The Secret of the Strength: What Would the Anabaptists Tell This Generation?

In the heartland of America is a special place the beats to a different drum. Holmes County, Ohio is arguably home to the biggest Amish and Mennonite community in the world, and how they live is fascinating. Join me and a local (Josh) as we dive into the culture of this mysterious and special place.

Watch the video above how a young Mennonite explains the wisdom of the Beachy Mennonite traditions and speaks better than anything I could write about the wisdom of simplicity of this way of life….

Also this video of a Mennonite potluck…things I seriously miss from my childhood!

A Modern Day Radical Anabaptist Speaks To Our Generation

Lou Engle is an intercessor for revival, and the visionary co-founder of TheCall, a prayer and fasting movement responsible for gathering hundreds of thousands around the globe.

Lou Engle – Heaven Come Conference -2017 – 500th anniversary of the reformation in Switzerland

He has been involved in church planting, establishing prayer movements and strategic houses of prayer. He is the founder of the pro-life ministry Bound4Life. Now residing in Colorado Springs, he is married to his beautiful wife Therese and blessed with 7 wonderful children. He is the president of Lou Engle Ministries, recently launched to mobilize fasting and contending prayer, and to envision and empower stadium christianity, and to ignite reformation prayer into the nations of the earth.

A VOICE TO A GENERATION

For the past twenty-two years, Lou Engle has been an international voice calling a generation to Nazirite consecration, fasting and prayer, and the pursuit of God’s dreams for their lives through the ministry of TheCall.

For the past sixteen years, Lou Engle has raised up prayer movements, has been a voice for the shifting of the supreme court for ending abortion, and has encouraged a movement of adoption to be the answer for the great injustice.

Now, Lou Engle is prophetically declaring that we are on the verge of the 3rd great awakening, and Jesus the evangelist will be manifested in great salvation and deliverance power. A mighty Jesus movement is coming to America, Billy Graham’s mantle is falling on a new generation of evangelists, and streets and stadiums will be filled with a new song of God’s salvation.

More at Lou Engle.com

Below is a history of the Anabaptist tradition and the revival of 1525 in Switzerland.

Sorry for the rough draft as it is just posted for a general overview for my kids…

This book was a hard read. So much bloodshed so much pain…..

I simply posted one of the first chapters and one of the last chapters so you would get a overview of what was going on at this time.

So let me break in here for a second. these people were in revival. Nothing else can explain than the holy Spirit coming upon them giving them supernatural courage to endure such torture and such injustice.

Be clear about this. They were not writing some new gospel. Their message was simple:

Rather than becoming marked by being baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church, or being marked by being baptized in this new Protestant Reformation, they said it was an adult decision every person needed to make at the age of majority .

They wanted to read and process the Bible for themselves. And they would endure years of torture just for the right to do that .

Martin Luther was trying to purify his church at that time. That is why he posted the 91 thesis on the Wittenberg parish. He was calling for an end of the indulgences. Unwittingly because it was rejected he formed a new church which included infant baptism as that is all he knew. It would be him and others in power that would put to death and torture my distant relatives who simply wanted to experience God in their inner world.

It would be in 1775 my relatives Jacob and Edna Mast would be the first Swiss Mennonites to get on a wooden ship and risk their lives to come to this new world that was being formed called America.

It was the hope that they could live a life without being tortured, that their kids could grow. The same thing we wish for our own kids today. Because of their trauma they set up a closed society to insulate themselves from the culture. There’s a lot of wisdom in this.

Old order Mennonites and Amish still practice this to this day. I honor them. They’ve dodged a lot of cultural bullets in doing this. However my grandfather a Mennonite bishop from Michigan came out west to build the first Mennonite Church in California in upland California. He was a radical in his day.

It would be the cultural tidal wave of the late 60s and 70s that would come in and crush the desire to insulate children from all that complexity. I would watch as this group of people would scatter as my grandfather died when I was 12. However it would be the people who would carry on in more non-denominational churches to carry the torch forward to my generation. Even though I didn’t understand it or value it at the time the fact that I’m alive today is a product of their prayers, a product of their example, and my existence is to simplify this thing we call religion further. Simplify it to its basic form. It’s all about relationship a connection

What Was the Secret of the Strength?

By Peter Hoover

The sun shines on Klundert, green lowland plains lying flat as far as eye can see. Tourists visit Klundert. They take pictures: fields of flowers and vegetables. Thunderheads rise, making rows of poplars alongside the canals of Noord Brabant look small. Long canals, they cut straight through the shimmering plains until they lose themselves in the haze where land and sky meet sea. “We like the peace of Noord Brabant,” say the tourists, “It does the heart good.”
But there is much the tourists do not know. Klundert, tidy Dutch village in Noord Brabant, stands on blood. The blood of Anabaptists was shed here.


Anabaptists gathered at Klundert throughout the mid-sixteenth century. They came, sneaking out of nearby cities, to meet in secret on the fields. Sometimes they gathered in the homes of Elsken Deeken or Jan Peetersz, a servant of the Word. On August 5, 1571, about a hundred Anabaptists met at the Peetersz home in Klundert. Some came from Haarlem, some from Leyden, and many from towns not far away. During the meeting a young couple was going to get married, but they did not get that far.


The town magistrate and his assistant were sitting at Gerrit Vorster’s house, drinking. Someone told him about the Anabaptist gathering. He said: “We will root up that nest and get rid of them at once!” Twice he sent one of his men to listen at the Peetersz house. “Straight Peter” a tailor lived in the front part of the house. Jan Peetersz lived in the back where the people met. After nine o’clock the spies found the meeting in session. They heard someone preaching and saw the light of many candles in the room. Then the magistrate and his men, well armed with guns, halberds, swords, and other weapons broke in through all doors at once. They grabbed left and right. But most of the Anabaptists, ready for such an emergency, escaped up the stairs, through a hole in the roof, or back through a hall and out of openings in the wall.


When the raid was over, the magistrate’s men held six men and several women: Peter the tailor, Geleyn Cornelis of Middelharnis near Somerdijk, Arent Block of Zevenbergen, Cornelis de Gyselaar, and a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old boy who worked for Straight Peter the tailor. The captives were led to Gerrit Vorster’s house where the women escaped. They handcuffed the men and kept them under guard. The next morning Michael Gerrits, an uncle of Cornelis de Gyselaar, came to see him. Also an Anabaptist, Michael came to encourage Cornelis to stand for Christ, no matter what might take place. The magistrate seized Michael too.

They confiscated the property of the prisoners, so their wives fled from Klundert with nothing. Then they called on the school teacher to dispute with the prisoners. He wrote up a report in which he said: “They do not baptize infants. They cannot believe that Christ had his flesh and blood from Mary, and they regard themselves as the little flock and the elect of God. But their lives are better than the lives of many others. They bring up their children in better discipline and fear of God than many other people. Their children in school are better students and learn more readily than the rest.”

The magistrate kept the prisoners in Gerrit Vorster’s house until noon of Aug. 7, 1571. Then he took them to Breda to be tortured. Straight Peter, the tailor, gave up the faith, so they only beheaded him. The rest, including his teenage worker, remained steadfast. One had his hands tied behind his back to be suspended by them and whipped. Another was pulled to the utmost on the rack. While in this helpless condition they held his mouth open to urinate into it and over his body. But Geleyn Cornelis was treated worst of all. They stripped off his clothes and hung him up by his right thumb with a weight hanging from his left foot. Then they singed off his body hair, burning him in tender places with candles, and beat him. Finally the men, tired of torturing the prisoners, took to playing cards. They played for over an hour while Geleyn hung, by now unconscious, until the commissioner of the Duke of Alba said: “Seize him again. He must tell us something! A drowned calf is a small risk.”

At first they thought Geleyn was dead. They shook him until he revived, but he did not recant.
They burned Geleyn Cornelis, Jan Peetersz, and the young boy first. The wind came the wrong way and blew the fire away from Geleyn’s stake, so the executioner had to push and hold his body into the flames with a fork.
When they led Cornelis de Gyselaar and Arent Block to the stakes, Arent dropped a letter hoping that some Anabaptist in the crowd would notice it and snatch it up. But the Duke’s men saw it first and took the two men back to prison for another torturing session. They did not recant and they refused to betray any of their brothers in the faith. Shortly afterward, they burned Cornelis, his uncle Michael Gerrits, and Arent Block.

Since 1571 there have been no more Anabaptists at Klundert. Tourists come—with Bermuda shorts, sunglasses, paper cups of Coke, and with camera strings flapping in the fresh spring breeze. They like Noord Brabant. But there is much the tourists do not know. 2 What Was the Secret of the Strength? For as long as I can remember, people have told me about the Anabaptists. In fact, I distinctly remember the first time they told me about Geleyn Cornelis, who hung from his thumb. I was not yet going to school. It was on a Sunday evening in southern Ontario, and we had many visitors. (My father was an Orthodox Mennonite minister.)

All of us sat around our long kitchen table on which a kerosene lamp stood to light a circle of solemn faces: women in dark dresses with large white head coverings, and men with suspenders and their hair cut round. I was sitting on someone’s lap while one of the visitors told the story of Geleyn Cornelis. I never forgot it, and I live to this day deeply aware of the challenge put to me by my Anabaptist ancestors. I am challenged by the strength of their convictions, by the strength of their endurance in persecution—and above all, by the sheer strength of the Anabaptist movement itself. Within thirty years of the first baptisms in Switzerland, in a secret meeting of a few people, the movement drew incredible thousands— perhaps more than a hundred thousand converts to Christ, and this in the face of the bitterest persecution.

Congregations of Anabaptists sprang up almost overnight. On Palm Sunday, 1525, only two months after his own baptism Conrad Grebel baptized several hundred in the Sitter river at Sankt Gallen in Switzerland. Ten years later, the movement had reached the far corners of the German world. All of ancient Swabia: Switzerland, the Tyrol, Salzburg, Württemberg, Bavaria, Ansbach, and the Kurpfalz, as well as central Germany: Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony had been affected. Entire regions of southern Germany, whole towns, were reported to have “gone Anabaptist.” In Moravia, Anabaptist communities eventually numbered 60,000 members. In the Netherlands, Belgium, the Lower Rhine region in Germany, Holstein, and along the Baltic Sea to East Prussia, the movement raced like a fire. Due to favourable winds?
Hardly. Within those same ten years innumerable Anabaptists were imprisoned, exiled, and put to death by Roman Catholic and Protestant authorities.

Anabaptists had white-hot rods pushed down their legs, their tongues screwed onto their gums, and their fingers chopped off. Some had gun powder tied to their bodies or crammed into their mouths to be set on fire. Some were beheaded. Some were drowned. Some were buried alive and many more burned at the stake. The Anabaptist movement was a city movement in the beginning. Born in Zürich, it branched out quickly into the largest cities of central Europe: Strasbourg, Augsburg, Regensburg, Salzburg, Heidelberg, Basel, München, Speyr, Konstanz, and Worms. Soon afterward, it reached Aachen, Köln, Münster, Antwerpen, Gent, Rotterdam, Leyden, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Alkmaar, Leeuwarden, Emden, Hamburg, Lübeck, Danzig, and even Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) in East Prussia.

On to Commitment

A dry wind howls out of the Sierra Madre on Pfingsten, the day of Pentecost, when Old Colony Mennonites get baptized. On this day the churches will be full. Horses and wagons, like columns of ants on dirt trails ruler-straight across the vast drought-scorched plateau, move toward the churches: Kronsgart, Gnadenfeld, Neuhoffnung, Rosental… The sun shines weakly in a pale blue sky through the dust that already blurs the shapes of surrounding mountain ranges. This is the day Justina Wall will be baptized—”join church” in Old Colony Mennonite language—and commit herself for life to the church from which, if she ever leaves, she will lose her claim to the grace of God.1 I started school with Justina back in Canada. She was a quiet, sensible girl. Now she is in her twenties and I still respect her. But someone remarks, before the converts (dressed in black) file into the stark auditorium: “I wonder why Justina is getting baptized. She does not have a boyfriend yet.” Justina Wall’s Anabaptist forefathers came from the Netherlands. They did not get baptized on Pfingsten. They could not have pictured Mennonite villages on the Mexican plateau, nor the church to which she committed herself for life. But Justina’s ancestors would have known that one does not get baptized to marry. Conrad Grebel wrote:


We clearly see what baptism is and when it shall be practiced. People are to be baptized when they are converted through God’s Word, when their hearts are changed and they desire to live a new life (Rom. 6).2 Saving Baptism
Within a few days of the first baptisms in Felix Manz’ home at Zürich in Switzerland, in 1525, dozens of baptisms had taken place in the city and surrounding countryside. Within a matter of months, dozens of baptized converts were baptizing hundreds and thousands more in the German cantons of Switzerland, in Austria, in Bavaria, in Württemberg, Ansbach, Saxony, Thüringen, Hesse, the Kurpfalz and down the Rhine into the Netherlands and Belgium. Baptism followed teaching. But because they tied faith, repentance and baptism together, the Anabaptists did not consider postponing one of the three. They did not wait to baptize until a convenient time after the new birth took place. There was no convenient time. They baptized at once, because they believed that baptism is the outer testimony of the new birth itself. They desired baptism even though they knew it would cost them their lives.

The water of baptism did not create the urgency. The urgency was commitment. Because baptism is the act of committing oneself to Christ, the Anabaptists believed it should take place while the convert is still in the glow of his “first love.” Commitment at conversion is “striking while the iron is hot.”
When adults repented and believed, the Anabaptists gave instructions for perhaps several hours, or in some cases several days. But most people repented during the meetings in which they received the seal of water baptism at the end.3 Christ’s Example One day down at the Jordan River, “when all the people were being baptized” Christ came to John. “Baptize me,” he said…..

John hesitated. “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” “Let it be so now,” replied Jesus. “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righeousness.” Then John took him at once into the river and baptized him.
This example, along with the examples of spontaneous baptisms recorded in the book of Acts, left the Anabaptists with no question about the time to baptize. Baptism was to be administered upon request—immediately—unless there was a valid reason to wait.

Menno Simons explained how this practise was changed by the church of the Dark Ages:
We are informed by those who know history that baptism and the time of its administration was changed. In the beginning of the holy commune, people were baptized in ordinary water. They were baptized as soon as they professed the faith and on the confession of their faith, according to the writings. Afterward a change was made. Church leaders began to examine people seven times before baptizing them. After that they were baptized only at two special times, at Easter and Pentecost.

4 Spontaneous Baptism

Hans Hut traveled throughout southern Germany and Austria, preaching at every opportunity. He called men to follow Christ and gave them this charge: “Go out into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes the Gospel and is baptized will be saved, and this is saving baptism (die seligmachende Taufe): to endure anxiety, necessity, sorrow, and all manner of trouble for Christ.” Those he saw as likely canditates, Hans Hut ordained, after baptism, to be messengers of the Gospel. He sent them out, young, unmarried men, to preach and baptize. Many of them promptly met torture and death. Leonhard Schiemer, Hans Schlaffer, Ambrosius Spittelmayr, and other writers quoted in this book were among them. Eucharius Binder, baptized and ordained by Hans Hut at Königsberg in Franconia in 1526, traveled at once through Nürnberg and Augsburg to Steyr in Austria, baptizing hundreds of people along the way. The following year they caught him at Salzburg and locked him in a house with thirty-seven other Anabaptists. The authorities then set the house on fire and all of the prisoners perished in the flames. Leonhard Dorfbrunner baptized more than three thousand people in less than a year’s time after his conversion.

Many young men like him traveled from city to city and from house to house, meeting with those who longed to follow Christ. Usually the service began with the reading of a passage from the New Testament and ended with the baptism of such as desired it, and with a general participation in the Lord’s supper. Baptisms took place at any time and at any place, in the morning or in the evening, in the house or at the stream. The water was the symbol of the washing of repentance and the putting off of sin, the outward sign of the decisive entrance into a new and holy life. He who received it was henceforth no longer the master of his own life, but a servant of Jesus Christ, ready to do his will at whatever cost.

5 In the Netherlands and northern Germany, spontaneous baptisms caused new congregations to spring up, as one historian put it, “like mushrooms.”

6 Many Anabaptists testified on arrest that they did not know who baptized them. Those who baptized avoided revealing their names, and those who believed avoided it too, for safety’s sake. But a few men like Leenaerdt Boewens kept numerical records. For thirty years he baptized, on the average, more than three hundred people a year. Too Young The Anabaptists asked people to wait for baptism only when they found the “document” to which the seal was to be applied incomplete.

In a letter “written in the dark with poor materials” in the dungeon of the castle at Gent in Belgium, Jannijn Buitkijns, burned at the stake on July 9, 1551, tells of nine other Anabaptists who were interrogated with him. One of them was an adolescent boy.

The boy confessed that he thought the baptism of believers was right and good. He had gone to the teacher once to be baptized, but he was not baptized yet?

“Why did the teacher not baptize you?” the interrogator asked.
The boy answered, “My lords, when the teacher explained the faith to me and asked me questions, he noticed that I was still immature in my understanding. He told me to go and search the holy writings some more. But I wanted to be baptized.

The teacher then asked me whether I knew that the world puts to death and burns those who are baptized. I told him that I knew that well. Then he said to me that I should be patient until he came the next time. He told me that I should search the holy writings and ask the Lord for wisdom because I am still so young. Then we parted.”
“Are you sorry that you did not get baptized?” asked the interrogator.
“Yes, my lords.”
“If you were not imprisoned would you be baptized?”
“Yes, my lords.”
For these words they sentenced him to death, and Jannijn did not see him again.

7 Not Ready

Lauwerens van der Leyen, imprisoned at Antwerp in 1559, faced the question: “Are you baptized?”
Lauwerens answered: “No.”
“Is baptism necessary then,” the interrogator asked.
“Yes,” said Lauwerens. “It is necessary for perfection.”
“Why then are you not baptized?” asked the interrogator.
“I was not good enough yet.”
“Why?”
“Because I was involved too much in this world. I was, and still am, deeply in debt. I thought that if I were caught, people could say I was a hypocrite. Many could be turned away from the truth. Therefore I declined to receive baptism. But I consider it good and right and I want to live and die in this belief. Though I have not yet become baptized, the Lord in his mercy will save me because of his sufferings and precious blood. I believe all that a Christian is bound to believe, and I will stand firm in it. You may do further with me as you please for I am in your power.”
They beheaded Lauwerens at Antwerp in Belgium on November 9, 1559.

8. Exceptions to the rule were common in the sixteenth century. Some believers fell into the hands of the authorities before they got baptized. Some, arrested during meetings, became believers during arrest or in prison. Some missed baptism for other reasons. But the question of their salvation did not become an issue. The Anabaptists had no doubts about God’s mercy on the faithful.

Children Roman Catholic and Protestant authorities often tried to rescue Anabaptist children from their “heretic” parents to baptize them. They accused the Anabaptists of murdering infants’ souls. But the Anabaptists, resting on the Word of God, did not worry. Conrad Grebel wrote: All children that have not come to know the difference between good and evil, who have not eaten from the tree of knowledge, are surely safe through the work of Christ.

9 Menno Simons wrote:
Little children, especially those born in Christian homes, have a special promise. It is a promise given to them by God with no rites involved. It comes to them through pure and abundant grace, through Christ who says: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” This promise makes glad and assures all the saints about their children.

Christian parents have in their hearts a sure faith in the grace of God concerning their beloved children. They believe that their children are sons and daughters of the kingdom. They believe that their children are under grace and have the promise of eternal life, not by any ceremony, but through Christ. As long as they are mere children they are clean, holy, saved, and pleasing unto God, be they alive or dead.Christian parents thank God for his love to their children, so they train their children in godly ways. They correct, chastise, teach, and admonish them. They exemplify to them the irreproachable life until the children are able to hear the Word for themselves, to believe it and obey it. Then is the time, and not until then, that they should receive Christian baptism as Christ and the apostles practiced and taught…
If children die before coming to the age when they can decide between good and evil, before they have come to years of understanding and before they have faith, they die under the promise of God and that by no other means than the generous promise of grace given through Christ Jesus (Luke 18:16).

If they come to the age where they can decide for themselves and have faith, then they should be baptized. But if they do not accept or believe the Word when they arrive at that age, no matter whether they are baptized or not, they will be damned, as Christ himself teaches (Mark 16:16).

10 Infant Baptism
“Simia semper manet simia, etiamsi induatur purpura (a monkey stays a monkey even though you dress him in purple),” wrote Menno Simons. “In the same manner infant baptism will remain a horrid stench and abomination before God, no matter how finely the learned ones adorn it with garbled passages from the holy writings.”11 Then, in a more serious tone he added:

Because true Christian baptism involves such great promises, among them the promise of remission of sins (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Cor. 12:13, 1 Peter 3:21, Eph. 4:5), some would like to baptize their children. But they fail to notice that the above promises are given only to those who believe and obey the Word of God.12 Conrad Grebel wrote:
The baptized are dead to the old life and circumcised in their hearts. They have died to sin with Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and arisen with him… To apply such things to children is without and against the writings.

13 Who Shall Baptize?

Even though they baptized spontaneously, the Anabaptists usually waited until the brotherhood sent them out before they baptized others. Peter Rideman wrote: It is not for anyone to take upon himself the responsibility of teaching and baptizing. James says: “Dear brothers, do not all strive to be a teacher… “ For this reason no one should take upon himself or accept such a responsibility unless he has been properly chosen by God in his commune.

14 The Mode of Baptism

The Anabapists did not write about the mode of baptism. They baptized by pouring or immersion, in rivers or ponds, or in the houses, barns, caves, mills, or forests where they had their services. Shortly before Conrad Grebel baptized Wolf Ulimann in the Rhine River, Felix Manz baptized Hans Bruggbach in a house at Zürich in Switzerland.

This is the account: After Hans confessed his sins and requested baptism Georg Cajacob
(Blaurock) asked him, “Do you desire baptism?”
Hans replied, “Yes.”
Then Felix Manz asked, “Who will forbid me that I should baptize
him?”
“No one,” answered George.

Then Felix Manz took a metal dipper (of the kind commonly found
in Swiss kitchens) and poured water over Hans’ head saying: “I
baptize you in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the
Holy Spirit.”

15 The Anabaptists saw no conflict between baptizing by either
pouring or by immersion. Menno Simons, who no doubt baptized
mostly by pouring, freely spoke of “burial in baptism.” Conrad
Grebel, who baptized by immersion after the example of Christ and
the apostles, wrote about the apostles themselves:

After that, they were poured over with water. Just as they were
cleansed within by the coming the Holy Spirit, so they were poured
over with water, externally, to signify the inner cleansing and dying to
sin.

16 Einverleibung
Christ is the head of the body of believers. The Anabaptists believed that in water baptism we become members of that body. They called it an Einverleibung, literally a going into and connecting onto a body, or a growing into each other. That body, they believed, is one, glorious, universal body consisting of all those who have committed themselves—unconditionally—to Christ, the head. An Ausbund writer wrote:
Those of us who have been washed with the blood of Christ and made free from sin, are tied together in our hearts. We now walk in the Spirit who shows us the right way and who rules in us. The Spirit rules in our sinful bodies, that are now dead. And in Christ we become members of his body (eingeleibt), and buried with him through baptism in his death. Now we live for him and keep his commandments.

17 Menno Simons wrote:
Those who hear and believe the Word of God are baptized into the body. They have a good conscience. They receive remission of sins, they put on Christ and become members of the most holy body of Jesus Christ… All who hear the Gospel and believe in it, all those who are made alive by the Holy Spirit within them, no matter of what nationality or speech they are, Frisians, or Hollanders, Germans, Belgians, Jews, Gentiles, men or women, all are baptized into one spiritual body of which Christ is the head—that is, they are baptized into the Lord’s commune (Col. 1:18).

18 Felix Manz, before they drowned him at Zürich in 1525, said to the Protestant court:
Those who desire to follow Christ’s example and to be obedient to his Word unite themselves in baptism.

19. Jakob van der Wege, burned at the stake at Gent in Belgium in 1573, wrote to his wife from prison:
The apostles first taught, then they baptized all those who feared God. Those who believed in the Son of God received baptism for a burial of sin and a washing of the new birth… And through baptism they entered and became one with the body of Christ, for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body

20 Noah’s Ark and the Lord’s Commune, The story of the flood held symbolic significance for the Anabaptists. Noah was Christ. The ark was Christ’s commune, and the door into it was baptism. Jakob de Keersgieter, burned at the stake at Brugge in Belgium wrote: Baptism must be received upon faith for a burial of sin, a washing of regeneration, a covenant of the Christian life, and a putting on of the body of Christ. It is an ingrafting into the true olive tree and vine of Christ, an entrance into the spiritual ark of Noah, which belongs to Christ.

21 After baptism the Anabaptists found themselves within the body of Christ, breaking bread together and sharing their material things. Whoever took part in the life of the body showed himself to be a member of it, but beyond this, “church membership,” in the beginning, did not exist. Thousands of converts were baptized into the Anabaptist movement at meetings among people they never saw again. The believers (above all, the servants and messengers) moved about continually, and congregations that numbered several hundred people at one meeting might well number fifty or less in the next—and vice versa.

Only in Moravia, at the beginning, did congregations become stable units. There they lived on the Bruderhöfe (communal dwelling places, usually in rented houses in town) but their teaching on baptism remained the same. Messengers from the Bruderhöfe still baptized converts spontaneously wherever they traveled, and only those who decided to move to Moravia actually became part of the settled congregations there. Bundesgenossen Grown into each other through baptism into the body of Christ, the Anabaptists called one another Bundesgenossen (companions of the covenant).

To this teaching, Martin Luther and the translators of the first Dutch (Biestkens) Bible made a contribution. They translated 1 Peter 3:20-21 like this: “A few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the covenant of a good conscience with God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Baptism as a covenant brought the Anabaptists into a Bundesvereinigung (covenant society) that led them to say like Jakob Kautz and Wilhelm Reublin in a letter to the town council of Strasbourg in 1529:

When the merciful God called us by his grace to marvelous light, we did not reject the heavenly message but made a covenant with God in our hearts to serve him in holiness all our days… Then we reported our purpose to the companions of the covenant. Pilgram Marpeck, an Austrian mining engineer who became a servant of the Word in southern Germany wrote a book which he addressed to the “Christian Bundesvereinigung (covenant society) of all true believers.” Menno Simons addressed his first Anabaptist writing to “all true covenant companions scattered abroad.”

Loyalty Unconditional commitment to Christ the head results in unconditional loyalty from the members of his body.

Individually loyal to Christ the head, the Anabaptists found themselves loyal one to another in the body of Christ. Apart from that they knew no loyalty.

In a letter to me, a friend once mentioned “the Anabaptist emphasis on corporate discipleship” as the “centerpiece of our great heritage.” He was partially correct. The Anabaptists spoke of corporate discipleship, but they emphasized Christ. Christ was the centerpiece.

The Anabaptists did not write about loyalty to the church, loyalty to the brotherhood, or loyalty to God-ordained leaders. They did not make two commitments, one to the head and one to the body. Their unconditional commitment to Christ made all other commitments conditional.

The oneness, the love and the community that resulted from the Anabaptists’ commitment to the Word of Christ (the Gospels), to the Spirit of Christ (conviction), and to the body of Christ wherever it followed Christ the head, made their enemies suspicious. The Catholics and Protestants began to suspect that the Anabaptists had sworn themselves to one another with some secret and terrible oath. But when questioned about this, Ambrosius Spittelmayr said:
I know of no other commitment we make to one another than the covenant we make in baptism… We bind ourselves to God and become one with him in love, in spirit, in faith, and in baptism. At the same time God binds himself to us and promises to stay with us through our times of anxiety.

22 Married to Christ
Loyal to Christ, the Anabaptists spoke of being “married” to him.” At baptism they committed themselves not to a denomination but to Christ—like a bride commits herself to the groom. Wherever their fellow believers followed Christ, they were committed to supporting them. Wherever they did not, they were committed to oppose them. Hans Betz wrote:

Faith comes from hearing Christian preaching, then when a person believes, he must be baptized. Baptism in Christ is the covenant of a good conscience… the promise to live from this point onward in the will of God. We make a promise to God in baptism that we are bound to keep. Like a wife is subject to her husband here on the earth, so we become subject to Christ when we marry him in baptism.

23 The “rose red blood of Christ” was unspeakably precious to the Anabaptists. It released them from the debt of sin that they could not possibly have paid. But logic told them that Christ who bought their debt had the right of claiming them as his bond

The Last Chapter In the beginning of this book we compared the Anabaptists with Samson. In following chapters we saw the great strength whereby they overcame their trials. But we also saw the mistakes they made and how, in less than a hundred years, the great strength left them and their movement began to fade away. By the mid-1500s the European Reformation age was definitely over.

Huldrych Zwingli, at odds with Luther and not able to get help from Strasbourg, turned to the king of France and to the Doge of Venice for help. But no one responded and Catholic troops from the “forest cantons” of Switzerland attacked Zürich. In the battle of Kappel, just south of the city, Zwingli died clutching his sword in death on October 11, 1531.
In 1543 Sebastian Franck died alone at Basel.

On February 18, 1546, Martin Luther died. For several years he had been threatening to leave the city of Wittenberg, which he called a “den of robbers, harlots, and shameless rogues.” Plagued with rheumatism, he had become a crabby old man—angry at the Protestant church for failing to live right and angry at all the rest (Catholics and Anabaptists) for opposing him. He spent his last months writing the books: Against the Anabaptists, Against the Jews, and Against the Papacy at Rome, Founded by the Devil. After a snowy trip to Eisleben in Sachsen-Anhalt to settle a quarrel between the counts of Mansfeld, Luther took sick and died during the night.

King Henry VIII, reformer of the Church of England, died in London on January 28, 1547. Not long before this he had beheaded Catherine Howard, his 20-year-old queen and next to last wife (of six).

Four years later, Martin Bucer, the reformer of Strasbourg, also died in England. His later years were filled with scandal and strife. Philip of Hesse, the German prince and protector of the Protestant church (for whom Peter Rideman wrote his confession of faith) had marriage problems. Martin Bucer, using the Old Testament, finally convinced Luther and Melanchthon that it was alright for Philip to have two wives. But all three reformers lied about it in public and brought reproach upon themselves. Then, under orders from the Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, Martin Bucer came up with a plan to reunite the Protestants with the Roman Catholic church. His efforts failed. He lost friends on both sides and finally got expelled from Strasbourg.

In 1556, Peter Rideman1 died on the far side of the Carpathian mountains in Slovakia. And shortly before Christmas, Pilgram Marpeck died at Augsburg in Bavaria. Before his death he made one last trip through Württemberg, Strasbourg, Sankt Gallen, the Rhaetian Alps, and Austria. Everywhere he found Anabaptist groups quarreling, excommunicating, and shunning one another.

He pled with the brothers to not excommunicate so quickly and to not make rules about how to live in community of goods. But only a few paid any attention.

Then on January 31, 1561, Menno Simons died at Wüstenfelde in Holstein—crippled, a widower, and deeply disappointed in his divided church. Three years later John Calvin died in Geneva.

Calvin’s last years had grown steadily more difficult. Jerome Bolsec, an influential member of his church opposed him in public, saying that with his doctrine of predestination he had turned God into the author of evil. Calvin banished him and had another opponent, Michael Servetus, burned at the stake. Calvin’s reformed Christianity had spread throughout France, but his followers embarrassed him in 1560 by trying to kidnap the sixteen-year-old king (King Francis II, son of Catherine de Médici and husband of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots).

This incident, among others, led to a 36-year war between Calvin’s church and the Roman Catholics. John Calvin, sick, and distressed by the war (which he supported), died before the Protestants suffered overwhelming defeat in the massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s day.
Dirk Philips died at Het Falder in East Friesland in March 1568. Excommunicated by Leenaerdt Bouwens and the Frisian Mennonite church, he said he did not worry about that because he no longer considered them the church nor the children of God.

Kasper Braitmichel, Peter Walbot, Leupold Scharnschlager, Ulrich Stadler and the remaining Anabaptists quoted in this book all died before the end of the sixteenth century.
The situation in Europe and the rest of the world had changed. Catholic Spain and her Habsburg allies were filling their coffers with New World gold. Questions of religion took second place as much greater and exciting issues of conquest and commerce arose. England and the Netherlands became great powers. The Ottoman Turks continued to advance from the south.

The End of Persecution

As the focus of European attention shifted, the Anabaptists broke up into many little groups, and their numbers declined rapidly. The world no longer feared them, and public executions gave way to fines or lesser punishments. In southern Germany and Austria the Jesuits calmly went ahead with their counterreformation until not only the Protestants, but practically all the Anabaptist residents of those areas had returned to Roman Catholicism. From Switzerland’s valleys the Anabaptists retreated into pockets of safety: the Horgen mountains west of Lake Zürich, the Jura region and the Kurpfalz (Palatinate). In the Netherlands the Anabaptists gained toleration under the Dutch government, but they had to build their meetinghouses out of sight behind other buildings and pay special taxes. In this seclusion they prospered, becoming bankers, whalers, and merchants. By the mid-1600s they owned an important share of the Dutch East India Company.

The Flight from Switzerland


What happened to the Anabaptists is a long and involving story. I will illustrate it only by telling about my own family (the Hubers/Hoovers) who fled from Switzerland. Anyone else with Anabaptist roots could do the same, because more or less the same thing happened to all Anabaptist families.

My Huber ancestors got converted in the first wave of Anabaptist revival in central Europe. The Protestants executed Ulrich Huber of Signau at Bern in 1538. Johannes Huber, a shoemaker of Braunöken was arrested in 1542 at Wasserburg in Bavaria. Tied to the stake, he was still conscious after the fire had singed off his hair and beard. The presiding magistrate gave him an offer to recant and go home to his family. But he refused, and promptly died. The Hubers remained Anabaptist. Toward the close of the sixteenth century when thousands apostatized, they kept the faith, but they feared the Täuferjäger and withdrew farther and farther up the Alps.

Some of them chose the Horgerberg, sunny heights below the shimmering snow, looking down several thousand feet to Lake Zürich. They avoided going down the mountain. Friends of the hidden Horgerberg Anabaptists did their business for them. But their two preachers, Hans and Heini Landis, were discovered and arrested in 1589. Nineteen years later Hans Landis and deacon Jakob Isler were arrested again and escaped. At that time about 40 Anabaptists remained to gather in secret meetings in barns or forests of the Horgen area.

In 1613 Hans and Jakob with four other men were arrested and faced with banishment or galley slavery. Some of them escaped and found their way home from the Solothurn castle prison. Then Zwingli’s churchmen caught Hans Landis again and beheaded him on Sept. 29, 1614.2 In 1637 the Zürich government in a concentrated “Anabaptist chase” arrested everyone they could of the Horgen congregation. They confiscated their property and held the people in Zürich until 1640. Hans Huber was arrested again in 1654, then they all left and the church at Horgen ended. Other harassed Swiss congregations held out longer in mountain regions further from Zürich and Bern. But eventually all the Anabaptists who refused to conform to the state church moved to Alsace and the Kurpfalz or escaped to the Netherlands and America. The last nonconformed Anabaptists to leave Switzerland were the Sonnenberg people. The Sonnenberg congregation, hidden in the Jura mountains, existed for centuries in seclusion, cultivating stony land with little water.

They wove their own clothing and built their barns in secret places, suitable for their meetings. In the wintertime the congregation met in large upstairs rooms of the members’ homes. There they sang from the Ausbund and ate pea soup with milk coffee. In the 1800s all their conservative members moved to Kidron, Ohio. The Anabaptists remaining in Switzerland stopped making proselytes. They accepted noncombatant military service, and the last congregation in the Emmental, at Langnau, chose to join Zwingli’s Reformed Church in 1947 to gain tax exemption status.

The Flight from Germany


Jakob Huber fled Switzerland for southern Germany in the late 1600s. There he settled with his family in the Kurpfalz. The Anabaptist movement had swept through the Kurpfalz almost two hundred years earlier. But persecution and the Thirty Years, War had nearly extinguished it. Fighting had devastated the land. Its rulers, anxious to rebuild their estates, now invited Swiss Anabaptists to settle on them. They decided to tolerate them for their industry, even though they had earlier killed them.

The Anabaptists showed their gratitude for this toleration by not making their faith a public spectacle. Immigrants from Switzerland poured into the Kurpfalz. Hundreds and hundreds came down the Rhein—large families with babies and bundles on their backs, austere mountain folk who scorned beds to sleep on piles of straw on the floor. The men came in dark “Anabaptist” clothes and beards. Their wives, wearing black head coverings, spoke nothing but the dialect of their Swiss mountain homes. But things did not go well in the Kurpfalz. The Kurfürst, Philipp Wilhelm, who had invited the Anabaptists, fled from a French invasion and died in Vienna.

His son was a strict Catholic and demanded high “protection fees” from the Swiss. Then word came from America—William Penn’s America where people could live way out in the woods all by themselves. To the Anabaptists of the Kurpfalz, such a place seemed too good to be true, a place almost as desirable as heaven. By the spring of 1717, three hundred of them embarked at Rotterdam for the Atlantic voyage to Philadelphia. Among them traveled Jakob Huber, my Swiss ancestor, with his son Ulrich and family. The Hubers settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They worked hard to wrest a living from the frontier. No one bothered them anymore.

Gathering in log homes to sing from the Ausbund, their troubles in Europe became a legend in the minds of their children while they relaxed in their newfound peace and prosperity. In America the Anabaptists stopped calling themselves Schweizer Brüder (Swiss Brothers) and adopted the name Mennonite.

With persecution out of the picture, money in their pockets, and vast landholdings to their names, they kept some Anabaptist forms. But their zeal to bring others to Christ died away and they were content to be the quiet in the land. Even so, they fared better than those who stayed behind. There, in Germany, they lost not only their zeal to evangelize. They lost their separation from the world and their nonresistance as well. In World War I a few German Mennonite youths still opted for noncombatant service. But in World War II they supported Hitler almost to a man.

The Flight from Democracy


The American revolution came upon my Huber ancestors snugly settled in West Manchester Township, York county, Pennsylvania. Ulrich Huber’s son Jakob had married Barbara Schenk and bought land there. But the Hubers did not trust the new “United States” government. They feared they would lose the privileges and the religious freedom they had gained at long last under the British crown. Therefore Jakob Huber with his son David started north on horseback to Upper Canada.

They crossed the Niagara River and followed the Lake Erie shore west through Iroquois lands into virgin territory until they came to an area of maple trees and plentiful springs of water. They claimed and deeded 2,500 acres of lakeshore property on both sides of the mouth of the Stony Creek between present day Selkirk and Rainham, Ontario. Two years later Jakob Huber with six married sons and three married daughters arrived to make this place his home. Far from Switzerland, far from the ideals and vision of Johannes Huber who wouldn’t give up at the stake, the Hubers were the first white settlers in this part of British North America. Local records say they were “among the most respected and substantial yeomen of Haldimand County.” Jakob Huber died in 1810 at the age of eighty-one years. They buried him behind the little Mennonite meetinghouse on Hoover’s Point. (The name Huber became anglicized to Hoover upon the move to Canada.)

The Flight of the Old Order Anabaptists respected instead of persecuted, Anabaptists improving the world’s economy instead of turning the world upside down—in Canada the Mennonite settlers learned how to be “nice people” among their Anglican and Indian neighbours. The world liked them, and before long they came to like the world too. David Hoover’s son Jacob fell in love with Elizabeth Brech, a Catholic immigrant from Düsseldorf on the Rhein. She joined the Mennonites to marry him and became the mother of eleven children. Jacob became deacon in 1838, and he lived with his family in the original Huber house built of rough logs and hand-hewn boards within a stone’s throw of the lake. Their fourth child, Peter Hoover (my great-grandfather), was one of their few descendants who stayed Mennonite. Peter Hoover did not just stay Mennonite.

He became an Old Order Mennonite, a guardian of what little there was to rescue of Anabaptist tradition: the German language, simple meetings, and plain clothes. Peter had a sailboat. It was given to him by two boys who fled across Lake Erie from Ohio to escape military service during the Civil War. Peter loved to sail. He loved to sing and played a violin on the sly until his father burned it. He loved to dance until one night he came to the neighbours’ house. Peeking in the window before entering, he saw what looked to him like devils leaping and swirling. He turned around, went home, and decided to “stay plain.” Several years later he married Maria Wideman of the Mennonite settlement north of York (Toronto), Ontario.
Peter and Maria were not married long until D.L. Moody’s “Great Awakening” hit the Mennonite Church.

Suddenly prayer meetings, revival meetings, church picnics, fancy clothes, politics, the temperance movement, foreign missionary societies, and a host of other innovations threatened to take over their quiet little church on the shore of the lake. Peter and Maria withdrew their membership. They began to meet with a few other families to become an Old Order congregation. Freeman Rittenhouse was their bishop.

It wasn’t that Peter opposed a greater spirituality. He opposed the sudden loss of what he thought was the tradition of the forefathers: the faith of the Ausbund and the Martyrs Mirror. “Je mehr gelehrt, je mehr verkehrt,” was a favorite expression of his (the more educated, the more perverted). So instead of going to Sunday School and revival meetings, he built a spacious new red brick house, a new barn, and a new plain meetinghouse in the sugar bush on the back end of his farm. They called it the Rainham Mennonite Church.

The Flight from Urbanization

The Old Order Mennonites on the Lake Erie shore did not last long. Big cities were too close. Theatres and saloons were too inviting. And with the coming of the automobile, all the old homesteads along the lake became a beach playground. Peter’s oldest daughter, Amelia Hoover, remained a spinster for many years. Margaret and Elizabeth died. Charity Hoover married a “man of the world.” Only Mary Anne and Peter’s youngest child, Menno, found companions and had children who stayed within the Anabaptist tradition. (Mary Anne Hoover Helka and one of her sons, a single man, were the last Old Order Mennonites in the area.) Peter and Maria, Menno and his family, and a handful of the remaining plain people moved north to Waterloo County Ontario, in the 1920s to “flee from the world.” The relatives they left behind in the Rainham area gradually adjusted themselves to Canadian society around them. In 1979 we attended a Hoover reunion at the Mennonite meetinghouse on the back end of my grandparents’ farm.

A Protestant minister of Tonawanda, New York (a Hoover descendant) had the main speech. Using an acrostic diagram he spoke about our family: H ospitable neighbours
O pportunistic businessmen
O riginal settlers
V enturesome pioneers
E nergetic farmers
R eligious plainsfolk

Listening to Jakob Huber’s descendant speak, dressed in blue jeans and a tee shirt behind the pulpit, I marveled at how well he summed up the fate of the Anabaptists in America: religion in last place, and that consisting at best of “staying plain.” Then another relative sang “Under his Wings” and they brought the big wooden-covered Huber family Bible up from the basement. They wanted me to read from it.

Not one of my relatives at the reunion (outside of my own family) understood the German text I read, but when I finished there was a great roar of applause. Besides my mother, one relative, Mrs. Lanson Jones (of the Brethren in Christ church), was the only woman with a veiling on her head at the reunion in 1979. Mary Jones, faithful soul, wore not only a veiling but a black bonnet over it, with strings tied under her chin. After talking with her I met a younger cousin’s new man. She had just divorced her previous one. She grew up on the old Jakob Huber homestead beside the lake. Now she wore a two-piece suit: a cut-off blouse that left several inches of tummy showing between it and her shorts. The last time I visited Rainham before I moved to Latin America was early in 1981. Slushy snow lay soft on the cemetery. Listening to the music of the surf (the lake has already carried away part of the grounds), I stood for some time looking at Jakob Huber’s plain white tombstone. His grandfather, also called Jakob, fled from Switzerland in the 1690s.

That Jakob Huber’s great grandparents were Anabaptists—burning at the stake but not ready to recant. Then I drove away, past the old homestead, the A.E. Hoover farm, and long lines of summer cottages along the lake, standing with their windows boarded up and silent in the falling snow.

The Flight of the Plain People

After reaching Waterloo county, my Hoover grandparents joined the most traditional branch of the Old Order Mennonites: the David Martin group. Taking a stand against screen doors, indoor bathrooms, and painted barns, the bishop of this group refused to buy seed grain from western Canada after he learned it had been harvested with combines. In the 1950s the David Martin group split. Menno Hoover and numerous ones of his married children (including my parents Anson and Sarah Hoover) left that group to establish a new one. Menno suggested calling it the “Orthodox Mennonite Church.” The Orthodox Mennonites built a new meetinghouse and were yet more conservative than the group from which they came. Menno Hoover planted maple trees around the meetinghouse, but concerned brothers advised him against it, saying that only worldly churches did such. So he dug them up and planted the customary spruce trees. Eventually we buried him among them. Among the Orthodox Mennonites I learned the language and became familiar with the history and writings of the Anabaptists. I came to faith and repentance among them. But when I sought baptism as a young teenager I turned to a more progressive Mennonite group. The End of the Flight?
Several years after I left them, I came back with two friends to visit the Orthodox Mennonites. Their young people had gathered at a farm near Linwood, Ontario. Tracks of many steel-tired buggies had cut through deep packed snow in the lane. Bonnets and shawls lay stacked on a table in the wash house. Wire-rimmed glasses, fire in the woodstove, curtainless windows and a calendar with it’s picture cut off—everthing in the low-ceiling kitchen surrounded by solemn faces looked like home. “Wie geht’s?” They timidly shook our hands, not expecting an answer. For a while we sang old, slow songs. A few of my relatives greeted me warily, but most of them had nothing to say. Then we left the narrow, snow-packed lane, the drifted sideroads, the rolling farmland, and the black, wintry forests of upper Waterloo County to join heavy traffic on the McDonald-Cartier Freeway to Toronto. Minutes off the freeway’s loops and whining tires on corrugated Canadian concrete, we stepped into the Wideman Mennonite Church. Founded by my Wideman ancestors (Anabaptists from BadenWürttemberg in southern Germany), this is one of many congregations in southern Ontario that big cities threaten to engulf. Less than half of the benches were filled. Wrinkly faces and tottering steps…almost everyone was old. Tiny net coverings graced some women’s silver hair. Here and there I spotted a “cape dress” and one “plain coat.”

My ancestors’ farm nearby had become a golf course. The Almira meetinghouse on that farm was a city storage-rental facility. Another meetinghouse, Altona, stood with broken windows, abandoned on the site of Pickering field, then scheduled to become Canada’s largest airport. I talked that night at Wideman Church with a young boy from Toronto. He was excited about his recent “conversion” to the Anabaptist movement and pressed me for details about them. He told me how he had found the Wideman church through his girlfriend at the university. His “Anabaptist” girlfriend wore slacks and jewelry. She had her hair cut, and he kept his arm around her during the short service.

A sister of the Wideman congregation made headlines as the first ordained Mennonite lady pastor in Ontario. Anabaptists. Anabaptists? I sat deep in thought on the back seat of the car as we headed east out of Toronto that night. Anabaptists in form or in name perhaps, but what about in spirit? Fleeing from the world, fleeing from the cities, fleeing from real or imaginary dangers, some fleeing from fads, some fleeing from dead legalism, fleeing for hundreds of miles and years—but sadly overtaken in the end by them all. On the wall of my office I have a chart of my ancestors tracing my roots back thirty-two ways to Anabaptists in Switzerland, once to the Netherlands and several times to southern Germany.

Beneath that chart hang two photos: one of an Old Order Mennonite meetinghouse, and one of a family reunion near Rainham by the lake in southern Ontario. Those pictures hurt. They hurt like the news that every so often comes trickling down to Costa Rica: “Did you hear that Paul and Betty left the Mennonites? …Nathan has left home and is going to college… All of Jake’s children now belong to this cult.” Relatives, close friends, “converts” who were once so happy among us, boys I went to Bible School with—one by one they go. The Anabaptist movement can no longer keep them. They go and it hurts, because hardly anyone that leaves comes back. I do not think the hurt I feel is a personal hurt. I am no longer part of a traditional Mennonite group myself.

Rather, I feel for those who lose their Anabaptist distinctives and go back to the world. I have seen the vast majority of my friends and relatives who leave the Anabaptist traditions take on inferior traditions of a society with twisted values. No, let us not go back. Let us go on with Christ! Let us leave the world and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus: a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells.

Before they beheaded him at Köln am Rhein in 1557, Thomas von Imbroich left this testimony:
I am willing and ready, both to live or to die. I do not care what happens to me. God will not let me down. I am comforted and in good spirits while yet on the earth. God gives me friendly assurance, and my heart is encouraged through my brothers.

Sword, water, fire, whatever creature may come cannot frighten me. No man nor foreign being shall be able to pull me away from God. I hope to stay with what I have chosen for myself in the beginning. All the persecution in this world shall not be able to separate me from God.4
Thomas von Imbroich was an Anabaptist messenger and servant of the Word. He preached and baptized and established new congregations along the lower Rhein. He wrote seven epistles and one of the most widely used Anabaptist confessions of faith. When they beheaded him, he was 25 years old. Dare we commit ourselves to Christ like he did?
If so, Christianity will break out from among us again. 1 Before his death, Peter wrote the hymn: “Altogether free, Jesus has loosed us from death and Satan’s power.”
2 Hans Landis, elder of the Horgerberg Anabaptist congregation, and the last martyr in Switzerland, was the ancestor of a great number of Mennonites living in Pennsylvania, Ontario and Virginia, today.
3 When Amelia finally married she became the wife of Menno Sauder, the independant publisher of the “Elmira Prophetic Mission.” They had one adopted son from Russia.

4 Ausbund 23:20-21 How to Find the Anabaptists’ Writings German-language Anabaptist writings still in use among their descendants, such as the Ausbund, Menno Simons’ Vollständige Werke, the Märtyerspiegel, Dirk Philips’ Enchiridion, the Artikel und Ordnung of the brothers at Strasbourg and Güldene Äpfel in Sílbernen Schalen (which includes the writings of Thomas von Imbroich, Michael Sattler, Matthias Servaes, etc.) may be purchased from the publishing house of the Old Order Amish: Pathway Publishers, 2580N 250W LaGrange, IN, U.S.A. 46761. The Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder and four volumes of letters written by Anabaptist leaders in southern Germany and Austria, Die Hutterische Epistel, are available from the Schmiedeleut Hutterian Brethren at the James Valley Bruderhof, Elie, MB, Canada, R0H 0H0 (204-353-2148). An English translation of the Martyrs Mirror and the writings of Menno Simons, Balthasar Hubmaier, Conrad Grebel, Dirk Philips, Michael Sattler, Pilgram Marpeck, and others are available from Herald Press, 616 Walnut Ave. Scottdale PA 15683 (412-887-8500). Select writings of Peter Rideman, Peter Walbot, Andreas Ehrenpreis, Claus Felbinger, and the voluminous chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren are available in English from Plough Publishers, Spring Brethren are available in English from Plough Publishers, Spring 8011). All of the preceeding, and the remaining known Anabaptist materials in their original languages or translations are available at the materials in their original languages or translations are available at the 9989 (219-535-7418); the Menno Simons Historical Library, Eastern 9989 (219-535-7418); the Menno Simons Historical Library, Eastern 4177); and the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo ON N2L 3G6 (519-885-0220). Competent personnel at all of these locations are pleased to assist those who visit, write, or call. The Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen holds 45,000 volumes, the oldest dating from 1516. The collection is especially rich in South German and Swiss materials. The Menno Simons Library at Harrisonburg, holding a large number of Dutch and North German works, has 25,000 volumes. The Mennonite Archives of Ontario has access to a vast collection

The Secret of the Strength: What Would the Anabaptists Tell This Generation?