Church History

Research Article

The Nicolsburg Articles a Problem of Eary Anabaptist History

Robert Friedmanna1

a1 Western Michigan University

In the middle of May, 1527, a religious debate took place at the castle of the manorial Lords of Liechtenstein at Nicolsburg, Moravia, which aroused widest attention and strong passions. On the one side was Dr. Baithasar Hubmaier, highly respected by the Lords of Liechtenstein and by a large section of the city of Nicolsburg which Hubmaier not so long ago had congregated into a peculiar Anabaptist (mass-) church of his own creation. He was supported by his fellow believers Martin Göschl, formerly auxiliary bishop in Moravia, and Hans Spittlemayer, previously Catholic clergyman but now a coworker with Hubmaier.On the other side of the debate was Hans Hut, the outstanding Anabaptist missioner-apostle of South Germany and Austria, his friends and fellow-believers Oswald Glaidt, Hans Nadler, and several more, all of whom disagreed strongly with the way Hubmaier had guided the “radical reformation” in the city of Nicolsburg. We do not know exactly the topic of this debate and most likely will never know it with certainty. The Chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren claims that the topic had been the issue of the “sword,” that is, the question whether or not a Christian may serve as a soldier or as a civic magistrate who, too, is bound to use the “sword” to enforce law and order. It is said that Hubmaier defended the sword even for “radical” Christians while Hut was passionately opposed to it.