Thomas van Imbroek of Cologne, Germany was arrested for his Christian faith in 1557. For nearly a year he was kept under guard, during which time religious and state officials tried to persuade him to change his mind about salvation and infant baptism. Thomas’ knowledge of the Word defeated his oppressors over and over again. At that time, it was believed that to convince a “heretic,” like Thomas van Imbroek, to recant his faith was better than to simply execute him. Toward this end a pair of priests took it upon themselves to humble the poor man where others had earlier failed. In menacing tones they demanded that he explain why his children were not christened. He answered, “The Scriptures teach nothing of infant baptism, and they who will be baptized according to God’s Word must first be believers.” Immediately he was sent to be tortured on the rack, but while strapped onto the machine, the order to rip him apart was given, and he was returned to his cell. This was done three times until his oppressors learned he could not be intimidated by fear. Throughout the ensuing year Thomas’ wife wrote letters of comfort and encouragement, and he was permitted to write in reply. These letters have been saved and were later published. When new tormentors were assigned to his case, and the most severe techniques were applied, Bro. Thomas remained true to his Lord. Finally, on this day in 1558 Thomas van Imbroek was beheaded for his faith in Christ for salvation.
One might think that this martyr was a seasoned veteran among the saints. He was not. He died at the age of twenty-five and we assume that his widowed wife was about the same age.