Balthasar Hubmaier

Hubmaier was born of poor parents in Augsburg, Germany. Although little is known of his early life, he was an unusual student, receiving the Master’s degree in 1511 from the University of Freiburg and the Doctor of Theology degree two years later from the University of Ingolstadt, where he became professor of theology. Hubmaier was a student of Eck, the infamous Roman Catholic theologian, who debated Martin Luther in Leipzig.

Soon his fame as a pulpit orator grew, and he was called to Regensburg as chief pastor in the cathedral. During these years a great change in his religious convictions took place as the result of his study of the Scriptures. There is no record of the date of his conversion; however, in the year 1522 he began to openly preach that the Roman Catholic Church had departed from the doctrines and practices of the Scriptures. He carried into the Reformation many from the parish in Waldshut. Hubmaier made a trip to Switzerland where he visited Erasmus and Zwingli, and soon thereafter he embraced Protestant theology. He rejected infant baptism and on Easter, 1525, he was baptized and he immediately immersed about three hundred followers. He also administered the Lord’s Supper to his followers, even though the Catholic Church kept the cup from the laity. He traveled over Central and Western Europe and was continually in danger from the various religious and political authorities who constantly sought to arrest him.

In 1526 he fled to Moravia, and as the result of his ministry in his new home, six thousand converts were baptized in one year. He was the author of many articles and pamphlets condemning and criticizing Rome. In 1528 authorities arrested him in Vienna, condemned him as a heretic, and on March 10 burned him at the stake. His faithful wife, who encouraged him to remain true to the Word of God, was drowned in the Danube River eight days later. He was faithful to the end and his influence continued in the lives of those he reached through his preaching and godly example.

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