Anabaptist Extraordinary: Balthasar Hubmaier, 1480-1528

G.R. Potter tells the story of a Bavarian religious reformer, burnt in Vienna for heresy.

One of the key demands of the Protestant Reformers was that the Bible should be the principal guide to Christians and the sole source of doctrine and conduct of the church. Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli and Calvin all accepted implicitly the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. The Old and New Testaments provided a complete guide to faith and to action: tradition could be ignored, the hierarchy was unnecessary; guided by the Holy Spirit any one could find everything needed to secure eternal salvation in the pages of the Bible.

The sixteenth century witnessed the wide-spread popularity of the printed book; and the translation of the Bible into the vernacular meant that it could now be read, for the first time, by many people. Further, the renewed study of Greek and Hebrew, neglected in the middle ages, enabled men to study the Bible in the original. They were convinced that they had before them the exact text, sure, unalterable and infallible. It was the very word of God.

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