15.2.2 The Anabaptist Movement had the first modern church to use the congregational form of government

As persecution increased in Switzerland the brother and spread to the southeast, Arabia, and North and the South Germany. Dr Balthasar Hummeier, around Easter time, 1525, was a priest in the Waldshut area.

“Upon accepting faith baptism as a visible sign of the restored Christian community, Hoffmeyer resigned as priest and immediately he was reelected as minister by the congregation. This is a most significant point in Anabaptist history, for it marked the beginning of the congregational principle of government.”[1]

Prior to this point, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches all maintained control with a strong ecclesiastical church government. In one fell swoop, an existing parish changed from being under this ecclesiastical control to being an Anabaptist church by the use of congregational rule.

Although not recognized in the Church history books I have I believe this act was probably a precursor of the Congregational Movement that generated out of England in the 17th century.

[1] The Anabaptist View of the Church, Franklin Hamlin Littell, Star King Press, Boston, 1958, p. 17

© copyright 2010 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved.

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