Archive for the ‘Felix Manz’ Tag

Feast of Menno Simons (January 31)   Leave a comment

menno-simons

Above:  Menno Simons

Image in the Public Domain

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MENNO SIMONS (1496-JANUARY 31, 1561)

Mennonite Leader

Konrad Grebel (circa 1498-1526), an erstwhile disciple of Ulrich Zwingli, founded the Swiss Brethren and the Anabaptist movement on January 21, 1525.  Swiss authorities persecuted and all but eradicated the Swiss Brethren; Zwingli was among the persecutors.  Felix Manz became the first Anabaptist martyr on January 5, 1527, when his punishment for rebaptizing people was drowning.  The Anabaptist movement spread into The Netherlands.  The movement also fragmented into four major sects and lacked coherent theological and ethical standards.  It was coming apart at the seams.

Menno Simons provided the standards and stability the Anabaptist movement needed to survive and thrive.  He had been a Dutch Roman Catholic priest in the village of Pingium, starting in 1524.  He began to experience major theological doubts, though.  Was Transubstantiation true?  And was infant baptism valid?  So the priest studied the Bible and the writings of Martin Luther for answers.  (Luther defended the validity of infant baptism.  If it were invalid, he argued, there had not been any Christians in Europe for about 1000 years.  I find that argument convincing.)  Simons became an Anabaptist in January 1536 and a preacher the following year.  His writings became foundational for the Anabaptist movement.  He was so vital to the movement that many Anabaptists adopted the label “Mennonite.”

Simons, an active missioner, moved around much, starting in 1541.  He died at Wustenfield, Holstein, on January 31, 1561.  He was 64 or 65 years old.

I disagree with our saint on many theological points.  I am, in fact, an Episcopalian with strong Lutheran and Roman Catholic tendencies.  Both Transubstantiation and infant baptism make sense to me.  Furthermore, I recognize no need to rebaptize anyone baptized in the Trinitarian formula.  None of these facts prevents me from honoring Menno Simons, however.  He was, I conclude, a servant of God who had a vital witness to Jesus Christ in the world.  That witness continues via the Anabaptist movement, which he stabilized.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HILEY BATHHURST, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF PETRUS NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER; AND GEORG NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Menno Simons,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2016), page 60

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Feast of Felix Manz (January 4)   2 comments

Above:  Anabaptist Martyrs Memorial Plate, Zurich, Switzerland

Image Source = Roland zh

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FELIX MANZ (1498-JANUARY 5, 1527)

First Anabaptist Martyr

Christianity is divided into denominations which differ with each other on matters great and small.  Such disagreements might cause one justifiably to choose one denomination over others, but we need to remember that we need not kill each other over these matters.  Besides, we profess to follow the same Lord and Savior:  Jesus of Nazareth.  But do we act like him?

Consider the case of Felix Manz, a man with whom I disagree on the subject of baptism yet whose life and witness I admire and whose execution I deplore.    Manz, the son of a Roman Catholic priest, developed tendencies for his day.  At a time when church and state were frequently united, he favored the separation of the two.  The union of church and state led to the persecution of dissenters, such as Manz.  Based on his reading of the Bible, he opposed Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and infant baptism.  He wrote and spoke of all these matters publicly.  Manz’s theological views led him to help found the Anabaptist movement at Zurich, Switzerland, in 1525.

The city council of Zurich had considerable power over the Reformed Church in that city, thus dissenters, such as Anabaptists, or rebaptizers, were allegedly threats to public order, for they raised questions certain authority figures preferred not to hear.  One, faced with a question–perhaps even a heresy–might formulate a well-reasoned theological answer and enter into a civil debate.  Or one might do what the government of Zurich did.

The government of Zurich imprisoned Manz (for life, they said) in 1526.  Later that year, it decreed that the penalty for adult rebaptism would be drowning.  Thus, on January 5, 1527, an agent of the government of Zurich pushed a bound Felix Manz into the river, where he drowned.  Other Anabaptists met the same fate.

It was murder.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 16, 2010

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.  Inspire us with the memory of Felix Manz, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Proper for Martyrs from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006, hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

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Revised on November 12, 2016

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Posted May 16, 2010 by neatnik2009 in January 4, Saints of 1520-1539

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