May 20, 1527
The Reformation had just begun in Switzerland (1525). The Roman Catholic Church was losing power and sway over the people. Ulrich Zwingli was deciding how far reform should take the Swiss. His zealous proselytes began to push reform in accord with the Bible alone.
Despised by Luther, Zwingli, and the Roman Catholic Church the Anabaptists provided the framework for present-day Baptists in America. They affirmed baptism for believer’s only, church autonomy (not dictated by the state), priesthood of all believers, and were pacifists. The influence of the Anabaptists is most clearly connected with the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. The Anabaptists were tortured and killed because of their unswerving commitment to the Scriptures. Michael Sattler is a prime example of their commitment and Christ-like attitude.
The torture, a prelude to the execution, began at the marketplace, where a piece was cut from Sattler’s tongue. Pieces of flesh were torn from his body twice with red-hot tongs. He was then forged to a cart. On the way to the scene of the execeution the tongs were applied five times again. In the marketplace and at the site of the execution, still able to speak, the unshakable Sattler prayed for his persecutors. After being bound to a ladder with ropes and pushed into the fire, he admonished the people, the judges, and the mayor to repent and be converted. Then he prayed, “Almighty, eternal God, Thou art the way and the truth: because I have not been shown to be in error, I will with thy help to this day testify to the truth and seal it with my blood.
[The Anabaptist Story by William Estep]
The Schleitheim Confession
The Dordrecht Confession of Faith
The Martyr’s Mirror
Dream Seeker Magazine
Position on War & Peace
Global Anabaptist Mennonite Enyclopedia Online [GAMEO]
“The Anabaptist Story” (essay)