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Introductory
Cover Letter
The Seven Articles:
 I. Baptism
 II. The Ban
 III. Breaking of Bread
 IV. Separation
 V. Shepherds
 VI. The Sword
 VII. The Oath

Congregational Order

The Cover Letter
(Benediction)
Footnotes
John Howard Yoder's Introduction
Background, and an Interpretation, by Philip Bender
Point of View
by Jan Gleysteen

 
 

Home Historical Committee


The Schleitheim Brotherly Union
(Brüderlich Vereinigung etzlicher Kinder Gottes seiben Artikel betreffend . . . )

Translated and edited by John Howard Yoder, The Legacy of Michael Sattler, Herald Press, 1973



The Cover Letter (Introduction)

May joy, peace, mercy from our Father, through the atonement [31] of the blood of Christ Jesus, together with the gifts of one Spirit--who is sent by the Father to all believers to [give] strength and consolation and constance in all tribulation until the end, Amen, be with all who love God and all children of light, who are scattered everywhere, wherever they might have been placed [32] by God our Father, wherever they might be gathered in unity of spirit in one God and Father of us all; grace and peace of heart be with you all. Amen.

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord; first and primordially we are always concerned for your consolation and the assurance of your conscience (which was sometime confused), so that you might not always be separated from us as aliens and by right almost completely excluded, [33] but that you might turn to the true implanted members of Christ, who have been armed through patience and the knowledge of self, and thus be again united with us in the power of a godly Christian spirit and zeal for God.

It is manifest with what manifold cunning the devil has turned us aside, so that he might destroy and cast down the work of God, which in us mercifully and graciously has been partially begun. But the true Shepherd of our souls, Christ, who has begun such in us, will direct and teach [34] the same unto the end, to His glory and our salvation, Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters, we who have been assembled in the Lord at Schleitheim on the Randen [35] make known, in points and articles, unto all that love God, that as far as we are concerned, we have been united [36] to stand fast in the Lord as obedient children of God, sons and daughters, who have been and shall be separated form the world in all that we do and leave undone, and (the praise and glory be to God alone) uncontradicted by all the brothers, completely at peace. [37] Herein we have sensed the unity of the Father and of our common Christ as present with us in their Spirit. For the Lord is a Lord of peace and not of quarreling, as Paul indicates. [38] So that you understand at what points this occurred, you should observe and understand [what follows]:

A very great offense has been introduced by some false brothers among us, [39] whereby several have turned away from the faith, thinking to practice and observe the freedom of the Spirit and of Christ. But such have fallen short of the truth and (to their own condemnation)[40] are given over to the lasciviousness and license of the flesh. They have esteemed that faith and love may do and permit everything and that nothing can harm nor condemn them, since they are "believers."

Note well, you members [41] of God in Christ Jesus, that faith in the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ is not thus formed: it produces and brings forth no such things as these false brothers and sisters practice and teach. Guard yourselves and be warned of such people, for they do not serve our Father, but their father, the devil.

But for you it is not so; for they who are Christ's have crucified their flesh with all its lusts and desires [42]. You understand me [43] well, and [know] brothers whom we mean. Separate yourselves from them, for they are perverted. Pray the Lord that they may have knowledge unto repentance, and for us that we may have constance to persevere along the path we have entered upon, unto the glory of God and of Christ His Son. Amen. [44]

 

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