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Conrad Grebel


Conrad Grebel was one of the primary founders and early leaders of the Anabaptists. Born into a wealthy Swiss family of high social status, Grebel received a humanist university education. However, through the preaching of Zwingli, Grebel changed from a loose-living humanist university student to a devout Christian. In fact, Grebel became a close friend and supporter of Zwingli.

However, when Grebel saw that Zwingli was willing to reform the Zurich church no further than what the city council would allow, he and his friend, Felix Manz, decided to go ahead with a thorough reform without him. They began meeting in their homes with other like-minded seekers, in order to study the Scriptures together.

While Mantz and Grebel were pursuing their own restoration of biblical Christianity, a former priest, George Blaurock, came to Zurich to meet with Zwingli and join his reform movement. However, disgusted by Zwingli’s unwillingness to go against the Zurich government, Blaurock broke company with Zwingli. An early Anabaptist chronicle reports what happened next:

“[Blaurock] was told that there were other men more on fire than Zwingli. He inquired eagerly about them and met with them (that is, Conrad Grebel and Felix Mantz), to talk about questions of faith. They came to unity about these questions. In the fear of God they agreed that from God’s Word one must first learn true faith, expressed in deeds of love. They also learned that on confession of this faith, one should receive true Christian baptism as a covenant of a good conscience with God—serving him from then on with a holy Christian life. Finally, one must remain steadfast to the end, even in times of tribulation.

“One day when they were meeting, fear came over them and struck their hearts. They fell on their knees before the Almighty God in heaven and called upon him who knows all hearts. They prayed that God grant it to them to do his divine will. They also prayed that He would have mercy upon them. Neither flesh and blood nor human wisdom compelled them. Yet, they were well aware of what they would have to suffer for this.

“After the prayer, George Blaurock stood up and asked Conrad Grebel in the name of God to baptize him with true Christian baptism, upon his [confession of] faith and his recognition of the truth. With this request, he knelt down, and Conrad baptized him. ...Then the others turned to George in their turn, asking him to baptize them, which he did. And so, in great fear of God, together they surrendered themselves to the Lord. They confirmed one another for the service of the Gospel and began to teach the faith and to keep it. This was the beginning.”

When Zwingli learned of these baptisms, he tried to dissuade Grebel and the others from the course they were pursuing. When he was unable to dissuade them, Zwingli launched a fierce persecution against them, eventually having them condemned to death. Grebel spent the rest of his short life as a fugitive, in and out of prison. Worn and weary from his imprisonments and the hardships that were forced upon him, Grebel died of the plague in 1527—just a few years after he helped birth the Anabaptist movement.
S-March-Forward-Word March Forward with the Word! - The Life of Conrad Grebel - New!
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Andrew V Ste Marie, Mike Atnip.In the midst of tall castles, warring pikemen, dreadful plagues, church decay, and the superstitution and darkness of sixteen-century Europe, the Anabaptist revival burst into flames.

One of the first leaders was a partying university dropout who met Christ and was transformed into a fiery preacher, confronting and challenging the greatest reformers of the day. Follow Conrad Grebel as he follows Christ.

173 pp. Paperback

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