Obbe Philips
Obbe Philips (also spelled Philipsz and Filips) was one of the early founders of Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 Anabaptism. He was the illegitimate son of a Roman Catholic priest from Leeuwarden. Philips studied medicine, and became a barber and a surgeon. He married in 1530 and set up his business in Leeuwarden.

Obbe Philips became interested in the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, and converted to Anabaptism late in 1533. He was probably baptized by Bartholomeus Boekbinder or Willem de Kuyper, emissaries of Jan Matthys
Jan Matthys
Jan Matthys was a charismatic Anabaptist leader, regarded by his followers as a prophet....

. Menno Simons
Menno Simons
Menno Simons was an Anabaptist religious leader from the Friesland region of the Low Countries. Simons was a contemporary of the Protestant Reformers and his followers became known as Mennonites...

 was ordained around 1537 by Obbe Philips, and was probably baptized earlier by Philips also. Obbe also ordained his brother, Dirk Philips
Dirk Philips
Dirk Philips was an early Anabaptist writer and theologian. He was one of the peaceful disciples of Melchior Hoffman and later joined Menno Simons in laying out practical doctrines for what would become the Mennonite church.- Biography :...

, and baptized David Joris
David Joris
David Joris was an important Anabaptist leader in the Netherlands before 1540.-Life:Joris was probably born in Flanders, the son of Marytje and Georgius Joris de Koman, an amateur actor and shopkeeper...

. Obbe and Dirk were among the peaceful disciples of Melchior Hoffman
Melchior Hoffman
Melchior Hoffman was an Anabaptist prophet and a visionary leader in northern Germany and the Netherlands.-Life:Hoffman was born at Schwäbisch Hall in Franconia before 1500...

 (the more radical having set up the kingdom in Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

), and as early as 1534 were preaching against establishing God's kingdom by force. Hoffman introduced the first self-sustaining Anabaptism to the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, when he taught and practiced believers' baptism in Emden in East Frisia
East Frisia
East Frisia or Eastern Friesland is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony....


Obbe led the Dutch Anabaptists until around 1540, but lost faith in the Anabaptist way and withdrew from the church. Around 1560, Philips wrote his Confession: Recollections of the Years 1533-1536, which was published after his death by Cornelius Claesz. In it he wrote, "I am still miserable of heart today, that I…was so shamefully and miserably deceived…I did not stop forthwith but permitted myself to bring poor souls to this — that I through the importuning of the brethren, commissioned to the office: Dietrich Philips in Amsterdam; David Joris in Delft; and Menno Simons in Groningen…It is this which is utter grief to my heart, and which I will lament before my God as long as I live…" He was dubbed a Demas
Demas, mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament of the Bible, appears to have been a man involved in the ministry as a companion of Paul...

 by Menno (after the disciple Demas, who forsook the Apostle Paul). In his Confession he spoke harshly against revolutionaries and false prophets, but not against the peaceful Anabaptists such as followed Menno. His last years remain a mystery, but probably held as an individual a "spiritualist" belief similar to Anabaptism. He died in 1568.

The Anabaptists that would become known as Mennonites were originally called Obbenites or Obbenists. W. J. Kühler, in Geschiedenis I (1932), concluded that "in Obbe the brotherhood certainly lost its most appealing leader."

External links

  • Obbe Philips in Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
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