- Blaurock, Georg
- (c. 1492-152 9)founding Anabaptist leaderLittle is known of the early life of Georg Blaurock. In the 1520s, he was a monk at St. Lucius Church in Chur, Switzerland, where he was known as Georg from the House of Jacob (he got his surname from the blue coat or blauer rock he wore during a later disputation). In 1524, he joined up with Ulrich ZWINGLI, who as pastor of the main church in Zurich, Switzerland, had begun his reformation activities. He became part of the study/discussion group that included Conrad GREBEL and Feliz Manz, who decided that infant baptism was not biblical and should be abandoned.Infant baptism was an issue for Anabaptists. Traditionally, Christians saw the church as co-terminus with the state. Through baptism, an infant was formally made a member of the church and a citizen. By arguing against infant baptism, Blaurock was also calling for a new form of church limited to adults who had made a public profession of faith. In January 1525, after a public discussion of infant baptism and related issues, the church council decided to continue the practice.Nevertheless, the day after the decision, on January 18, 1525, Blaurock was the first person to receive the new adult baptism. His baptism by Conrad Grebel is seen as the initiation event of the Anabaptist movement. He then baptized Grebel, Manz, and the others present. The small group began to evangelize from door to door in Zurich.As the authorities became aware of this activity contravening the council decision, they moved to arrest the three men. Blaurock fled to the Austrian Tyrol but was eventually captured and burned at the stake at Clausen in 1529. Prior to his death, he made one significant convert, Jacob Hutter. Hutter emerged as leader of a local Anabaptist community, which developed a communal existence. They eventually moved to Russia and then the United States, where they live on through several groups of Hutterites.Further reading:■ George Blaurock, "The Beginnings of the Anabaptist Reformation, Reminiscences of George Blaurock: An Excerpt from the Hutterite Chronicle (1525)," in George H. Williams, ed., Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers: Documents Illustrative of the Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957), The Library of Christian Classics, vol. 25■ C. Arnold Snyder, Anabaptist History and Theology: An Introduction (Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 1995)■ J. Denny Weaver, Becoming Anabaptist: The Origin and Significance of Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1987)■ George H. Williams, The Radical Reformation (Kirksville, Mo.: Sixteenth Century Journal, 1999).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.