January 17

George Blaurock was an Anabaptist who became known for two things – his opposition of infant baptism and his love of music.

The first historical reference to this man occurred on this day (Jan. 17) in 1525 during a public discussion of baptism. It was said by Blaurock, or one of his friends who was with him at the time, “by infant baptism men coerce people to enter the Kingdom of God; and yet there should be no coercion there. All they have eternal punishment awaiting them who seek to sustain the Kingdom of God with recourse to the civil power… the magistry has no assignment touching the Kingdom of God.” Hans Denck, another Anabaptist said: “Let everyone know that in matters of faith things ought to be on a voluntary basis, without coercion.”    These statements provoked the banishment of several notable Anabaptists and the arrest of Blaurock and others. As was common, incarceration for these “crimes” rarely ended in freedom; they usually ended in martyrdom.

Blaurock had been a Catholic monk, but he renounced the religion of ritual for one of reality in Christ. After the murders of Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz, Blaurock became a leader among the Swiss Christians, until he, too, was burned at the stake in Claussen. It was pronounced that his death was justified because “he had forsaken his office as a priest… that he disregarded infant baptism, and taught people a new baptism… that he rejected the Mass… and that he said the mother of Christ is not to be invoked or worshipped.”
As said earlier, George Blaurock loved music, and it is known that he wrote several hymns. Appropriately, one of those hymns reads:
“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.”