Ring, Melchior

Ring, Melchior, a prominent Anabaptist leader in the landgravate of Hesse in the period of the Reformation, was at first a school teacher and chaplain at Hersfeld. Having become a zealous disciple of Thomas Munzer (q.v.), he appeared in Sweden in 1524 in company with M. Hoffmann and Knipperdolling (q.v.), and by the fanaticism of his sermons excited a riot in Stockholm against images, which he justified as being the work of the Spirit of God. Towards the close of 1524 he returned to Germany in order to participate as a leader in the Peasants' War; and, after the bloody catastrophe at Frankenhausen, he fled to Switzerland, where he found a fruitful soil and a cordial reception. A murder committed by one of his adherents, professedly in obedience to the inspiration of God, obliged Ring, in 1527; to flee to the neighborhood of his early home. He now became a peripatetic preacher, made the teaching of Luther the subject of bitter attack, characterized the evangelical preachers as the expounders of a corrupt and dead faith, and by such means secured a large following. Disputations held with him failed to convince, and a threat of expatriation failed to alarm him. He eventually fled to East Friesland, which had become a rallying place for Anabaptists generally, and while there employed every method to inspire his followers with a fanatical contempt for Scripture and the Lord's supper. It was difficult to restrain the fanatical tendencies thus implanted in the populace; but the Lutherans finally secured a preponderating influence, and Ring was compelled to flee once more. He labored in his characteristic method in Hesse and Saxony and met with some success, but was repeatedly imprisoned. He would seem to have died in connection with the Münster revolt. The teaching of Ring may be briefly stated as follows. Original sin involves no condemnation for persons of immature mind, etc. The curse in Genesis 3 imposes spiritual death only, consequently death does not come to children on account of sin. Infant baptism is blasphemous, and cannot be justified on scriptural grounds. Christ is not God according to his nature, and does not derive human nature from Mary. He died and suffered, not for purposes of redemption and forgiveness of sins, but simply as an example and type; and they who would profit by his work must follow him with like works and sufferings. Christ's body and blood are not present in the sacrament. Man has the ability by nature to prepare himself to believe and come to the Spirit of God. See Krohn, Gesch. d. fanat. u. enthus. Wiedertlufer, etc. (Leips. 1758); Mittheilungen aus d. prot. Sektengesch. in Hessen, in Niedner's Zeitschr. f. d. hist. Theologie, 1858, p. 541-553, and 1860, p. 272 sq.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.