Adam Pastor (d. 1560/70)

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Engraving from Apocalypsis, or The revelation of certain notorious advancers of heresie. London, 1655.
Scan provided  by the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Adam Pastor, originally called Roelof (Rudolph) Martens or Martin, born at Dorpen in Westphalia, was a Catholic priest at Aschendorf, gave up the office in 1533 and joined the Anabaptists, probably in Münster. He was one of Jan Bockelson's emissaries, but soon freed himself of Münsterite influence and united with the peaceful Anabaptists. Between 1543 and 1545 (in 1542 according to Vos, p. 102) he was ordained as elder by Menno Simons, took an active part in the conference at Lübeck, opposing Blesdijk, and was also at the conferences at Emden and Goch in 1547, at which Menno was chairman. At the latter he was banned on the charge of denying the Trinity, but he continued his work as an Anabaptist preacher, especially along the Lower Rhine and in Münster. In Odenkirchen he headed a congregation which existed for a long time. In 1552 he had a meeting in Lübeck with Menno Simons where the deity of Christ and the Trinity were the subjects of a disputation. On this disputation see the second part of his only extant writing (with the exception of his Een Concordantie oft Register der ganscher Bibel, 1559), Underscheit tusschen rechte leer unde valsche leer der twistigen articulen (published by Samuel Cramer in Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica V, 361-581 with an excellent introduction, 317-59). The report of the disputation occupies pages 517-581. Other writings from his pen were: Disputation mit Dirk  Philipps, Von der Barmherzigkeit Gottes, Von Menschengeboten, and Dit zijn die Articulen van Davidt Jorisz leere . . .(originally written in Dutch), none of which have survived. He spent his last years wandering. He died between 1560 and 1570, probably in Münster, and was buried in Ueberwasser. His followers were known as Adamites.


Bock, F. S. Historia Antitrinitariorum. Leipzig, 1784: I, 589-591.

Brok, Theo. "Adam Pastor's Vnderscheit/Onderscheet: the reputation of an Anabaptist bishop alongside Menno Simons and Dirk Philips." Mennonite Quarterly Review 94, no. 2 (April 2020): 207-232.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1900): 105.

Herzog, J. J. and Albert Hauck, Realencyclopädie für Protestantische Theologie and Kirche, 24 vols. 3. ed. Leipzig: J. H. Hinrichs, 1896-1913: v. 14, 759 f.

Horsch, John. Menno Simons, his life, labors, and teachings. Scottdale, PA: The Author, 1916: 194-203.

Krahn, Cornelius Menno Simons (1494-1561) : ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Theologie der Taufgesinnten. Karlsruhe, 1936: 67 if.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 279, 284-90 et passim.

Ott, J. H. Annales Anabaptistici. Basel, 1672.

Rembert, Wiedertäufer; K. Vos, Menno Simons (Leiden, 1914) 100 ff.

The best discussion of Adam Pastor and his theology is that by S. Cramer in Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, 10 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: v. 5, 317-359. Vols. 1-6 available in full electronic text at

Wilbur, E. M., A History of Unitarianism. Cambridge, 1946: 40-48.

See Mennonite Quarterly Review 22:148f.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Harold S. Bender
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian and Harold S. Bender. "Adam Pastor (d. 1560/70)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 25 Jul 2024.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Harold S. Bender. (1955). Adam Pastor (d. 1560/70). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 10. All rights reserved.

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