Fun Facts from Church History: Zwingli’s Description of the Catabaptists

drowning_anabaptistsThey are mostly a class of rabble, homeless from the want of means, who make it their business to win old women by pompous discourses upon divine things to extract from them the wherewithal to support themselves, or to gather in considerable alms. In general, they make pretense of the same holiness of which Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons writes in connection with the Valentinians and Nazianzenus [Gregory of Nazianzus] in connection with the Eunomians.

Then, in reliance upon this, they teach that a Christian cannot be a magistrate; that it is not lawful for a Christian to put even a guilty man to death even by process of law; that we must not go to war even if tyrants or godless persons and robbers resort to force and plunder, slay, and destroy every day; that an oath must not be taken; that a Christian should not exact duties or taxes; that all things should be held in common; that the souls sleep with the bodies; that a man can have several wives “in the spirit” (having, however, carnal intercourse with them); that tithes and revenues should not be paid, and hundreds of other things.

Nay, they daily scatter new errors like tares amid the righteous seed of God.*

Small wonder Zwingli and the rest of the Reformers and the civic authorities had little time for such anarchists.
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*The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli, Volume 2. (W. J. Hinke, Ed.) (pp. 272–273).