January 21, 1525

January 21, 1525

Believer’s baptism is re-instituted by the Swiss Brethren in Zurich. It is almost universally agreed, even by those scholars whose churches do not practice it today, that baptism by immersion upon profession of faith was the normative practice of the earliest church. While there were groups, throughout the Middle Ages, who rejected the ‘baptism’ of infants, we know very little about them and they had little influence on those who practice believer’s baptism today. Throughout the early 1520s, Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock, Felix Manz and others had become increasingly frustrated with the slow progress of the Zwingli led Zurich Reformation in which they had been co-laborers. Among their concerns was their conclusion, based on their study of Scripture, that infant baptism was no true baptism at all. When the Zurich council put an end to further discussion on the matter by banishing them, they decided to act. That very night, George Blaurock asked Conrad Grebel to baptize him (by pouring—the recovery of immersion would take place a little later), thus launching one of the key streams of the broader Anabaptist movement. Though the Swiss Brethren did not have a direct connection to the rise, less than a century later, of the English Baptists, their courageous stand was not without its impact.