Schleitheim Articles

   The Schleitheim Articles were the first official confession of faith of the Reformation Anabaptists. They were issued on February 24, 1527, by a group of Swiss Brethren in Schleitheim, Canton Schaffhausen, and were an attempt to state the basic beliefs that distinguished the persecuted movement from both the Protestants and Catholics. The document was officially titled the "Brotherly Union of a Number of Children of God concerning Seven Articles."
   The articles called the Brethren to affirm believer's baptism for adults only; the use of the ban on members of the fellowship who go astray; the sharing of the Lord's Supper only with those in the fellowship; separation from "all popish and antipopish works and church services, meetings and church attendance, drinking houses, civic affairs, the commitments [made in] unbelief"; pastors to be men of good report; avoidance of the sword or the office of magistrate; and the avoidance of oaths, even in legal matters.
   The primary author was Michael Sattler (c. 1495-1527). Before he was martyred a few months later, he managed to disseminate the document, which was translated into Latin and French within a few weeks. It remains a basic statement of Anabaptist belief and is recognized as authoritative by most Mennonites.
   Further reading:
   ■ Michael Sattler, The Legacy of Michael Sattler, trans. and ed. by John H. Yoder. Classics of the Radical Reformation (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1973)
   ■ "The Schleitheim Confession of Faith," trans. by J. C. Wenger. Mennonite Quarterly Review 19 (1945): 243-53
   ■ Arnold Snyder, "The Schleitheim Articles in Light of the Revolution of the Common Man: Continuation or Departure?" Sixteenth Century Journal 16 (1985): 419-30
   ■ Sean Winter, "Michael Sattler and the Schleitheim Articles: A Study in the Background to the First Anabaptist Confession of Faith," Baptist Quarterly 34 (1991): 52-66.

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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