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Zwickau Prophets

Also known as “Storchites,” Luther dubbed these three German radical reformers “the Zwickau prophets.” Nicholas Storch, Thomas Drechsel, and Marcus Stübner, influenced by Taborite* and Waldensian* teachings, preached a radical biblicism which included rejection of infant baptism, denial of the need for a professional ministry and organized religion because all godly men were under the direct influence of the Spirit, special revelation through visions and dreams, the imminent return of Christ, and perhaps psychopannychism. Driven from the Saxon town of Zwickau where they originated and where they had influenced Thomas Münzer,* they visited Wittenberg in December 1521 during Luther's absence. Philip Melanchthon,* impressed with their biblical knowledge, gave them a hearing. However, their millennial enthusiasm and outspoken criticism of the Wittenberger's liturgy led to their expulsion in 1522. Little is known of their activities after this date except that they won a number of temporary converts including Gerhard Westerburg and Martin Cellarius.