Born in 1498, Conrad Grebel is known as the father of the anabaptists, or re-baptizers. He was originally a student of Zwingli, but things changed in 1525. There were about 15 men who broke ranks with Zwingli over the issues of infant baptism and the mass.
In a public debate in front of the city council, Zwingli argued against Grebel, Manz and George Blaurock. The city council eventually agreed with Zwingli on the issues of infant baptism and re-baptizing. These men and their followers were ordered to stop preaching re-baptism of adults (those who had been baptized as infants), and stop preaching that infant baptism was wrong. They were further ordered that any unbaptized infants must be submitted for baptism within 8 days.
Still believing that Zwingli and the city authorities were wrong, George Blaurock asked Grebel to baptize him. This was the first recorded re-baptism. Grebel went on to baptize hundreds of people. Eventually Grebel was arrested, and sentenced to life in prison. That sentence, as it turned out was short lived. He contracted the plague and died a few months later. He was 28 years of age.
Grebel is yet another example of the tumultuous times of the Reformation. The struggle over many new ideas caused much discussion, debate, and sadly sometimes much error.