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Encyclopedia > Menno Simmons
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Menno Simons - wood engraving by Christoffel van Sichem 1610
Menno Simons - wood engraving by Christoffel van Sichem 1610

Menno Simons (1496January 31, 1561) was an Anabaptist religious leader from Friesland (today a province of The Netherlands). His followers became known as Mennonites. Cf. Protestant reformers. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Image File history File links MennoSimons. ... Image File history File links MennoSimons. ... 1496 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... January 31 is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events The Edict of Orleans suspends the persecution of the Huguenots. ... Anabaptists (Greek ανα (again) +βαπτιζω (baptize), thus, re-baptizers [1], German: Wiedertäufer) are Christians of the Radical Reformation. ... Capital Leeuwarden Queens Commissioner drs. ... Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). ... The Protestant Reformation, begun 1517 with the nailing of Martin Luthers 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, divided the Roman Catholic Church and created the Protestant branch of churches. ...

Contents

Birth to priesthood

Menno Simonszoon (Simon's son) was born in Witmarsum, Westergo, Friesland. Friesland was ravaged by war in the late 15th and early 16th century. Landsknecht soldiers haunted the Frisian lands in the 1490s to force the 'Free' Frisians to accept the duke of Saxony-Meissen as their head-of-state. The duke was the governor of the Netherlands for the Habsburg family. One of the archenemies of the Habsburgs, the Duke of Guelders invaded Friesland in 1515 and conquered half of it. The other half was ceded by Saxony to the Habsburgers. The Frisians tried to regain their freedom but they were too weak and eventually accepted the imperial authority of the Habsburg emperor Charles V. Simons grew up in this disillusioned and war torn country. Very little is known concerning his parents or his childhood. He was of poor peasant parentage, and his education was limited to his training to become a priest. Ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1524 at Utrecht, he was then made a chaplain in his father's village Pingjum. Wûnseradiel is a municipality in the Fryslân province of the northern Netherlands, at the eastern end of the Afsluitdijk. ... Capital Leeuwarden Queens Commissioner drs. ... The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen; Sorbian: Swobodny Stat Sakska) is a federal state of Germany. ... Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy; also used as the flag of the Austrian Empire until the Ausgleich of 1867. ... For the present province also called Guelders in English, see Gelderland. ... Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. ... Roman Catholic priests in clerical clothing. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... Utrecht ( (help· info)) is a municipality and the capital city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. ... A chaplain is typically a member of the clergy serving a group of people who are not organized as a mission or church; lay chaplains are also found in some settings such as universities. ...


Theological efforts

Around 1526 or 1527, questions surrounding the doctrine of transubstantiation caused Menno to begin a serious and in-depth search of the scriptures, which he confessed he had not previously studied, even being a priest. At this time he arrived at what some have termed an "evangelical humanist" position. Transubstantiation (in Latin, transsubstantiatio) is the change of the substance of bread and wine into that of the body and blood of Christ that, according to the belief of the Roman Catholic Church, occurs in the Eucharist and that is called in Greek (see Metousiosis). ... The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Menno's first knowledge of the concept of "rebaptism", which he said "sounded very strange to me", came in 1531. This came through the means of hearing of the beheading of Sicke Freerks Snijder at Leeuwarden for being "rebaptized". A renewed search of the scriptures left Menno Simons believing that infant baptism is not in the Bible. He discussed the issue with his pastor, searched the Church Fathers, and read the works of Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger. While still pondering the issue, he was transferred to Witmarsum. Here he came into direct contact with Anabaptists, preaching and practicing adult baptism. Later, some of the Münsterite disciples came there as well. While he regarded them as misled and fanatical, he was drawn to their zeal and their view on the Bible, the Church, and discipleship. When his brother Pieter was among a group of Anabaptists killed near Bolsward in 1535, Menno experienced a spiritual and mental crisis. He said he "prayed to God with sighs and tears that He would give to me, a sorrowing sinner, the gift of His grace, create within me a clean heart, and graciously through the merits of the crimson blood of Christ forgive..." Leeuwarden ( (help· info), Frisian: Ljouwert) is a municipality and the capital city of the Dutch province of Friesland. ... An infant is held over a baptismal font as holy water is poured over the head at a Catholic Church in the United States in 2004 In Christian religious practice, infant baptism is the baptism of young children or infants. ... The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. ... The (Early) Church Fathers or Fathers of the Church are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian Church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. ... Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546) was a German monk,[1] priest, professor, theologian, and church reformer. ... Heinrich Bullinger Heinrich Bullinger (July 18, 1504 - September 17, 1575) was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldrych Zwingli as head of the Zurich church. ... Baptism in early Christian art. ... The Münster Rebellion was an attempt by radical Anabaptists to establish a theocracy in the German city of Münster. ... Bolsward (Frisian: Boalsert) is a municipality and a city in the northern Netherlands. ...


Menno Simons rejected the Catholic church and the priesthood in January of 1536, casting his lot with the Anabaptists. His date of baptism is unknown, but by October of 1536 his connection with Anabaptism was well-known. In that month Herman and Gerrit Jans were arrested and charged with having lodged Simons. He was probably baptized not long after leaving Witmarsum in early 1536. He was ordained around 1537 by Obbe Philips. Obbe and his brother, Dirk Philips, were among the peaceful disciples of Melchior Hoffman (the more radical having set up the kingdom in Münster). It was Hoffman who introduced the first self-sustaining Anabaptism to the Netherlands, when he taught and practiced believers' baptism in Emden in East Frisia. Obbe Philips (ca. ... Dirk Philips (1504-1568) was an early Anabaptist writer and theologian. ... Melchior Hoffman or Hofmann (c. ... Town Hall in the Prinzipalmarkt Münster: the Prinzipalmarkt with St Lamberts church Münster is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ... Emden is a city and seaport in the northwest of Germany, on river Ems. ... The landscape to the north of Greetsiel, in East Frisia. ...


Menno evidently rose quickly to become a man of influence. Before 1540, David Joris, an Anabaptist of the "inspirationist" variety, had been the most influential leader in the Netherlands. By 1544, the term Mennonite or Mennist was used in a letter to refer to the Dutch Anabaptists. David Joris (ca. ...

The house that Menno Simons is believed to have worked in
The house that Menno Simons is believed to have worked in

Twenty-five years after his renunciation of Catholicism, Menno died at Wüstenfelde, Schleswig-Holstein, and was buried in his garden. He was married to a woman named Gertrude, and they had at least three children, two daughters and a son. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2016x1512, 778 KB) Mennokate near Bad Oldesloe, Germany - the house mennonite founder Menno Simons is said to have worked in photographed by myself File links The following pages link to this file: Menno Simons List of Christian thinkers in science Metadata... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2016x1512, 778 KB) Mennokate near Bad Oldesloe, Germany - the house mennonite founder Menno Simons is said to have worked in photographed by myself File links The following pages link to this file: Menno Simons List of Christian thinkers in science Metadata...


Menno Simons influence on Anabaptism in the Low Countries was so great that Baptist historian William Estep suggested that their history be divided into three periods: "before Menno, under Menno, and after Menno". He is especially significant in coming to the Anabaptist movement in the north in its most troublesome days, and helping not only to sustain it, but also to establish it as a viable Radical Reformation movement. The Low Countries, the historical region of de Nederlanden, are the countries (see Country) on low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers. ... William Roscoe Estep (February 12, 1920 - July 14, 2000) was an American Baptist historian and professor. ... The Radical Reformation was a 16th century response to both the perceived corruption in the Roman Catholic Church and the expanding Protestant movement led by Martin Luther. ...


Quotes

  • "True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked, it feeds the hungry, it comforts the sorrowful, it shelters the destitute, it serves those that harm it, it binds up that which is wounded, it has become all things to all people."
  • "The regenerated do not go to war, nor engage in strife. They are children of peace who have beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning forks, and know no war. ... Our weapons are not weapons with which cities and countries may be destroyed, walls and gates broken down, and human blood shed in torrents like water. But they are weapons with which the spiritual kingdom of the devil is destroyed. ... Christ is our fortress; patience our weapon of defense; the Word of God our sword. ... Iron and metal spears and swords we leave to those who, alas, regard human blood and swine’s blood of well-nigh equal value."
  • "We who were formerly no people at all, and who knew of no peace, are now called to be ... a church ... of peace. True Christians do not know vengeance. They are the children of peace. Their hearts overflow with peace. Their mouths speak peace, and they walk in the way of peace."

References

  • Dutch Anabaptism: Origin, Spread, Life and Thought (1450–1600), by Cornelius Krahn
  • The Anabaptist Story: An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism, by William Roscoe Estep ISBN 0-8028-0886-7
  • The Complete Writings of Menno Simons…, translated by Leonard Verduin and edited by John C. Wenger, with a biography by Harold S. Bender ISBN 0-8361-1353-5

External links

  • Menno Simons in Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
  • Menno on the Net: A directory of web pages about Menno Simons
  • Menno Simons Biography from the Church of the Brethren.net
  • Menno Simons by Victor Shepherd

  Results from FactBites:
 
Menno Simons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (895 words)
Menno Simonszoon (Simon's son) was born in Witmarsum, Friesland.
Menno Simons rejected the Catholic Church and the priesthood in January of 1536, and cast his lot with the Anabaptists.
Menno Simons influence on Anabaptism in the Low Countries was so great that Baptist historian William Estep suggested that their history be divided into three periods: "before Menno, under Menno, and after Menno".
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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