January 17

As far as recorded history is concerned, we first hear of George Blaurock in a debate about infant “baptism.” It occurred in Switzerland on this day (January 17), 1525.

Brother Blaurock had been a Roman Catholic monk, but through Bible study, the Holy Spirit had brought him to understand the truth about faith in Christ. Among other things, he considered infant baptism to be an attack on the liberty of the soul. As another Anabaptist of the day put it, “By infant baptism men coerce others to enter the Kingdom of God; and yet there should be no coercion there.” Hans Denck wrote: “Let everyone know that in matters of faith, things ought to be on a voluntary basis, without coercion.”

His public repudiation of infant baptism led to the imprisonment of Blaurock and several others, including Conrad Gerebel and Felix Manz. Eventually Brother Blaurock was burned at the stake in Claussen, The charges were that “he had forsaken his office as priest, which he had formerly exercised in the popery; that he disregarded infant baptism and taught people a new baptism; that he rejected the Mass; that he likewise rejected the confession of the priests … and that the mother of Christ is not to be invoked or worshiped.”

Pastor Blaurock possessed the gift of poetry. One of his hymns says:

“As He himself our sufferings bore

When hanging on the accursed tree

So there is suffering still in store

O pious heart, for you and me.”