January 5

On this day (January 5) in 1527 two well-known Anabaptists paid the price for their faith in Christ and their love for the Word of God. George Balurock was stripped to the waist and beaten nearly to death, and Felix Manz was drowned in Lake Zurich.
Many historians look at a few notable Anabaptists and conclude they were all a bunch of lunatics and heretics. Almost no one but Baptist scholars and a few related to the Mennonites, ever spend time researching the true history of these people.
But Franklin Littell, a Protestant historian, fifty years ago, wrote, “Information on the [Anabaptists] groups as been notoriously scarce and has rested in the main upon hostile polemics (vicious attacks).” Based on the promise of God that the church could not have been destroyed, he believed that the Anabaptists were that true church.
Roland Bainton connects Anabaptist with the ancient Donatists, acknowledging that “the parallels between the Anabaptists and Donatists were… more than superficial.” And then he added, “To call these people Anabaptist, that is re-baptizers, was to malign them, because they denied that baptism was repeated, inasmuch as infant baptism is no baptism at all. They called themselves simply Baptists, not re-Baptists. The offensive name was fastened upon them in order to bring them under the penalty of the Justinian Code against the Donatists” – so that they might be punished and put to death.
William Estep wrote in 1963, “Scholars of preceding generations have leaned heavily upon the highly partisan and quite unreliable accounts of sixteenth-century … writings of … Zwingly … Menius … Bullinger and … Fisher, to say nothing of the milder, but just as erroneous accounts of Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon.”
Every true Baptist needs to be familiar with the history of the church – which the Lord Jesus promised would continue in the world until preparations begin for the Millennial Kingdom.