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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
John Howard Yoder's Introduction
Background, and an Interpretation, by Philip Bender
Point of View
by Jan Gleysteen


Home Historical Committee


The road from Germany's famed Black Forest to the spectacular Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen enters Switzerland at an unpretentious village called Schleitheim. Most travelers pass through it hurriedly on their way to the great scenes ahead.

For us, the town and the name of Schleitheim holds a greater interest, for it was here that in February 1527 an important meeting of Swiss and South German Anabaptists took place. According to tradition Michael Sattler called for and presided over the meeting. The young Anabaptist movement was in danger of disintegrating under the pressure of violent persecution from the outside and of the sharp difference of opinions from within.

In the course of the assembly the various factions came to unity and published their views in a pamphlet called The Brotherly Union (or Agreement), a confession of faith.

With this document the free and spiritual movement of the Swiss Brethren was shaped into an orderly and well-organized fellowship. Had this meeting not taken place at this time the Anabaptist movement might well have died with its visionary leaders. Now the Anabaptists had a platform from which to resist the bloody persecution of the Christian nations, the well-written slander of their state church opponents, and the deviation of fanatics trying to use the movement to their own ends.

Purpose, February 6, 1977, pp. 4-5.

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