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The Schleitheim Articles

The most famous Anabaptist council took place in the Swiss town of Schleitheim in the Canton of Schaffhausen on 24 February 1527, presided over by Michael Sattler. It summarised the tenets of Anabaptism in seven articles and thus set norms for all “those disposed towards Anabaptism”. 

The Schleitheim Confession of the Anabaptists, Wikimedia Commons 
The Schleitheim Confession of the Anabaptists, Wikimedia Commons

In the first article, baptism is denoted as a symbol of Christian faith and the sign of a purposeful life with Christ, which could only be fulfilled as a baptism of faith following baptismal instruction to adults. 

The second article governs congregational exclusion after a two-part admonition. 


In the third article, the conditions for being allowed to participate in the Lord’s Supper at the “Table of the Lord” are formulated. The requirements are Christian baptism and “dissociation from sin”. 

“[Fourthly], God’s children are called upon by Christ to separate from every institution and person that is not truly Christian.”

Fifthly, the only ministry is the ministry called the “shepherd”, and leads the congregation. What is most striking for outsiders is, besides the rejection of child baptism, the absolute law of love, connected to complete renunciation of every form of exercising violence and rejection of the wearing of weapons in Article 6. 

The seventh article forbids the brothers and sisters in faith any oath taking. The seven articles are oriented towards the Holy Scripture and bear witness to its literal understanding.