Monday, April 23, 2007
1. WHERE DID BAPTISTS COME FROM?
Felix Mantz was a native of Zurich, and had received a liberal education. Having adopted the principles of the Protestant Reformation, he became a close friend of Zwingli and other Swiss Reformers. But in 1522, he began to doubt the scriptural authority of infant-baptism, and as a result was thrown into prison.
After his release he preached in open places, and crowds flocked to hear him. He baptized those who professed faith in Christ. For this the Zurich magistrates denounced him as a rebel, and about the close of 1526 he was arrested and imprisoned in the tower of Wellenberg.
On the 5th of January, 1527, he was drowned. "As he came down from the Wellenberg to the fish market," writes Heinrich Bullinger, Zwingli's successor, “and was led through the shambles to the boat, he praised God that he was about to die for His truth. For Anabaptism was right, and founded on the Word of God, and Christ had foretold that His followers would suffer for the truth’s sake. And the like discourse he urged much, contradicting the preacher who attended him. On the way his mother and brother came to him, and exhorted him to be stedfast; and he persevered in his folly, even to the end. When he was bound upon the hurdle, and was about to be thrown into the stream by the executioner, he sang with a loud voice: ‘In manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.’ (‘Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.’) And herewith was he drawn into the water by the executioner, and drowned.”
Now, why would Felix Mantz be willing to become a martyr over a question like baptism?
Well, we're about to find out, and I think you'll discover it's a very interesting story.