chapter  Two
18 Pages

The Short-lived Ceremonialism of the Dompelaars

This chapter discusses the origins and early years of the schism. In 1648 a major schism began in the Flemish Mennonite congregation in Altona. The Dompelaars quickly developed a character very different from the congregation they left. The early history or the Dompelaars is more characteristic of the confessional age. The origins of this immersionist faction, as well as the early Flemish reactions against it, provide further evidence of the lively exchange of people and ideas between the Netherlands and northern Germany that was typical of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Unlike the Flemish, the Dompelaars disappeared within a century of the schism. Before it disappeared, this new group underwent an important transformation. While its first generation of leaders placed a premium on the proper celebration of the sacraments, the last Dompelaars were spiritualist Protestants who had little concern for the proper form of sacramental ceremonies.