That’s one of a number of things that the crowd that assembled outside Zwingli’s house on the 15th of June, 1525 said of him. They bombarded his house with eggs and stones and the government had to step in to squelch the escalating violence.
Who were these ‘peace loving’ Christians? The adherents of the Anabaptist sect of course. As they marched to his house from the Zurich suburb of Zollikon they shouted ‘Woe, woe, woe to Zurich, and as Jonah said, in 40 days the city will be destroyed’. ‘The dragon must be slain’ (the tale of which is nicely related by Oskar Farner in his stunningly thorough biography of Zwingli).
Of these radicals Schaff notes
The Radical movement began in Zurich in 1523, and lasted till 1532. The leaders were Conrad Grebel, from one of the first families of Zurich, a layman, educated in the universities of Vienna and Paris, whom Zwingli calls the corypheus of the Anabaptists; Felix Manz, the illegitimate son of a canon of the Great Minster, a good Hebrew scholar; Georg Blaurock, a monk of Coire, called on account of his eloquence “the mighty Jörg,” or “the second Paul;” and Ludwig Hätzer of Thurgau, chaplain at Wädenschwyl, who, with Hans Denck, prepared the first Protestant translation of the Hebrew Prophets, and acted as secretary of the second Zurich disputation, and edited its proceedings. With them were associated a number of ex-priests and ex-monks, as William Reubli, minister at Wyticon, Johann Brödli (Paniculus) at Zollicon, and Simon Stumpf at Höng. They took an active part in the early stages of the Reformation, prematurely broke the fasts, and stood in the front rank of the image-stormers. They went ahead of public opinion and the orderly method of Zwingli. They opposed the tithe, usury, military service, and the oath. They denied the right of the civil magistracy to interfere in matters of religion. They met as “brethren” for prayer and Scripture-reading in the house of “Mother Manz,” and in the neighborhood of Zurich, especially at Zollicon.
He then observes, very correctly,
Zwingli could not follow the Anabaptists without bringing the Reformation into discredit with the lovers of order, and rousing the opposition of the government and the great mass of the people. He opposed them, as Augustin opposed the schismatical Donatists. He urged moderation and patience. The Apostles, he said, separated only from the open enemies of the gospel, and from the works of darkness, but bore with the weak brethren. Separation would not cure the evils of the Church. There are many honest people who, though weak and sick, belong to the sheepfold of Christ, and would be offended at a separation. He appealed to the word of Christ, “He that is not against me, is for me,” and to the parable of the tares and the wheat. If all the tares were to be rooted up now, there would be nothing left for the angels to do on the day of final separation.
It is my own view that had the Anabaptists been reasonable, rational, theologically educated, and more concerned with real reform than a mere break with Rome, they could have contributed positively to the developments of the 16th century Reformation. Instead, their paths led to the disaster of Münster and the lunacy of the Peasants War.