Bader, Johannes (1470-1545)
Johannes Bader (1470-1545) was the reformer of the city of Landau (Palatinate), in Zweibrücken (Realencyclopedie für Protestantische Theologie and Kirche, II, 353). In 1514 he was appointed chaplain in Zweibrücken and at the same time tutor to Prince Louis II; in 1518 he accepted the call to become pastor of the Stiftskirche at Landau. After 1521 he turned more and more definitely toward evangelical doctrine. Repeatedly he was summoned to Speyer to justify himself. But he refused to surrender his evangelical conviction, and was therefore excommunicated on 17 April 1524. He was especially interested in young people.
At Easter 1526 he published the first Protestant catechism entitled Ein Gesprächbüchlein vom Anfang, revealing himself as a resolute opponent of Anabaptist doctrine. In 1527 he published his lengthy polemic, Brüderliche Warnung vor dem neuen abgöttischen Orden der Wiedertäufer. Hans Denck, banished from Strasbourg, had recently arrived at Landau by way of Bergzabern. Bader's opposition to him brought about a public disputation on 20 January 1527 which dealt chiefly with infant baptism. Bader wrote a justification of the doctrine, and Denck refuted it. Bader published the proceedings in the polemic mentioned above. Nevertheless Denck seems to have made a favorable impression on him.
But the Anabaptists as a whole Bader most resolutely opposed. To that end he engaged the aid of the council, securing from it the order that no citizen or inhabitant of the city be permitted to harbor a person suspected of Anabaptist leanings, or to hold a conversation with him, on penalty of serious punishment. All Anabaptists were banished from the city.
Later Bader became a close associate of Caspar Schwenckfeld. In an epistle to Bader, 24 September 1531, Schwenckfeld definitely defended the Anabaptists in spite of their error on infant baptism. His influence was evident in Bader’s new catechism (1544), especially in the doctrines of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. His successor, whom he had himself selected, Joh. Liebmann, a resolute follower of Schwenckfeld, abandoned baptism and the Lord’s Supper completely.
Gelbert, J. P. Magister Johann Baders Leben und Schriften. Neustadt a. H.: Gottschick-Witter, 1868.
Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz. Frankfurt, 1908: 15-21.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 109.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 210-211. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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