Archive for the ‘Thomas Muntzer’ Category

Violence of the enthusiasts

October 22, 2008

Muntzer, the enthusiast and opponent of Luther, divorced the Word and Spirit. He said to Luther:

But God does disclose himself in the inner word in the abyss of the soul. The man who has not received the living witness of God knows really nothing about God, though he may have swallowed 100,000 Bibles. God comes in dreams to his beloved as he did to the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. He comes especially in affliction. That is why Brother Easychair (Muntzer’s characterization of Luther) rejects him. God pours out his Spirit upon all flesh, and now the Spirit reveals to the elect a mighty and irresistible reformation to come. This is the fulfilment of the prediction of Daniel about the fifth monarchy. You princes of Saxony, you need a new Daniel to disclose unto you this revelation and to show you your role. Think not that the power of God will be realized if your swords rust in the scabbard. Christ said that he came not to bring peace but a sword, and Deuteronomy says “You are a holy people. Spare not the idolaters, break down their altars, smash their images and burn them in the fire.” The sword is given to you to wipe out the ungodly. If you decline, it will be taken from you. Those who resist should be slaughtered without mercy as Elijah smote the priests of Baal. Priests and monks who mock the gospel should be killed. The godless have no right to live. May you like Nebuchadnezzar appoint a Daniel to inform you of the leadings of the Spirit.

p.264 Here I Stand – A Life of Martin Luther, Penguin 2002, Roland H Bainton

Not all the anabaptists were violent. Many were godly men and women who found themselves between the papists and the Reformers.