Hinwil is a village in the Grüningen district of the Swiss canton of Zürich, (1950 pop. 3,000; 2005 pop. 9,700), where the Anabaptist movement appeared soon after its rise. In July 1525 Conrad Grebel and Marx Boshart preached there with considerable success, and Hinwil soon became an Anabaptist center. Several witnesses reported on a debate between Grebel and the Pastor Johannes Brennwald of Hinwil. Grebel lamented to Brennwald that Zwingli had once led him to the truth, but had now "gone backwards" in many respects. When Brennwald on the issue of infant baptism based his position on the imperial mandate, Grebel replied: "You must not regard either my lords nor anyone else, but only do what God has commanded you. And what the mouth of God has spoken, that you must follow after." In conclusion he said, "It is a pitiful thing that I can receive no justice—neither civil justice, nor imperial justice, nor divine justice."
On Sunday, 8 October 1525, Georg Blaurock appeared in Hinwil. That was the day of the remarkable scene at Hinwil when Blaurock sent Brennwald from the pulpit and began to preach himself. In the ensuing debate on infant baptism, Blaurock said to Brennwald, "Thus you are the Anti-Christ and are misleading the people." This somewhat drastic expression on the one hand reveals the fearless mind of Blaurock, and on the other shows the rather violent character of the age.
On 6-8 November 1525, the great disputation on baptism took place in Zürich. Soon there was another scene in the Hinwil church. The Swiss Brethren returning from Zürich complained of their lack of freedom to speak. Brennwald was speaking on the baptism of infants, basing his argument on a comparison with Old Testament circumcision, with reference to John 7, when the Brethren interrupted him and openly complained in the church that they had not been permitted to speak. When Brennwald left the church with the threat that he would report this incident to the authorities, someone, as Brennwald reported, called after him, "He has accused them enough; he should be removed."
The Anabaptist movement was able to maintain itself in Hinwil for some time. In February 1527 over 30 Swiss Brethren were assembled here at one time. Toward the end of 1528 the Swiss Brethren were still meeting in Hinwil and vicinity. On 26 November 1528 the pastor reported to the magistrate Berger that a number of his subjects were not coming to church; among these people were some who had already been in prison in Zürich for neglecting the "Christian Church" and holding to rebaptism. But the movement that had begun so hopefully in Hinwil gradually declined and was ultimately extinguished.
Egli, Emil. Die Züricher Täufer. Zürich, 1878.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 317 f.
Muralt, Leonhard von and Walter Schmid. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer in der Schweiz. Erster Band Zürich. Zürich: S. Hirzel, 1952: see Index.
Cite This Article
Geiser, Samuel. "Hinwil (Canton Zurich, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 Mar 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hinwil_(Canton_Zurich,_Switzerland)&oldid=118160.
Geiser, Samuel. (1956). Hinwil (Canton Zurich, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 March 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hinwil_(Canton_Zurich,_Switzerland)&oldid=118160.
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