A great many Baptists foolishly praise early Protestant leaders. They either consider themselves to be Protestants (and indeed many of them are), or they have never learned, or else they have forgotten, what those Protestants have done in an attempt to rid the world of our spiritual forefathers.
In the early 1500s there were at least three Baptist churches around St. Gall, Switzerland– Teuffen, Herisau and Brunnen. They didn’t, or couldn’t use, church buildings so they held services under the open sky, baptizing their converts in nearby books and streams.
A council was called by Huldrych Zwingli to meet at St. Gall with the purpose of ridding the country of the people they called “Dippers.” After the council, on this day (September 9) in 1527, the following edict was published.
“In order that the dangerous, wicked, turbulent and seditious sect of the Baptists may be eradicated, we have thus decreed: If any one is suspected of rebaptism, he is to be warned by the magistracy to leave the territory under penalty of the designated punishment. Every person is obliged to report those favorable to rebaptism. Whoever shall not comply with this ordinance is liable to punishment according to the sentence of the magistracy. Teachers of rebaptism, baptizing preachers, and leaders of hedge meetings [outdoor services] are to be drowned. Those previously released from prison who have sworn to desist from such things, shall incur the same penalty. Foreign Baptists are to be driven out; if they return they shall be drowned. No one is allowed to secede from the [Protestant] church and to absent himself from the Holy Supper. Whoever flees from one jurisdiction to another shall be banished or extradited upon demand. ”
According J. T. Christian, that decree did not produce the desired effect, so on March 26, 1530, another was published. It stated: “All who adhere to or favor the false sect of the Baptists, and who attend hedge-meetings, shall suffer the most severe punishments. Baptist leaders, their followers, and protectors shall be drowned without mercy. Those, however, who assist them, or fail to report or to arrest them shall be punished otherwise on body and goods as injurious and faithless subjects.”