March 20th, 2015 Headsman
While a minor milestone in the crowded history of Reformation martyrdoms, Freriks had a noteworthy posthumous effect: word of his heresy — adherence to adult, rather than infant, baptism — came to the ears of a Catholic priest, who later wrote that a man’s dying for this illicit doctrine led him to investigate it further.
To his amazement, the priest found no scriptural support for the established church’s practice of baptizing infants before they developed the maturity and volition to embrace Christ from the will of their own hearts. Christians are “cheated” by the loss of that opportunity of freely giving oneself in baptism, he later wrote.
This man, Menno Simons, would follow his discomfiting scrutiny of holy writ all the way out of the priesthood and into that same forbidden sect. His preeminence in the Anabaptist movement after its disastrous Münster rebellion — and particularly his pacifistic orientation — eventually ennobled him as the founder as well as the namesake of the Mennonites, a term that in Menno Simons’s own lifetime became all but synonymous for Dutch Anabaptism.
On this day..
- 1954: Ernst Jennrich, for 17 June 1953 - 2017
- 1916: Abraham Bevistein, child soldier - 2016
- 1899: Martha Place, the first woman electrocuted - 2014
- 2007: Taha Yasin Ramadan, Iraqi Vice-President - 2013
- 1428: Matteuccia di Francesco, San Bernardino casualty - 2012
- 1393: John of Nepomuk, Bohemian rhapsody - 2011
- 1897: Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, Pearl Bryan's murderers - 2010
- 1809: Mary Bateman, the Yorkshire Witch - 2009
- 1933: Giuseppe Zangara, who is not on Sons of Italy posters - 2008