Münster rebellion or Munsters Rebellion? – Thrown Out of School – Knuckleheads of the Reformation

The Münster rebellion (German: Täuferreich von Münster, “Anabaptist dominion of Münster”) was an attempt by radical Anabaptists to establish a communal sectarian government in the German city of Münster – then under the large Prince-Bishopric of Münster in the Holy Roman Empire.

The city was under Anabaptist rule from February 1534, when the city hall was seized and Bernhard Knipperdolling installed as mayor, until its fall in June 1535. It was Melchior Hoffman, who initiated adult baptism in Strasbourg in 1530, and his line of eschatological Anabaptism, that helped lay the foundations for the events of 1534–35 in Münster.


Historical drawing of the execution of the leaders of the rebellion. In the background the cages are already in place at the old steeple of St. Lambert’s church.

After the German Peasants’ War (1524–1525), a forceful attempt to establish theocracy was made at Münster, in Westphalia (1532–1535). Here the group had gained considerable influence, through the adhesion of Bernhard Rothmann, the Lutheran pastor, and several prominent citizens; and the leaders, Jan Matthys (also spelled Matthijs, Mathijsz, Matthyssen, Mathyszoon), a baker from Haarlem, and Jan Bockelson (or Beukelszoon), a tailor from Leiden.

Bernhard Rothmann was a tireless and vitriolic opponent of Catholicism and a writer of pamphlets that were published by his ally and wealthy wool merchant Bernhard Knipperdolling. The pamphlets at first denounced Catholicism from a radical Lutheran perspective, but soon started to proclaim that the Bible called for the absolute equality of man in all matters including the distribution of wealth. The pamphlets, which were distributed throughout northern Germany, successfully called upon the poor of the region to join the citizens of Münster to share the wealth of the town and benefit spiritually from being the elect of Heaven.

With so many adherents in the town, at the elections for the magistracy, Rothmann and his allies had little difficulty in obtaining possession of the town, and placing Bernhard Knipperdolling as the mayor after deposing the mainly Lutheran magistrates, who, until then, had seen him as an ally in their own distrust of, and dislike for, Catholics.

Matthys was a follower of Melchior Hoffman, who, after Hoffman’s imprisonment at Strasbourg, obtained a considerable following in the Low Countries, including Bockelson, who became known as John of Leiden. John of Leiden and Gerrit Boekbinder[1] had visited Münster, and returned with a report that Bernhard Rothmann was there teaching doctrines similar to their own. Matthys identified Münster as the “New Jerusalem”, and on January 5, 1534, a number of his disciples entered the city and introduced adult baptism.

Rothmann apparently accepted “rebaptism” that day, and well over 1000 adults were soon baptized. Vigorous preparations were made, not only to hold what had been gained, but to spread their beliefs to other areas. The many Lutherans who left were outnumbered by the arriving Anabaptists, there was an orgy of iconoclasm in cathedrals and monasteries, and rebaptism became compulsory. The property of the emigrants was shared out with the poor and soon a proclamation was issued that all property was to be held in common.

Franz von Waldeck


The city was then besieged by Franz von Waldeck, its expelled bishop. In April 1534 on Easter Sunday, Matthys, who had prophesied God’s judgment to come on the wicked on that day, made a sally forth with only twelve followers, believing that he was a second Gideon, and was cut off with his entire band. He was killed, his head severed and placed on a pole for all in the city to see, and his genitals nailed to the city gate.

The 25-year-old John of Leiden was subsequently recognized as Matthys’ religious and political successor, justifying his authority and actions by the receipt of visions from heaven. His authority grew, until eventually he proclaimed himself to be the successor of David and adopted royal regalia, honors, and absolute power in the new “Zion”. There were at least three times as many women of marriageable age as men now in the town and he made polygamy compulsory[3] and he himself took sixteen wives. (John is said to have beheaded Elisabeth Wandscherer in the marketplace for refusing to marry him; this act might have been falsely attributed to him after his death.) Meanwhile, most of the residents of Münster were starving as a result of the year-long siege.

After lengthy resistance, the city was taken by the besiegers on June 24, 1535 and John of Leiden and several other prominent Anabaptist leaders were captured and imprisoned. In January 1536 John of Leiden, Bernhard Knipperdolling and one more prominent follower, Bernhard Krechting, were tortured and executed in the marketplace of Münster. Their bodies were exhibited in cages which hung from the steeple of St. Lambert’s Church. The bones were removed later, but the cages hang there still.

Cages still visible today


Cages of the leaders of the Münster Rebellion at the steeple of St. Lambert’s Church.
The Münster Rebellion was a turning point for the Anabaptist movement. It never again had the opportunity of assuming political importance, as both Catholic and Lutheran civil powers adopted stringent measures to counter this. It is difficult to trace the subsequent history of the group as a religious body, through changes in the names used and beliefs held.

The Batenburgers under Jan van Batenburg preserved the violent millennialist stream of Anabaptism seen at Münster. They were polygamous and believed force was justified against anyone not in their sect. Their movement went underground after the suppression of the Münster Rebellion, with members posing as Catholics or Lutherans as necessary. Some nonresistant Anabaptists found leaders in Menno Simons and the brothers Obbe and Dirk Philips, Dutch Anabaptist leaders who repudiated the distinctive doctrines of the Münster Anabaptists. This group eventually became known as the Mennonites after Simons. They rejected any use of violence and preached a faith based on compassion and love of enemy.

In August 1536 the leaders of Anabaptist groups influenced by Melchior Hoffman met in Bocholt in an attempt to maintain unity. The meeting included followers of Batenburg, survivors of Münster, David Joris and his sympathisers, and the nonresistant Anabaptists.[4] At this meeting the major areas of dispute between the sects were polygamous marriage and the use of force against non-believers. Joris proposed compromise by declaring the time had not yet come to fight against the authorities, and that it would be unwise to kill any non-Anabaptists. The gathered Anabaptists agreed to the compromise of no more force,[5] but the meeting did not prevent the fragmentation of Anabaptism.

From Wikipedia

Ok so look:

These knuckleheads developed a cult. Nothing more nothing less. They had some deceptive delusional prophecy that they were creating Zion. So they took over a city and starting partying hard taking “wives” while the city starved to death. Of course the powers that be would come in and crush this. You got some 20 somethings on a quest thinking there they are Gideon and King David so their leaders starts dressing in royal robes having sex with every woman he can. Of course he’s a horny twenty something in charge of a city…. .

Look guys this is in the 1500s there’s no separation of church and state so of course they’re going to come in and stop it. It’s pretty gruesome they put their heads on a pole and their genitals on the gate of the city. They put their bones in cages above the church as a grand warning to anyone who’s going to think they’re going to take over government.

You don’t have to look far to see how cults are formed and flourish today. Be it David Koresh, Jim Jones or q anon whatever when somebody gets their ego into it and wants to gain followers you got a cult.

Luckily my Anabaptist ancestors decided to become non-violent after this, and eventually in the 1700s immigrated to the new world where a new set of knuckleheads, the forefathers of our country had the genius revelation to separate church and state.

Now these are knuckleheads because they owned slaves as an example. Also Thomas Jefferson was trying to form his own church, but still drafted the part of the constitution that separates church and state. This was part of the new experiment called a Democratic Republic.

It just goes to show how God uses super imperfect people to do his work. We would all agree that the United States is a beacon of hope to the world, and we understand that the principles that form this imperfect union come from the Bible and the principles laid out in that code.

Since those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it, I say we’re getting better and better as we ask our father in heaven for strategies only he can provide to help us heal our land.

Okay so I’m going to lighten up a little and watch reruns of the “Munsters” getting kicked out of school.

Come on the Münster’s!!! too funny

Happy childhood memories as I watch the knuckleheads like me wade through this messy thing we call life.

Don’t worry God’s got this!

Thrown Out Of School | The Munsters