Yesterday we watched The Radicals, a movie that tells the story of Michael and Margaretha Sattler. I have seen it now more than twenty times and I am still gripped by the personal story amidst the story of the Anabaptist movement amidst the macro-story of the sixteenth century upheaval in central Europe. What is your response to the movie?
Here are a few quotes from the movie that are memorable for me:
“Anyone who reads can become a theologian!” “Scripture without interpretation incites rebellion!” The Abbot responding to the idea that Scripture is being put into the hands of the common people.
“A true church cannot be built on violence.” “When we accept the power of the sword, we also invite its corruption.” Michael Sattler in conversation with Wilhelm Reublin about the nonviolent nature of the church.
There is an interesting exchange between Margaretha and the Countess that relates to my previous post in regards to women in the Anabaptist movement. The Countess says that she feels sorry for Margaretha, having to suffer in prison because of her husband’s beliefs, and offers her freedom and employment in her home if she will recant her beliefs.” I know what it’s like to have one’s thoughts dictated by my husband.”
To which Margaretha replies, “I do not follow my beliefs because of my husband. I follow my husband [to martyrdom] because of my beliefs.”
“Then I do not feel sorry for you, I feel envy.” The Countess sadly replies.
For me, one of the most powerful scenes in the movie is the courtroom drama between Sattler and the clerk of the court, Eberhart Hoffman. This dialogue is taken almost directly from the Martyr’s Mirror which adds some historical authenticity and poignancy.
Sattler: We must not defend ourselves against the Turks and others of our persecutors… If warring was right I would rather take the field against the so-called Christians, who persecute, apprehend and kill pious Christians, than against the Turks… The Turk is a true Turk, knows nothing of the Christian faith; and is a Turk after the flesh; but you, who would be Christians, and who make your boast of Christ, persecute the pious witnesses of Christ, are Turks of the spirit.
Hoffman: O you infamous, desperate villain and monk, shall we dispute with you? The hangman shall dispute with you, I assure you.
Sattler: God’s will be done.
Hoffman: It were well if you had never been born.
Sattler: God knows what is good.
Hoffman: You arch-heretic, you have seduced the pious; if they would only now forsake their error, and accept grace.
Sattler: Grace is with God alone.
Hoffman: You desperate villain and arch-heretic, I tell you if there were no hangman here, I would hang you myself, and think that I had done God service.
Sattler: God will judge aright.