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An Anabaptist Confession of Faith – The Schleitheim Articles (1527)

Drafted in 1527 as a union document, the Schleitheim Articles are the most famous Anabaptist statement of faith. The Articles are attributed to Michael Sattler (c. 1495-1527), a former Benedictine monk who was executed at Rottenburg in Swabia shortly after they were composed. The emotional language of the Schleitheim Articles sets them apart from the more traditional Marburg Articles.

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Brotherly Union of a Number of Children of God Concerning Seven Articles

Joy, peace and mercy from our Father through the atonement of the blood of Christ Jesus, together with the gifts of the Spirit (Who is sent from the Father to all believers for their strength, comfort, and perseverance in all turmoil until the end, Amen) be with all who love God, children of light, who are scattered everywhere as before ordered of God our Father, where they are with one mind assembled together in one God and Father of us all: Grace and peace of heart be with you all, Amen.

Beloved in the lord, brethren and sisters: First and foremost we are always concerned for your consolation and the assurance of your conscience (which was previously misled) so that you may not always remain foreigners to us and by right almost completely excluded, but that you may turn again to the true implanted members of Christ, who have been armed through patience and knowledge of themselves, and have therefore again been united with us in the power of a godly Christian spirit and zeal for God.

It is also revealed with what cunning the devil has turned us aside, so that he might destroy and bring to an end the work of God which in mercy and grace has partly begun in us. But Christ, the true Shepherd of our souls, Who has begun this in us, will certainly direct the same and teach [us] to His honor and our salvation, Amen.

Dear brethren and sisters, we who have been assembled in the Lord at Schlaten am Randen, make known in points and articles to all who love God that as concerns us we are of one mind to abide in the Lord as God’s obedient children, und suen und tochtern, as those that have been and shall be separated from the world in everything, in alweg thuon und lassen. To God alone be praise and glory without the contradiction of any brethren, and all will be in harmony. In this we have perceived the oneness of the Spirit of our Father and of our common Christ has been with our spirit. For the Lord is the Lord of peace and not of quarreling, as Paul points out. That you may understand in what article this has been formulated you should observe and note.

A very great offense has been introduced by certain false brethren among us, so that some have turned aside from the faith, in the way they intend to practice and observe the freedom of the Spirit and of Christ. But such have missed the truth and (to their condemnation) are given over to the lasciviousness and self-indulgence of the flesh. They think faith and love may do and permit everything, and nothing will harm them nor condemn them, since they are believers.

Observe, you who belong to God in Christ Jesus, that faith in the Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ does not take such form. It does not produce and result in such things as these false brethren and sisters do and teach. Guard yourselves and be warned of such people, for they do not serve our Father, but their father, the devil.

But you are not that way. For they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. You understand me well and the brethren whom we mean. Separate yourselves from them for they are perverted. Petition the Lord that they may have the knowledge which leads to repentance and [pray] for us that we may have constancy to persevere in the way which we have espoused, for the honor of God and of Christ, His Son, Amen.

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