Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
This radical group of protestants is thought to originate in 16th century Switzerland, and was prosecuted all through the 17th century as well. Much of the historic Roman Catholic and Protestant literature has represented the Anabaptists as groups who preached false doctrine and led people into apostasy. That negative historiography remained popular for about four centuries. The Roman Catholics and other Protestants alike persecuted the Anabaptists, resorted to torture and other types of physical abuse, in attempts to curb the growth of the movement. The Tudor regime, even those that were Protestant (Edward VI of England and Elizabeth I of England) persecuted Anabaptists as they were deemed too radical and therefore a danger to religious stability.
Anabaptists were among those that fled to the New World to escape persecution.
- The name Anabaptist is derived from the Latin term anabaptista, or "one who baptizes over again." This name was given them in reference to the practice of re-baptizing converts who already had been baptized as infants.
- They condemned oaths, and also the reference of disputes between believers to law-courts in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6:1–11.
- The believer must not bear arms or offer forcible resistance to wrongdoers, nor wield the sword. No Christian has the jus gladii (the right of the sword).
- Civil government (i.e., "Caesar") belongs to the world. The believer, who belongs to God's kingdom, must not fill any office, nor hold any rank under government, which is to be passively obeyed. Here originates the separation of church and state.
- Sinners or unfaithful ones are to be excommunicated, and excluded from the sacraments and from intercourse with believers unless they repent, according to 1 Corinthians 5:9–13 and Matthew 18:15 seq. But no force is to be used towards them.
- Anabaptists required that baptismal candidates be able to make their own confessions of faith and so rejected baptism to infants.