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Labadists were the followers of Jean de Labadie (1610-1674), a native of Boury, near Bordeaux, France. De Labadie had a Jesuit education. After his withdrawal from the order he preached on the freedom of the will and on grace as against the merit of works, and in 1650 he joined the French Reformed Church. Sixteen years later he was a preacher at Middelburg (Holland). Removed from office in 1668 because of his attacks on the secularized church, he founded a separatist church in Amsterdam, with well-attended meetings. When the magistrate forbade outsiders to attend worship in a home, the group found asylum with Princess Elisabeth, abbess at Herford, Westphalia, Germany, until they were banished as "sectarians, Anabaptists, and Quakers." Then they settled in Altona.

After Labadie's death the group with 162 members returned to Holland and located at the castle of Wiewerd. The colony was dissolved in 1732. There were several points of ideological contact between the Labadists and the Mennonites, since the Labadists tried to realize the ideal of the early Christian Church, requiring community of goods and a serious, holy life; but there is no evidence of any specific connections between the two groups. Labadie's ideas are best known from his book Le discernement d'une veritable église selon l'Ecriture (Amsterdam, 1668); in this book concerning the practice of free prophecy especially his pietism appears. His Manuel de piété (Middelburg, 1668), translated into German by G. Tersteegen under the title Handbüchlein der wahren Gottseligkeit, was once popular among the American Mennonites.


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Author(s) Christian Neff
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1958

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MLA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Labadists." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1958. Web. 3 Dec 2020.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1958). Labadists. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 December 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 266. All rights reserved.

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