In his ‘Life of Zwingli’ Myconius writes
Meantime, good God, what a pestilence had crept in!—the heresy of the Catabaptists, prohibiting the baptism of infants, and rebaptising themselves, then rushing with wild spirit into all the heresies that ever were. At first when he [Zwingli] became aware of the thing, because the leaders were both friends and scholars, both citizens and parishioners, he tried in a familiar way to dissuade them, but when, promising in his presence, they began on leaving to deny, to lie, to gather disciples, to disrupt the Church, to set up a new one, he was forced to go against Satan with all his strength, and make open war upon him.
Believe me, Agathius, I was present at nine friendly conferences and earnest disputations. If it were my task to treat of the matter at considerable length I should certainly have something to say. They foamed at the mouth with palpable blasphemies and abuse, and in a word whatever revelation of evils John makes they piled upon Zwingli. This plague, the more the efforts to repress it, the more fiery it became.
Therefore the Senate was at length compelled to assail it with imprisonment, exile, and death, not as Catabaptists but as perjurers, disobedient and seditious persons, unless it (the Senate) wished to give the impression of advocating the false rather than the true, sedition rather than peace, the bad rather than the good. Yet it was not possible in this way to avoid the necessity of forewarning the good by published books so that they might not be led away by deceits.
Doctor Balthasar Hübmaier was the head of the Catabaptists, not long before a friend and companion in the gospel, but a little while after a most violent foe. He first broke out in writings and then after he had escaped from Waldshut, a town on the Rhine, and had secretly entered into Zurich, being apprehended, he resisted by word of mouth in the court-house in the presence of the deputies only. Then he requested the Senate that he be permitted to confer with Leo Jud, Sebastian Hofmeister, and me. His wishes were complied with a second time. We laboured with this man so that he promised to recant the next day.
Therefore in this mind coming the day after into the church from the court-house, he ascended the pulpit after Zwingli was come down and confirmed all he had taught before, moved thereto he pretended because he (Zwingli) had put so much stress upon constancy, the miserable man judging that his pertinacity was constancy! Returned to prison he was altogether hidden until by the kindness of Zwingli he was secretly sent away, not without a guide and travelling money, and came to Constance, where he so loaded the man [Zwingli] with abuse that he was forced to apologise to the brethren. But enough of the Catabaptists.
Certain ignorant persons today have suggested, without any historical evidence, that Zwingli was behind the torture of Hubmaier- but only complete ignorance would lead anyone to that conclusion. Zwingli, rather than calling for his execution or torture, saw to his escape!
It’s a shame that ignorance parades itself as knowledge- even by people who write books about Church history. They should rather check their facts and abstain from the dilettantism that besmirches good research. Otherwise they just come to be known as tragically uninformed.
Mr. Olson should read Zwingli instead of about Zwingli. Perhaps then he might learn something.
- Who Were the Earliest Anabaptists? (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Zwingli on the Anabaptists (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)