By Cornelius J. Dyck
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Extra info for An Introduction to Mennonite History: A Popular History of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites
In 1529 he completed a beautifully executed German Bible, several years ahead of Luther. His Bible was long a favorite with Anabaptists. large numbers in the 1960s and 1970s through the writings of Mennonite and non-Mennonite scholars. Partly through a new interest in social history in general, greater attention was given to social, economic, and political factors in the rise of Anabaptism also. Further studies showed the wide diversity of thought and practice among early Anabaptists, which called for new criteria about the identity of the movement.
It was believed that water baptism saved the infant from hell and that in the mass the bread and wine became the actual flesh and blood of Christ (transubstantiation). Extreme unction became the last rite to prepare for death, instead of a prayer for healing, as taught in James 5:1415. The spiritual had become almost entirely objective and mechanical. But the sacraments were necessary for the functioning of society, a Page 20 tradition, ritual or structure without which things would have fallen apart, the glue which held Christendom together.
Zwingli also would have nothing to do with the Grebel circle's secret proposal to bring about reform by working to elect a "godfearing" council which would hasten reform, obviously a political strategy. Consequently Mantz wrote to the council itself asking for them to initiate dialogue on the baptism question. The council did indeed issue a call to a debate for January 17, 1525, but it was already clear that their minds were made up against any change in practice. At that non-debate the council forbade the Bible study meetings and gave Reublin and Brötli, as non-citizens, eight days to leave the Zurich area.