Moravians and Anabaptists

The Early Emigrants    •   The Anabaptists    •   The Moravians

The Anabaptists

Along with other Anabaptists, the Freys were driven out of Switzerland by persecution and found themselves in Alsace, a province that seemed to be a little more tolerant to their unorthodox beliefs.
But that soon changed. After France assumed control of the Montbeliard area in the late 1770s, life again became very difficult for the predecessors of the Amish and the Mennonites.

So, who are the the Anabaptists? They often describe their origins as a “third way” that developed during the reformation (the protestant break from the Roman Catholic Church) from about 1517 to 1535 A.D. The main protestant leader was Martin Luther in Germany, followed a few years later by Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland. Under Zwingli’s leadership in the Reformed Church were a number of Bible scholars who urged him to go farther in his reforming of Roman Catholicism and create a Free church.

One of these was a young Bible scholar by the name of Conrad Grebel. He, with a number of others, tried desperately to persuade Zwingli to establish a church separated totally from government authorities. But eventually both Luther and Zwingli allowed and even invited official government involvement in the church.

The name Anabaptists did not mean “against baptism” but they would not practice infant baptism. They believed strongly in being baptized on confession of faith and accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. They also believed in living as Jesus did, a peaceable and non-violent life whether in time of war or peace. Jesus Christ was not a martyr. He gave his life. Therefore, Anabaptists cannot take military training to either prepare or go to war. Anabaptists believe that Jesus’ kingdom is now, and always will be a peaceable kingdom.

Following the leadership of Luther in Germany and Zwingli in Switzerland, a Catholic priest in Holland by the name of Menno Simons renounced his priesthood and took up the Anabaptist view and became a leader in the Anabaptist way of faith and life. Menno soon became a hunted man with a price on his head. He was not loved by Rome, or Luther, and certainly not by Zwingli, but he died a natural death.

Most Anabaptists are found among Mennonites, Amish, Dunkards, Church of the Brethren, Quaker and Friends.

Actually there were Reformers working at reformation before Luther and much seed had been sown. There was Peter Waldo in the mid 12th Century; followed by John Wyclif, in the 14th Century. Among these was the martyr Jon Hus in Bohemia. Some of his followers later formed the Moravian Church.

The Early Emigrants    •   The Anabaptists    •   The Moravians

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