses. The first disputation was held on January 9th, 1523 with about six hundred men present, including the council, clergymen and representatives from other cantons who were favorable to reform, and reformers Vadian, Sebastian Meyer and Sebastian Hofmeister. The council ruled in favor of Zwingli, directing him “to continue to preach the holy gospel as heretofore, and to proclaim the true, divine Scriptures.” Leo Judæ, Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz were some of his closest followers and supporters during this time. A second disputation was held in October on the question of the mass and the use of images, both of which Zwingli had preached against. The council was not prepared to abolish either and Zwingli believed that he should submit to their decision and wait for God to change their hearts. This decision caused a rupture between Zwingli and some of his followers, including Grebel and Mantz, who argued that if the mass and the veneration of images was idolatry then Zwingli should obey God rather than man. A third disputation was held on January 20th, 1524, again on the mass. The mayor of Zürich from 1524 to 1544, Diethelm Roist, supported Zwingli in his reform efforts. On June 20th a procession of 12 councilors, three pastors and many craftsmen went throughout the town removing images from the churches. On April 11th, 1525 Zwingli and Judæ begged the council to abolish the mass before the coming Easter. The council ruled in favor of Zwingli and ordered that on Maundy-Thursday the Lord’s Supper should be served after the apostolic institution instead of that of Rome. Zwingli organized a theological college in Zürich, called Carolinum, which opened in 1525. He also worked to organize a Swiss Reformed synod to replace the Episcopal government that had been removed. Zwingli and his wife, who was lovingly called “Dorcas” by the citizens of Zürich, worked to care for the sick, widows and orphans, as well as to organize and inspire the citizens of the town to follow their example. Zwingli’s home was regularly opened to visitors and refugees and his gracious wife helped to make all feel welcome. The Catholic cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern and Zug formed the Catholic League and allied themselves with Ferdinand of Austria, while the Protestant cantons of Zürich, Bern, Basle, St. Gall, Biel, Mülhausen and Schaffhausen joined together and called themselves The Christian Burghers Rights, and allied with Constance and later Strasburg. Tensions between the Reformed cantons and the Catholic cantons grew, and in May, 1529 Jacob Kaiser, a minister from Zürich, was captured during a preaching tour and burned at the stake in Schwyz. With the death of Kaiser Zwingli called The Christian Burghers Rights to action; he wrote, “Let us be firm, and fear not to take up arms. This peace, which some desire so much, is not peace, but war; while the war that we call for, is not war, but peace.” Zürich sent 4,000 troops, Zwingli joining them, to the village of Kappel near the city of Zug. On June 9th, 1529 Zürich declared war on the Catholic League, but through negotiations led by Bern, who did not want to fight, a peace was reached a few days later. Zwingli and Œcolampadius, who both fully rejected transubstantiation, taught the Lord’s Supper was simply a memorial that only benefited those that had faith in the finished work of Christ which was being remembered by taking the bread and wine. Luther and Melanchthon attacked the view of the Swiss reformers, beginning a heated and at times ugly debate on the matter, each writing many essays, pamphlets and books. This controversy brought disunity between Protestants and Protestant states who were trying to defend themselves against the doctrines and armies of the Catholic countries. In 1529 Philip of Hesse organized a conference at Marburg in hope of reaching unity between the Protestant theologians and then getting the Protestant states to fight against the Catholics and the Turks. Zwingli and Œcolampadius traveled to Strasburg where they stayed with Matthew Zell and then, accompanied by delegates from Strasburg, including Martin Bucer who supported Zwingli, they journeyed on to Marburg Castle. Zwingli’s prayer before the conference was, “Fill us, O Lord and Father of us all, we beseech Thee, with thy gentle Spirit, and dispel on both sides all the clouds of misunderstanding and passion.” The Marburg Colloquy began on Friday, October 1st, 1529. The two parties where able to agree on 14 articles of faith but though the spirit of the meetings were cordial the 15th article on the Lord’s Supper could not be resolved. Luther kept insisting that “This is my body” was literal. The Marburg Colloquy sadly failed to bring theological unity, tolerance or a military alliance. Again war broke out between the Catholic and Reformed Swiss cantons. The Catholic army, angered by a blockade placed on them by the Reformed cantons, began to march against Zürich. Accompanied by Zwingli a small band of Zürichers marched to stop them and met them in battle at Kappel. Soon after the battle began Zwingli stooped to help a dying soldier and was struck down with a stone, he rose up and then was speared through, but not killed. Before dying the Catholic soldiers tried to force Zwingli to confess to a priest but he simply shook his head no, his last words were, “They may kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.” A captain recognizing Zwingli killed him with his sword. Zwingli’s beloved step-son Gerold Meyer von Knonau had already been killed by his side. A few weeks later a peace was reached and the progress of the Reformation in Switzerland was greatly checked though those cantons that had already declared for the Reformed faith were so well grounded that they remained loyal to the truth of the Gospel and defended their independence from Catholic tyranny.   

 

Zwingli’s Sixty-Seven Theses

  1. All who say that the gospel is invalid without the confirmation of the church err and slander God.

  2. The sum and substance of the gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true son of God, has made known to us the will of his heavenly Father, and has with his sinlessness released us from death and reconciled us to God.

  3. Hence Christ is the only way to salvation for all who ever were, are and shall be.

  4. He who seeks or shows another way errs, and, indeed, he is a murderer of souls and a thief.

  5. Hence all who consider other teachings equal to or higher than the gospel err, and do not know what the gospel is.

  6. For Christ Jesus is the guide and leader, promised by God to all mankind, which promise was fulfilled.

  7. He is eternal salvation and head of all who believe; these are his body, for his own human body is dead. Nothing is of avail without him.

  8. From this follows first that all who dwell in the head are members and children of God, forming the church or communion of the saints, which is the bride of Christ, ecclesia catholica.

  9. Furthermore, as the members of the body cannot function without the control of the head, so no one in the body of Christ can do anything without its head, Christ.

  10. As that man is mad whose limbs do something without his head, tearing, wounding, injuring himself, so when the members of Christ undertake something without their head, Christ, they are stupid and injure and burden themselves with foolish laws.

  11. Hence we see in the so-called spiritual laws, concerning their splendor, riches, orders, titles, decrees, a cause of all foolishness because they do not agree with the head.

  12. Thus they behave foolishly, not because of their head-for every possible effort is made by the grace of God to bring them back to the light-but their foolish behavior is no longer to be tolerated and they must pay heed to the head alone.

  13. If anyone wants to hear, he can learn clearly and plainly the will of God, and by his Spirit be drawn to him and become a changed man through him.

  14. Therefore all Christian people shall use their best diligence that the gospel of Christ alone be preached everywhere.

  15. For in faith rests our salvation, and in unbelief our damnation; for all truth is clear in him.

  16. In the gospel one learns that human doctrines and decrees are useless for salvation.

  17. Christ is the only eternal high priest, from which it follows that those who have called themselves high priests have opposed the honor and power of Christ-have, indeed, completely rejected him.

  18. Christ, having sacrificed himself once for all, is for all eternity a perpetual and acceptable offering for the sins of all believers, from which it follows that the mass is not a sacrifice, but is a commemoration of the sacrifice and assurance of the salvation which Christ has given us.

  19. Christ is the only mediator between God and ourselves.

  20. God will give us everything in his name, whence it follows that for our part after this life we need no mediator except him.

  21. When we pray for one another on earth, we do so in such a way that we believe that all things are to be given to us through Christ alone.

  22. Christ is our justification, from which it follows that our works, if they are of Christ, are good; but if ours they are neither right nor good.

  23. Christ utterly rejects the material goods and show of this world, from which it follows that those who amass wealth in his name grossly abuse him when they make him a cloak to hide their avarice and arrogance.

  24. No Christian is bound to do those things which God has not decreed; hence one may eat at all times all food, whence one learns that the dispensations about cheese and butter are a Roman imposture.

  25. Time and place are controlled by Christian men and not men by them; hence we learn that those who make rules about time and place deprive Christians of their freedom.

  26. Nothing is more displeasing to God than hypocrisy; so we learn that all that is a show before men is gross hypocrisy and iniquity. Included in this are cowls, vestments, tonsures, etc.

  27. All Christian men are brethren of Christ and brothers to one another: and the title of Father should not be assumed by anyone on earth. This includes orders, sects and factions.

  28. All that God has allowed or not forbidden is right, hence marriage is permitted to all men.

  29. All so-called clerics sin if, after they have an inward conviction that God has denied them the gift of chastity, they do not protect themselves by marriage.

  30. Those who promise chastity take childishly or foolishly too much upon themselves, whence is learnt that those who make such vows do wrong to God-fearing people.

  31. Excommunication cannot be imposed by any single individual but only by the church, that is the congregation of those among whom the wrongdoer dwells, in conjunction with their overseer, that is, their minister.

  32. Only those who give public offense should be excommunicated.

  33. Property unrighteously acquired should not be given to churches, monasteries, monks, priests or nuns, but to the needy, if it cannot be returned to the legal owner.

  34. There is no ground in the teaching of Christ for the pretensions of the so-called spiritual authority,

  35. Whereas the jurisdiction and authority of the secular power is based on the teaching and actions of Christ.

  36. All the rights and protection that the so-called spiritual authority claims belong to secular governments provided they are Christian.

  37. To them, likewise, all Christians owe obedience without exception,

  38. Insofar as they do not order that which is contrary to God.

  39. Therefore all their laws should be in harmony with the divine will, so that they protect the oppressed, even if these do not complain.

  40. They alone have the right to exact the death penalty without bringing the wrath of God upon themselves, and then only for those who have offended against public order.

  41. If they give good advice and help to those for whom they must account to God, then these owe them material assistance.

  42. But if they are unfaithful and transgress the laws of Christ they may be deposed in accordance with God’s will.

  43. To sum up; that realm is best and most stable which is ruled in accordance with God’s will alone, and the worst and weakest is that which is ruled arbitrarily.

  44. Those who call on God in spirit and in truth should do so without great publicity.

  45. Those who act in order that they may be seen by men and secure praise during their lifetime are hypocrites. It must therefore follow that:

  46. Choral or spoken church services that are performed without true intent but only for reward are carried out either for the sake of reputation or for profit.

  47. A man should be willing to die rather than offend or disgrace a fellow Christian.

  48. He who is offended without cause through weakness or ignorance should not be allowed to remain weak or ignorant but should be strengthened so that he does not regard what is really not sinful as sin.

  49. I know of no greater scandal than that priests are not allowed to take lawful wives but may keep mistresses if they pay a fine.

  50. God alone remits sins through Jesus Christ, his son, our only Lord.

  51.  He who gives this authority to an individual takes away the honor due to God to give to one who is not God. This is real idolatry.

  52. Hence the confession which is made to the priest or other person shall not be regarded as remission of sin, but only a seeking for advice.

  53. Acts of penance imposed by human counsel (excommunication excepted) do not cancel sin but are imposed to deter others.

  54. Christ has borne all our toil and sorrows. Hence whoever attributes to works of penance that which belongs to Christ alone, errs and dishonors God.

  55. Anyone who refuses absolution to one truly penitent is no agent of God or of St. Peter but of the devil.

  56. Whoever remits any sin only for the sake of money is the companion of Simon Magus and Balaam, and the real messenger of the devil.

  57. The true Holy Scriptures know nothing of purgatory after this life.

  58. The fate of the dead is known to God alone.

  59. And the less God has let us know concerning it, the less we should endeavor to know about it.

  60. I do not reject human prayer to God to show grace to the departed; but to fix a time for this and to lie for the sake of gain is not human but demonic.

  61. The divine Scriptures know nothing of the “indelible character” conferred in recent times on the priesthood.

  62. Furthermore, they know no priests except those who proclaim the word of God.

  63. They command that honor, that is to say, material subsistence, shall be shown to priests.

  64. Those who acknowledge their errors shall not be deprived of their endowments but shall be allowed to die in peace and after that their property shall be dealt with in Christian fashion.

  65. God will deal with those who do not acknowledge their errors. Hence they should not receive corporal punishment unless they behave so violently that action is essential.

  66. All those in spiritual authority shall quickly humble themselves and serve solely the cross of Christ and not money-chests; otherwise perdition is upon them and the axe is laid to the root of the tree.

  67. If anyone wishes to discuss with me concerning interest, tithes, unbaptized children, or confirmation, I am ready to answer.

     

     

    The Second Helvetic Confession 1566

     

    The Second Helvetic (Swiss) Confession was written by Heinrich Bullinger and edited with the help of Theodore Beza. Zürich, Geneva, Bern, Basle, Schaffhausen, Biel, St. Gall, Mühlhausen and the Grisons all adopted it, bringing unity to the Swiss Reformed Church. Between 1568 and 1571 the Reformed Churches of the Palatinate, Neufchatel, France, Hungry, Poland and Scotland adopted this confession. It was also well received by churches in the Netherlands and England.

     

    Chapter 1. We believe and confess that the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the true Word of God, and have sufficient authority in and of themselves, and not from men…God may illuminate men directly by the Holy Spirit, without the external ministry; yet he has chosen the Scriptures and the preaching of the Word as the usual method of instruction.

     Chapter 3. …We therefore condemn the Jews and Mohammedans, and all who blaspheme this holy and adorable Trinity. We also condemn all heretics, who deny the Deity of Christ and the Holy Ghost.

    Chapter 4. As God is a spirit, he cannot be represented by any image. And although Christ assumed man’s nature, yet he did so not in order to afford a model for sculptors and painters. He instituted for the instruction of the people the preaching of the Gospel, and the sacraments, but not images….

    Chapter 16 …We teach that good works proceed from a living faith, through the Holy Spirit, and are done by believers according to the will and rule of the Word of God…God is well pleased and approves of works which are done by us through faith….

    Chapter 18…A minister should be lawfully called and chosen by the Church, and excel in sacred learning, pious eloquence, prudence, and unblemished character…we acknowledge that innocent simplicity may be more useful than haughty learning…The chief duties of ministers are the preaching of the gospel, the administration of the sacraments, the care of souls, and the maintenance of discipline…As the laborer is worthy of reward, the minister is entitled to the maintenance of himself and family from the congregation he serves….

    Chapter 29 …Marriage (the remedy for incontinence and continence itself) was instituted by God, who blessed it richly and inseparably joined man and woman to live together in intimate love and harmony…Marriage should be contracted in the fear of the Lord, with the consent of parents…and the end for which it was instituted. Children should be brought up in the fear of the Lord, properly supported by their parents, and be taught honest arts or trades.

     Heinrich Bullinger

1504-1575

Heinrich Bullinger was born in Bremgarten in Aargu, the fifth and youngest son of a dean and his faithful concubine. He was educated in the school of the Brethren of the Common Life in Emmerich and then at the age of fifteen he entered the University of Cologne, where he studied theology. Through Luther’s and Melanchthon’s writings he began to study the Bible for himself. From 1523 until 1529 Bullinger taught at the Cistercian Monastery of Kappel, and with the help of the abbot, Wolfgang Joner, brought about reform among the monks. During this time he met Zwingli and attended a disputation with Zwingli and the Anabaptists in Zürich. Bullinger went to another disputation in Bern as well. In 1529 his father began preaching reformed doctrine from his pulpit in Bremgarten and was removed for doing so. Bullinger accepted the call to take his father’s place. In 1529 he also married Anna Adlischweiler, a former nun who had been converted under Zwingli’s preaching, whom Bullinger met while accompanying Leo Judæ on a ministerial visit to the de-consecrated convent where Anna lived. After Zwingli’s death Bullinger moved to Zürich where, through the recommendation of Leo Judæ, the close co-worker of Zwingli, he was elected the preacher of the Grossmünster of Zürich and the successor of Zwingli. Bullinger brought his parents as well as Zwingli’s wife and children under his roof. Bullinger and Anna had eleven children and adopted and educated three boys, Rudolph Gualther (1519-1586), who later married Zwingli’s daughter, Regula and succeeded Bullinger as the leader of the church at Zürich, Heinrich Lavater, who later married one of Bullinger’s daughters and served as a co-pastor with Bullinger, and Josiah Simler. They also opened their home to many other young men who came to study under Bullinger, as well as a constant stream of visitors and refugees. Bullinger aided Leo Judæ in preparing the First Helvetic Confession. He worked to strengthen and purify Zwingli’s reform work. He avoided the trap of getting too involved in the politics of the city council that had been a snare that Zwingli was caught in. Bullinger preached six to seven times a week for the first ten years of his ministry in Zürich and then only twice a week for the remaining years. He was a loving, hospitable and generous pastor. He helped make Zürich a safe haven for religious refugees from all over Europe. He also carried on a steady correspondence with reformers and rulers throughout Europe including Calvin, Melanchthon, Bucer, Beza, Łaski, Martyr, Cranmer, Hooper, Foxe, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth I, Henry II of France, Christian III of Denmark, Philip of Hesse and Frederick Elector of the Palatinate. He was more tolerant of Anabaptists and Lutherans than Zwingli had been while still standing firm in his Reformed beliefs. He wrote over 150 books, including commentaries on the New Testament and a history of the birth of the Swiss Reformation. In 1565 Bullinger lost his wife, his daughter Anna (who was the wife of Zwingli’s son Ulrich), two other daughters, his adopted daughter Regula, and his brother-in-law all to the plague. He prepared the Second Helvetic Confession which after his death was edited, printed and widely adopted by Reformed churches.  Bullinger left the Reformed church in Zürich stronger and purer than he found it.                                                                                            

The Zürich Bible

Luther’s New Testament, which appeared in 1522, was adapted into the Schweizer-Deutsch (Swiss German) dialect by Zwingli with the help of his wife and was printed in 1524. Leo Judæ did most of the translation of the Old Testament, except for the poetic books which were translated by Zwingli. Zwingli’s wife, Anna, did most of the proof reading and editing. The full Zürich Bible was printed in 1530. It is also called the Froschauer Bible, after the printer of this translation, Christoph Froschauer (1490-1564), the first printer in Zürich and a good friend of Zwingli’s. The Zürich Bible was a more literal translation in the simple dialect of the commoner than the Luther Bible, while its style was not as powerful or beautiful. In Psalm 23 Zwingli translated “In schooner Alp weidet Er mich”, “In the beautiful Alps He tends me.”  Even after the Luther Bible became the predominate translation, the Swiss Brethren and the German speaking Mennonites continued to prefer the Zürich Bible, while the Swiss Reformed churches used it as a supplement to the Luther Bible. 

 

Leo Judæ

1482-1542

Leo Judæ was the illegitimate son of a priest in Alsace. He studied with Zwingli in Basle and in 1519 succeeded Zwingli as the priest of Einsiedeln. In 1523 Judæ began ministering at St. Peter’s in Zürich and shortly afterwards he married a former nun. Judæ helped Zwingli in many ways; he aided him in the second disputation held in Zürich, in arguing against the Anabaptists, in the debate with Luther over the Lord’s Supper, in editing and translating many of his writings, and in teaching Hebrew to his students. After Zwingli’s death Judæ was called to replace Zwingli but due to his belief that he was unfit to fulfill the administrative duties, Judæ recommended Bullinger for the position. He continued to preach and teach in Zürich. Judæ taught the importance of strict church discipline and the need for the separation of the church and the state. He also labored in writing, authoring two catechisms, the First Helvetic Confession and several instructional books and poems. He worked on translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, with the help of Michael Adam, a converted Jew, and the Bible into Swiss German as well as some of the works by Augustine and Thomas á Kempis. Though he had a poor salary and a very large family he and his industrious wife, lovingly known by the people of Zürich as Mother Leo, were very generous to the poor and hospitable to strangers.

        

Canton of Bern

Berthold Haller

1492-1536

Berthold Haller was born in Roteville, Würtemberg, and studied at Pforzheim where he became friends with Melanchthon. He came to Bern in 1513 to work as a schoolmaster. In 1520 Haller was made the preacher at Bern’s cathedral. He had a striking figure, graceful and gentle manners and good commonsense. He followed Zwingli’s example of expositional preaching and preached through the Gospels, but the people were very slow to hear and embrace the truth and Haller often became very discouraged. Haller and Zwingli, who encouraged him to not give up, maintained a steady correspondence. After the Christmas service of 1525 he discarded the mass and served the Lord’s Supper in the simple Reformed and biblical fashion. The Bishop of Lausanne ordered his removal but the city council allowed him to keep his pulpit. He was helped in reforming the city by Francis Kolb, an elderly minister, Sebastian Meyer, who had been banished from Schaffhausen and Niclaus Manuel, a poet, painter, soldier and statesman who wrote and produced dramas in favor of the Reformation. Haller took part in the disputation in Baden in 1526 and the one in Bern in 1528, after which the council established the Reformed church as the church of the canton. 

 

  

Canton of Basle

Œcolampadius/Johannes Hausshein

1482-1531

Œcolampadius was born in Weinsberg, Würtemberg, and studied law in Bologna, and philology (the study of words and their origins), scholastic philosophy and theology in Heidelberg and Tübingen. He was a genius and reveled in study, but of all his studies he loved studying the Scripture in its original Greek and Hebrew the most. Erasmus called him one of the chief Hebrew scholars in all Europe. Œcolampadius formed a friendship with Melanchthon while at Tübingen. In 1512 he preached and published a series of sermons on the sayings of Christ on the cross that laid out the Gospel in a clear and pure way. In 1515 the Bishop of Basle, Christoph von Utenheim (whose motto was “The cross of Christ is my hope; I seek mercy, not works”), called Œcolampadius to fill the cathedral of Basle’s pulpit. Basle had been prepared for reformation by Erasmus, who taught at the university there, Wolfgang Capito, who later became a leading reformer in Strasburg and Wilhelm Reublin, who helped start the Anabaptist movement in Zürich. When Œcolampadius first came to Basle he developed a friendship with Erasmus and helped him with his second edition of the Greek New Testament. In 1518 he strongly preached against the city’s custom of filling the Easter sermon with jokes to entertain the crowds. In 1520 Œcolampadius entered a monastery for two years and then for a short time served as chaplain to Franz von Sickingen in Ebernburg, where he began giving the mass in German instead of Latin. In 1522 Œcolampadius returned to Basle where he would minster for the rest of his life. After reading Luther’s writings Œcolampadius began to preach against transubstantiation and corruption in the church. Luther wrote to him encouraging him in his work and suggesting he preach on the book of Isaiah. At the end of 1522 he began a lifelong correspondence with Zwingli. Œcolampadius followed Zwingli’s example of preaching through whole books of the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse. Œcolampadius sided with Zwingli on the question of the Lord’s Supper and joined him at Marburg in 1529 in standing against Luther’s interpretation. On February 9th, 1529 a crowd of over two thousand Protestants broke down the images that remained in the city and demanded that the city council institute Reformed worship in all the churches. Now that the Reformed church was the state church of the canton Œcolampadius was placed as superintendent over all the churches in Basle. He labored on as a preacher, teacher and writer, as well as helping French Huguenot refugees and the Waldensians. He lived with his mother until her death in 1528 at which time he married Wibrandis Rosenblatt the widow of Cellarius, with whom Œcolampadius had three children, Eusebius (Godliness), Alitheia (Truth) and Irene (Peace). On November 24th, 1531 Œcolampadius took communion with his family, charged his colleagues to continue on in the truths of the Reformation and peacefully died, leaving Basle a stronghold for the Reformed Church. In 1534 the town council adopted The First Confession of Basle, which had been drafted by Œcolampadius and edited and completed by Myconius, Œcolampadius’s successor.    

 

Myconius/Oswald Geisshüssler

1488-1552

Myconius was born in Luzern and spent much of his early life as a classical teacher in Basle, Zürich, Luzern and Einsiedeln. He became good friends with Erasmus and Zwingli. After the death of Zwingli Myconius came to pastor in Basle, and after the death of Œcolampadius he took Œcolampadius’s place as the leader of the Reformed church in Basle and taught at the university. He refused to be ordained or to be given any degrees because of his interpretation of Christ’s command to not call one another Father or Rabbi. Myconius suffered opposition from Carlstadt who had become a professor at the university in 1534. He opened his home to many travelers and refugees, including William Farel, John Calvin and John Foxe, who finished his Book of Martyrs while in Basle. He joined Martin Bucer in trying, but failing, to bring unity among Lutherans, Zwinglians, Calvinists and Anglicans, causing all sides to doubt his commitment to “truth”. Myconius was the first to write a biography of Zwingli.

 

Canton of Glarus

Ægidius/ Gilg Tschudi

1505-1572

The Tschudi family was an old and powerful family in Glarus. Ægidius studied first under Zwingli, whose first public ministry was in Glarus, and then in Basle and Paris. He occupied many prominent public offices such as governor of Sargans and Landammann of Glarus. Ægidius served in the French army for a time. He served as a delegate to the Diet of Einsiedeln in 1529 and was Switzerland’s delegate to the Diet of Augsburg in 1559. Ægidius worked for reform and for peace. He stayed faithful to the Reformed faith but he was a moderate who worked for peace between the Reformed, Lutherans and Catholics. His older brother Peter was also an ardent follower of Zwingli and strongly supported the Reformation in Glarus. Ægidius’s cousin Valentine Tschudi served as a moderate pastor in Glarus; he was Reformed in belief but accommodated those that still held on to Roman tradition. The Tschudis’ influence of moderation, tolerance and religious freedom shaped the Reformation in Glarus.

     

Canton of Appenzell

The first Reformed preachers in Appenzell were encouraged by Vadian to come from St. Gall, among them were John Schurtanner, John Dorig and Walter Klarer. The Reformation was legally ratified by the vote of the people on August 26th, 1523. The Anabaptist movement grew quite rapidly in Appenzell, which upset so many people that many decided that since reform led to such radical views, they would return to the Roman church.

Canton of Biel

Thomas Wyttenbach began serving as a priest in Biel in 1507. He preached the clear and true Gospel and was very popular among the common people. He also began to preach reform in the church and in 1524 Wyttenbach boldly took a wife for which he was defrocked. In 1526 The Council of the Canton permitted the preaching of the Gospel and the establishment of Reformed churches.

 

Canton of St. Gall

Vadian/Joachim von Watt

1484-1551

Vadian was from a wealthy merchant family in St. Gall. He was handsome with a dignified bearing and in later life quite portly. Vadian studied at the University of Vienna. He studied philosophy, theology, law, poetry, medicine and the Latin classics. He furthered his education by traveling to Poland, Hungary and Italy. In 1514 Emperor Maximilian crowned him as poet and orator of the empire and he was chosen as rector of the University of Vienna. Vadian carried on correspondence with many scholars including Erasmus and Zwingli. He also developed a close friendship with the young Conrad Grebel, who was studying in Vienna. In 1518 Vadian returned to St. Gall to practice medicine, but he also took an active role in city government and was elected several times as the burgomaster. He worked to bring reform to the church in St. Gall and he did much to aid the Reformation in Zürich and Bern. Zwingli, Calvin and Beza all hailed him as one of the most learned, righteous and useful reformers in Switzerland. In 1528 St. Gall was cleansed of all images and in 1527 Reformed worship fully replaced that of Rome. Vadian married one of Conrad Grebel’s sisters. When the Anabaptist movement began to grow in St. Gall, at first Vadian had no problem with their teaching on baptism but as their zeal stirred up unrest in the city and their nonresistant and anti-government teachings called into question Christian government he began to publicly oppose them. He worked with both Kessler and Bullinger to grow, unify and strengthen the Reformed Church.

 

John Kessler/Chessellius/Ahenarius

1502-1574

 John Kessler came from a poor working family in St. Gall but was able to study theology at Basle and Wittenberg. He met briefly with Luther in 1522. Returning to St. Gall Kessler supported himself as a saddle maker and worked as a preacher and evangelist, as well as a teacher of a Latin school. While Vadian was the chief reformer in the government in St. Gall, Kessler was the leading teacher and preacher. He and his wife had eleven children. At Marburg he sided with Zwingli.

  

Canton of Schaffhausen

Œconomus/Sebastian Hofmeister

1476-1533

Sebastian Hofmeister was a Franciscan monk, doctor and professor of theology at Constance. In 1520 he wrote to Zwingli addressing him as “the firm preacher of the truth” and offering his help in bringing reform to Switzerland. Hofmeister preached Reformed doctrine in his hometown of Schaffhausen. He was a delegate to the disputation in Zürich in 1523, which brought about favor for the Reformation. He was helped in his ministry by Sebastian Meyer, who was also a former Franciscan monk and a native of Bern, and Erasmus Ritter. Conrad Grebel came to Schaffhausen and set up an Anabaptist church in 1525. The Anabaptists unsettled the city and greatly upset the city council. Hofmeister, though fully Reformed in his doctrine and no sympathizer with the Anabaptists, had preached against infant baptism and had not baptized his own children. He was blamed for the Anabaptist upheaval and thus he and Meyer were banished from the canton in 1525. Hofmeister traveled to Zürich and then taught Hebrew in Bern. He moved to Basle and lived there until his death. Sebastian Meyer traveled to Strasburg where he pastored a church. He also ministered as a preacher in Augsburg and later returned to Bern. The canton of Schaffhausen officially embraced the Reformed faith in 1529. Erasmus Ritter continued to work for reform in Schaffhausen until 1536 when he went to study under Calvin.

 

Canton of Grisons/Graubünden

Grisons was an independent republic, in which noble titles were forbidden, that was in a military alliance with the Swiss Confederacy. German, Italian, Ladin and Romansh were spoken in different parts of the republic. Due to the religious freedom in Grisons many Protestant Italian refugees came to Grisons, helping to bolster the Reformation there.   

 

Comander/Hans Dorfman

Comander was a former Roman priest who in 1524 began preaching reform in the church of St. Martin in Coire, Grisons. Zwingli sent him Bibles and commentaries. Comander’s congregation protected him from arrest because of his reformed preaching, organizing an armed guard to escort him to the church. On January 6th, 1526 he successfully defended Reformed doctrine before the Diet in Ilanz. The diet ruled that everyone in Grisons was allowed to choose between being Reformed or Catholic and that each individual congregation was to vote on which they wanted to be and they were given the power to vote in their own ministers. The Diet of Ilanz also ordered ministers to only preach that which they could defend from Scripture. Comander was helped in his ministerial and reform work by two younger men, Blasius and Philip Gallicius. He defended the Reformed church against Catholics and Anabaptists and at times was so tired by the attacks from both groups that he almost quit, but through the encouragement of Bullinger he continued his work.  Comander taught himself Hebrew in his later years through which he mostly lost his eyesight. When Comander died in 1557 he was head of the Reformed synod in Grisons.

        

Philip Gallicius/Saluz

1504-1566

Philip Gallicius began preaching in 1520, with power and an irresistible eloquence. He preached in the ancient romantic language of Romansh to large crowds. Along with John Travers, a knight and statesman, he helped introduce the Reformation in Zuz. Gallicius worked as an evangelist throughout Grisons, most notably in Domeleschg, Langwies and Coire. He did much to help those escaping religious persecution in Italy. Gallicius translated the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments and several selected chapters from the Bible into Romansh. He wrote the Reformed Rætia Confession of Faith in 1552 and a catechism. He also worked alongside Comander in his reform ministry. Gallicius along with his wife and three of his sons died of the plague in 1566.

 

Ulrich Campel

1510-1582

 Ulrich Campel served as a pastor in Coire and Süs. He wrote a Romansh Psalter, hymns and a catechism. With some help from Philip Gallicius he produced a Romansh New Testament, which was first printed in 1560. Grisons became about two-thirds Reformed through the faithful work of men like Campel.

 

  

Swiss Anabaptists

 

Conrad Grebel

1498-1526

Conrad Grebel was the son of Jacob Grebel, who was a nobleman, leading government official in the Gruningen and later a member of the Council of Zürich. Grebel was the oldest of nine children, as a boy he attended school in Zürich. Beginning at age 16 he studied abroad at the University of Basle, the University of Vienna and in Paris. While studying abroad he developed a lifelong friendship with Vadian who would later help to bring reform to St. Gall and marry Grebel’s sister. During his student days abroad Grebel lived a very immoral and riotous life, through which he contracted syphilis from which he suffered for the remainder of his life. In 1520 Grebel returned to Zürich penniless with his health broken, a confused and directionless young man. In 1521 he joined a group led by Zwingli who taught young men Greek, Hebrew and Latin classics as an avenue to lead them into Bible study.  On February 6th, 1522, though financially broke, Grebel married against his parents’ wishes to a lower class girl, Barbara. Shortly after his marriage Grebel put his trust in the work of Christ, renounced worldly living and became a lover of the Scripture. Conrad Grebel, Felix Mantz and their friends were known as Zwingli’s “most faithful and resolute friends.” Zwingli continued to serve mass even though he believed and taught that it was wrong. Conrad Grebel and his friend Simon Stumpf argued for the immediate abolishment of the mass. In 1523 Zwingli along with Grebel and Stumpf debated the Romanists. During the debate they began arguing with one another, Zwingli stating that the council had the authority to abolish the mass and that the church should submit to their decision while Grebel and Stumpf argued that since the mass was sin the church should obey God’s Word instead of the council. In 1522 Zwingli had taught, “One must not ask the government in such matters, for civil authorities are not ordained to rule over the Word of God and Christian liberty, but only over things that are of secular matters.” But by 1523 he had backed away from this view and from that point on taught that the council should be the one that decided matters of practice in the church. Zwingli had earlier taught against infant baptism but from this point on he stood in defense of it. He taught that both the mass and images must remain even though wrong until the council ruled against them. Grebel and his friends were outraged that Zwingli and others were not standing up for what they believed and taking a pragmatic approach to reform. Over and over again Grebel pled with Zwingli to start an evangelical church free from state control. There began to be Bible studies formed throughout northern Switzerland of those who did not believe reform was being moved along fast enough, they called their groups “schools”, and their leaders “readers” and  each other “brothers”, thus they were called “Swiss Brethren”. Though most of these groups started while Grebel was still in fellowship with Zwingli, Grebel became one of the leading “readers”. Those in the “school” in Zürich stopped bringing infants to be baptized in 1523. In August, 1524 the council started fining those who did not baptize their infants within a few days of birth. On Tuesday, January 17th, 1525 Grebel, Mantz and Reublin debated Zwingli publicly by order of the council on the matter of infant baptism. Grebel argued that since infants could not believe, they should not be baptized. On Friday, January 20th, 1525 Grebel’s group gathered in the home of Felix Mantz. After a time of prayer George Blaurock earnestly asked Conrad Grebel to baptize him upon his profession of faith and knowledge. After Grebel baptized him Blaurock baptized the rest of the group. A few days later 24 members of the group were arrested by the council and sentenced to life in prison, but after fourteen days they were helped to escape. Grebel began traveling to preach, baptize and administer the Lord’s Supper. He helped raise up many future Swiss Brethren leaders. In Schaffhausen he baptized Wolfgang Ulimann in the Rhine River and in St. Gall he baptized Gabriel Giger. In the spring of 1525 Grebel traveled to St. Gall where he preached to a guild hall of weavers and baptized a large number of converts. In April of 1525 Grebel baptized a group of several hundred converts in the Sitter River. He also preached in the cantons of Appenzell and Graubunden. In the summer of 1526 Grebel, his health broken from being in and out of prison during the last year and the continued progression of syphilis, went to visit his sister for rest, where he contracted the plague and died. This left the Brethren movement without a clear leader.

 

Simon Stumpf  

Simon Stumpf was a priest in a village outside of Zürich. He was an early follower of Zwingli and a friend of Grebel. Stumpf soon joined Grebel and Mantz’s group desiring to speed up reform. He took part in several disputations first with and then against Zwingli.  When the council ruled that the priests must continue to say mass Stumpf refused, resigned from the priesthood and began to preach independent of the church authorities. Stumpf was banished even though the parishioners of his village petitioned the council to let him stay.

 

 

Felix Mantz

1498-1527

Felix Mantz was the illegitimate son of a church leader in Grossmünster. He was educated in Zürich and Vienna and was a student of Latin and Greek. Mantz also greatly excelled in Hebrew. He moved to Zürich in 1519 to be part of Zwingli’s movement for reform and he worked as a leader in groups formed for studying the Bible. Mantz was an eloquent preacher, strikingly handsome, studious and popular among the people of Zürich. He joined Grebel and Stumpf in arguing that reform should be pushed forward faster than Zwingli was carrying it out. Felix Mantz’s home on Neustadt Street became the meeting place for the Bible study group led by Conrad Grebel and the location of the first Anabaptist baptism in Zürich. After an initial arrest by the authorities in Zürich and escaping prison Mantz traveled and preached alongside George Blaurock in Zürich, Zollikon, Chur and Appenzell. He was again arrested, condemned by the Zürich Council and martyred on January 5th, 1527. He was bound hand and foot and thrown into Lake Limmat to drown. His mother and brothers who were also Anabaptists stood on the shore praying for Mantz and calling words of encouragement to him. Felix Mantz was the first Anabaptist martyr to be put to death for his faith under Reformed rule.      

 

Blaurock/George Cajakob/Jorg vom Haus Jacob

1491-1529

George Blaurock was born and raised in the canton of Grisons. He became a monk in St. Lucius’ monastery. As reform began to spread he received the truth and left the monastery and took a wife. He was a tall strapping man with black hair and fiery eyes and was often called “Strong George”. In 1524 Blaurock came to Zürich so he could be near Zwingli and his movement. He spoke much with Zwingli and was filled with zeal for the Reformation. He did question some of Zwingli’s ideas about using the council as a means of bringing about reformation. He became known as Blaurock or blue coat because he wore a blue coat during a debate against Zwingli. Blaurock was the first person to be re-baptized in Zürich. He often disrupted Reformed church services to preach and in Zollikon he forced the minister out of the pulpit and began preaching. Mantz joined him on preaching tours throughout Zürich, Zollikon, Chur and Appenzell. The day that Mantz was drowned Blaurock was severely beaten and then left the city. He traveled to Bern where after a short time of preaching he was banished, this was repeated in Biel, Grisons and Appenzell. Blaurock then traveled to Roman Catholic controlled Tyrol, Austria where he baptized many converts. Blaurock was burned at the stake on September 6th, 1529 in Klausen, Austria.        

 

Wilhelm Reublin

1484-c.1554

Wilhelm Reublin served as a priest in Basle at St. Alban’s. He began to preach against the unscriptural practices of the Roman Church. He drew large crowds to hear his sermons. Each year in Basle there was a procession through town led by a priest carrying a box with the bones of several saints in it. In 1522 Reublin led the procession through town but instead of a box of bones he carried an open Bible and he cried out, “This is the true sacred thing, the other is only dead men’s bones.” Reublin was banished from the city a few days later and went to Zürich. He was made a priest in a small village outside of Zürich. Reublin stopped baptizing infants and in 1523 he was the first Swiss priest to take a wife as part of the Reformation. Hans Brotli did the same, both were friends with Grebel and part of his circle, and both men taught against paying state tithes. After the debate on January 17th, 1525 Reublin and Brotli, as non-citizens, were exiled from Zürich. They later worked along the northern Swiss and southern German borders with each other.

 

Ulimann/Wolfgang Schorant

Ulimann was from a prominent St. Gall family and entered the monastery of St. Lucius, the same monastery that Blaurock was a member of. In 1525 while in Schaffhausen Ulimann met Conrad Grebel and was baptized by him in the Rhine River in the dead of winter. When Ulimann returned to St. Gall he began ministering to the Anabaptist church begun by Conrad Grebel and organized by Eberli Bolt, who had died as the first Anabaptist martyr. He preached to large crowds just outside the city gate. The town council asked him to be patient on moving forward to reform baptism and the Lord’s Supper and to “stand still” on the matter. After refusing to comply with the council’s request Ulimann was banished but he soon returned and was banished again. This was repeated many times until finally the council imprisoned him for a time. After being released Ulimann traveled to preach in Grisons and Chur from where he was also banished. He then led a group of Anabaptists from St. Gall and Appenzell to Moravia, where there was more religious freedom. While journeying to Moravia he was captured and executed by the sword in 1530.

 

Swiss Brethren in Bern

By 1525 the Anabaptist movement had spread to Bern. The Council of Bern allowed several public debates to be held on the subject of baptism, but in 1527 they made it illegal to be an Anabaptist. Persecution intensified after 1535, many of the Swiss Brethren being executed, made galley slaves and banished. The Emmental valley became the center of the rapidly growing Bernese Brethren. Most of the Mennonites and Amish who came to Pennsylvania trace their ancestry to the Bernese Anabaptists.

 

Michael Sattler

1495-1527

Michael Sattler was born in Stauffen, in Breisgau, near Freiburg. As a young man he entered the Benedictine cloister of St. Peter in Baden in the Black Forest where he soon became the prior. He studied theology at Freiburg University. It was through studying the Bible and the early church fathers that Sattler came to the truth. In 1523 he left the cloister and married a nun who had left her convent. In 1525 Michael Sattler went to Zürich to join the reformed movement and very soon joined the Brethren and became an active evangelist. He was banished from Zürich in November of 1525. Sattler went and preached in Württemberg where Wilhelm Reublin had labored after leaving Zürich. He also went to Strasburg where he met with reformers Wolfgang Capito and Martin Bucer. They tried to convince him to join the state church and be patient for reform, for it would come in good time. Sattler then worked on establishing churches in Horb and Rottenburg on the Neckar River. On February 24th, 1527 Sattler presided over the conference of the Swiss Brethren, held at Schleitheim in the canton of Schaffhausen, to deal with the errors that were coming into their churches and to seek to unify. They drew up the first Anabaptist confession of faith, which became known as the Schleitheim Confession. It contained 7 statements of faith.

 

  1. Baptism administered to believers alone.

  2. Use of strict church discipline.

  3. Those who take part in the Lord’s Supper should have been baptized based on a profession of faith.

  4. Rejection of the use of the sword.

  5. Ministers should be chosen based on Biblical qualifications laid out by Paul, and should be supported by the local congregation.

  6. That Christians should not hold public office.

  7. Rejection of swearing oaths.

    Sattler wrote several theological pamphlets on matters like the atonement, divorce, ministers and false prophets. On May 21st, 1527 Michael Sattler was cruelly martyred in Rottenburg, Austria by the Roman Catholic authorities. Martin Bucer wrote: “We do not doubt that Michael Sattler, who was burned at Rottenburg, was a dear friend of God, although he was a leader of the Anabaptists, but much more skilled and honorable than some.” A few days later his wife was drowned in the Neckar River for her faith. A contemporary Lutheran minister, Gustav Bossett, wrote: “Sattler’s character lies clearly before us. He was not a highly educated divine and not an intellectual; but his entire life was noble and pure, true and unadulterated.”

     

    Balthazar Hubmaier 1480-1528

    Balthazar Hubmaier was born in Freiberg, in southern Germany. He received his doctor’s degree in 1512 from the University of Ingolstadt under John Eck, and by 1515 he was chosen to be the university’s vice-rector. In 1516 Hubmaier became the parish priest of the Catholic church in Regensburg. In 1522 he began to read Zwingli’s writings. He also met with Erasmus and Heinrich Glarean, the teacher of Conrad Grebel, in Basle, seeking their views on reform. In 1523, Hubmaier met with Zwingli. He became convinced the Scripture must be the rule for all of life. “In all disputes concerning faith and religion, the Scriptures alone, proceeding from the mouth of God, ought to be our level and rule.” He took part in a disputation in Zürich concerning the mass and images. In his church he began to have services in German instead of Latin, removed all images and took a wife. Hubmaier instituted baby consecrations for those parents that were too weak to give infant baptism up altogether. In 1525 he joined in a debate against Zwingli defending believers’ baptism. He printed a pamphlet against infant baptism. On Easter Sunday, 1525 Wilhelm Reublin baptized Hubmaier along with 60 others in Waldshut. Within a few days of his baptism, Hubmaier baptized over 300 of his parishioners. He resigned as a minster of the state church and helped form a new congregation who elected him as their minister. When Zwingli’s Book on Baptism defending infant baptism appeared in June, 1525, Hubmaier wrote and asked the Council of Zürich to let him come discuss the book with Zwingli. He closed his letter with this humble appeal: “We are all fallible men. If one err today, the other may stumble tomorrow. Gracious, dear lords, I ask and entreat and beg you again for God’s sake to permit me to meet Master Ulrich. If we may have a personal discussion, I hope to God that we shall soon come to an agreement in this matter [baptism], for I am ready to submit fully to the clear and plain Word of God, giving God the honor, and I believe my dear Brother Ulrich Zwingli is of the same mind.” But he was not allowed to speak with Zwingli so he wrote a book refuting infant baptism entitled The Christian Baptism of Believers. “…the external baptism of Christ is nothing other than an open witness of the inward commitment with which man publicly testifies before everyone that he is a sinner and that he regards himself guilty. But he also believes fully that Christ has forgiven him his sin through his death and that through his resurrection he has made him just before the face of God.”  In his book he laid out the order of conversion as (1) Preaching (2) Hearing (3) Faith (4) Baptism (5) Works. Prince Ferdinand of Waldshut was not pleased with Hubmaier’s embracing and preaching of believers’ baptism, so Hubmaier fled to Zürich to escape martyrdom. In Zürich he was arrested. While in prison he asked if he could debate Zwingli on the issue of his arrest, baptism. The request was granted. Zwingli so bewildered Hubmaier with his arguments, that he recanted and was released. But the next day in church he said, “I can and I will not recant”, and was returned to prison. In prison he was so cruelly tortured that he recanted again and was released. He then fled to Moravia, where he converted and baptized over 10,000, including Sir Leonhard von Liechtenstein. Hubmaier wrote strongly against the Swiss Brethren’s view of nonresistance, not swearing oaths and not holding public office. His preaching converted many to Anabaptistism in Moravia and Austria. He was arrested, tortured on the rack and tried for heresy. On March 10th, 1528 Hubmaier was burned at the stake. Three days later his wife, Elizabeth, was executed by drowning.

     

    Bernese Anabaptists Church Order

      First. The brethren and sisters should come together at least three or four times a week, and exercise themselves in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and earnestly warn one another to remain steadfast to the Lord as they have covenanted.

    Second. When the brethren and sisters are together, they should select something to read; he to whom God has given the best understanding should expound it, but the others keep silent and hear, so that no more than one should speak at once and hinder the others. The Psalter should be read daily by them.

    Third. No one should be frivolous in the congregation of God, neither in word nor in work; and a good manner of life should be observed by them all, also before the heathen.

    Fourth. If a brother sees his brother going astray, he should, in accordance with the command of Christ, warn and chastise him in a Christian and fraternal way, as every one is obligated by love to do.

    Fifth. No brethren and sisters of this congregation should hold any property as their own, but hold all things in common as the Christians at the time of the Apostles; and in particular they should lay by a common store from which the poor can be helped as each one has need, and, as at the time of the apostles, no brother be allowed to suffer want.

    Sixth. All expenses should be avoided by the brethren when they are assembled in the congregation — soup, vegetables and meat be given in the most limited quantities, since the kingdom of heaven is not eating and drinking.

    Seventh. The Lord’s supper should be celebrated as often as the brethren come together, thereby to proclaim the death of the Lord and warn every one to remember how Christ has given his body for us and poured out his blood for us, that we also might be willing to give our body and life for Christ’s sake, that is for the brethren.