The Baptists, Sebastian Franck and Marguerite D’Angoulême

  • H. A. Enno van Gelder


A movement occupying a separate place in the religious life of the 16th century, but certainly not without a close connection with what has already been said, is that of the Baptists. If the question of philosophy of life or doctrine of salvation is raised, then the Baptists, of whatever kind, certainly belong to those who see the essence of Christianity in the promise of remission from sinfulness and death, the certainity of immortality and admission to the heavenly home, thanks to the mystery of the Death upon the Cross and the resurrection of Christ. But more than all those who followed Wittenberg or Rome (with whom they profess the certainty and unreasoned acceptance of this miracle received from supernatural grace), the Baptists testify to the unconditional exigence of manifesting faith through complete rebirth; they put the predominating nature of the ethical element in the foreground, even more than Erasmus did. This blending of the two extremes, which was typical of them, is expressed in some articles of the Credo dating from 1527,1 which were framed by a former monk in South Germany. “Baptism,” he says “will be given to all those to whom penitence and alteration of life (the italics are mine) are preached and who believe in the truth that their sins are removed by Jesus Christ, and to all those who wish to walk in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The sentence of banishment from the community of the brothers was to be pronounced only if a brother or sister “haer ontgaet” (deviates), namely from the narrow path of virtue.


Religious Life Eternal Life Narrow Path Religious Duty Ethical Element 
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  1. 1.
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1961

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  • H. A. Enno van Gelder

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