| Historical Committee
by Ruedi Reich, President, Reformed Church of the Canton of Zurich
The Reformed Churches and the Anabaptist movement are all essentially
branches on one and the same bough of the great Christian tree. Both
are offsprings of the Reformation. Right from the start however they
went their separate ways, so that a tragic rift ran through the Zurich
Reformation, painful traces of which are discernable to this day.
Executions, persecution and expulsions were carried out to eliminate
the Anabaptist movement. Yet it has survived and is still flourishing
today. The descendants of those early Anabaptists are a living
testimony to this.
The persecuted do not forget their history; the persecutors by contrast
would prefer to do so. We–representatives of the Reformed State Church
of the Canton of Zurich–acknowledge that our church has largely
suppressed the story of the persecution of the Anabaptists.
We confess that that persecution was,
according to our present conviction, a betrayal of the Gospel and that
our Reformed forefathers were in error on this issue.
that the judgement against the Anabaptists in the second Helvetian
Confession, which discards the teaching of the Anabaptists as
unbiblical and refuses any communion with them, is no longer valid for
us and that it is now our earnest desire to discover and strengthen our
We acknowledge the faithful of the
Anabaptist tradition as our sisters and brothers and their churches as
part of the body of Christ, whose diverse members are united through
the Spirit of God.
the radical approach of the Anabaptist movement to be the salt of the
earth and the light of the world as a free community of committed
believers putting into practice the message of the Sermon on the Mount.
It is time
to accept the history of the Anabaptist movement as part of our own, to
learn from the Anabaptist tradition and to strengthen our mutual
testimony through dialogue.
Following the example of our reformed tradition, we confess:
We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Jesus Christ who calls us
to follow him and to be reconciled with those brothers and sisters who
have any just reasons to reproach us.
We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Jesus Christ who reconciles
us with God through his death on the cross and has committed to us the
ministry of reconciliation.
We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to Jesus Christ who tore down
the wall of enmity and united people near and far in one body.
"God calls us to preserve our faith heritage, to interpret our stories,
and to proclaim God's work among us."