Not everything that happened during the tumultuous times of the Reformation was pleasant. Yesterday, we looked at Balthasar Hubmair who was burned at the stake, by religious leaders. Today we look at a similar situation that occurred in Zürich Switzerland.
His name was Felix Manz and he was born around 1498. When Zwingli came to Zürich in 1519, Manz joined Bible classes and was excited to learn under the reformer. As the difficult and challenging Reformation years continued, Manz soon began to disagree on points of theology. The issue of baptism became contentious and required the city authorities to step in. Several individuals, not believing that baptism of children was biblical, refused to have their children baptized. They were represented by Manz and Conrad Grebel. Zwingli won, and city hall imposed sanctions on the Swiss Brethren which was led by Grebel and Manz.
These anabaptists, as they were called (meaning re-baptizers) faced severe persecution including fines, imprisonment and banishment. But they continued re-baptizing. Eventually, on March 1526 the city council passed an edict making re-baptism punishable by drowning. On January 5, 1527, Manz was sentenced to death.
It was decided since he was a re-baptizer, that he should be killed by drowning. He was taken from prison to Lake Zürich and he freely called out to all who were listening that he was about to die for truth. His last words before he was drowned were, “my Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” He was around 29 years of age.