04 - Täuferhöhle (Anabaptist Cave) - Secret Place for Worship
– Saturday, June 17, 2023, we will walk up the hill to see where Swiss Brethren (Anabaptists/Mennonites) met to worship in secret. –
The German word Täufer = “Baptist” in English, not Baptist as a denomination but Baptist as “one who baptizes.” In Switzerland, beginning in 1525 a Wiedertäufer (English = Anabaptist) was a person who rejected the infant baptism of the Catholic Church or the Reformed Church of Switzerland. They later became known as Mennonites.
To reject the baptism of the State Church, whether it be the Catholic or the Reformed Church, was so offensive to the State churches that people who followed the Anabaptist faith were hunted down and imprisoned, tortured, and even killed by drowning or burning at a stake. Later, lands of Anabaptists were confiscated by the State and these sincere Christ-followers were expelled from the country, often with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
Were these people so bad that they deserved these kinds of persecutions? No – most of them were simple people who believed much like most evangelical Christians in America of our generation. And they were peace-loving pacifists who were trying to follow Jesus and love people like He loved them.
The Baptist World Alliance’s 2018 annual gathering started with Sunday morning worship in a cave outside Zurich, Switzerland, where early Anabaptists worshipped after fleeing persecution in Zurich in 1526. About 100 Baptists from around the world attended the service that included historical reflection, a homily on religious persecution today, songs, and times of prayer. This video features the two moments of singing. The first song is seen from just outside the cave looking in (with the sound of the water running that helped disguise the sounds of that early secret worship). The second song is seen from the back of the cave.