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The Radical Reformation: Resources

By their undefined nature and difficult circumstances, the Radical branches of the Reformation took on a variety of forms, some of them rather extreme. The various radical reformers all shared a different view of the Church. They sought to separate themselves from the world; which included for them, all the Established Churches. They emphasized a return to a primitive Apostolic church, and a focus on Spirit-led laymen. Enthusiastically received by the poor classes, working men and some humanists, who were disenchanted with Luther and Zwingli after 1525 - most of their leaders and many thousands of their followers were cruelly martyred. Their concept of a free voluntary church made up of repentant and baptized adults; their rejection of infant baptism; their refusal to take oaths, pay taxes or serve as soldiers were interpreted as extremely rebellious and seditious in the Sixteenth Century. Many groups adopted a community of goods and property. Driven to the frontiers, many would eventually found refuge in England and the New World. [an "m" following the date indicated martyrdom.]