XII - Other Sects.

In order that such [heresies and sects] may not silently be ascribed to us, because, in the preceding explanation, we have made no mention of them, we intend at the end [of this writing] simply to enumerate the mere articles wherein they [the heretics of our time] err and teach contrary to our Christian faith and confession to which we have often referred.

Erroneous Articles of the Anabaptists.

The Anabaptists are divided among themselves into many factions, as one contends for more, another for less errors; however, they all in common propound [profess] such doctrine as is to be tolerated or allowed neither in the Church, nor in the commonwealth and secular government, nor in domestic life.

Articles that Cannot be Tolerated in the Church.

  1. That Christ did not assume His body and blood from the Virgin Mary, but brought them with Him from heaven.

  2. That Christ is not true God, but only [is superior to other saints, because He] has more gifts of the Holy Ghost than any other holy man.

  3. That our righteousness before God consists not in the sole merit of Christ alone, but in renewal, and hence in our own godliness [uprightness] in which we walk. This is based in great part upon one’s own special, self-chosen [and humanly devised] spirituality [holiness], and in fact is nothing else than a new sort of monkery.

  4. That children who are not baptized are not sinners before God, but righteous and innocent, who in their innocency, because they have not yet attained their reason [the use of reason], are saved without Baptism (which, according to their assertion, they do not need). Therefore they reject the entire doctrine concerning original sin and what belongs to it.

  5. That children are not to be baptized until they have attained their reason [the use of reason], and can themselves confess their faith.

  6. That the children of Christians, because they have been born of Christian and believing parents, are holy and children of God even without and before Baptism; and for this reason they neither attach much importance to the baptism of children nor encourage it, contrary to the express words of God’s promise which pertains only to those who keep His covenant and do not despise it. Gen. 17:7ff

  7. That that is no true Christian congregation [church] in which sinners are still found.

  8. That no sermon is to be heard nor attended in those churches in which formerly papal masses have been celebrated and said.

  9. That one [a godly man] must not have anything to do with the ministers of the Church who preach the Gospel according to the Augsburg Confession, and rebuke the sermons and errors of the Anabaptists; also that he is neither to serve nor in any way to labor for them, but to flee from and shun them as perverters of God’s Word.

Articles that Cannot be Tolerated in the Government.

  1. That under the New Testament the magistracy is not an estate pleasing to God.

  2. That a Christian cannot with a good, inviolate conscience hold or discharge the office of magistrate.

  3. That a Christian cannot without injury to conscience use the office of the magistracy against the wicked in matters as they occur [matters so requiring], nor that subjects may invoke for their protection and defense the power which the magistrates possess and have received from God.

  4. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience take an oath, nor with an oath do homage [promise fidelity] to the hereditary prince of his country or sovereign.

  5. That under the New Testament magistrates cannot, without injury to conscience, inflict capital punishment upon malefactors.

Articles that Cannot be Tolerated in Domestic Life.

  1. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience hold or possess property, but is in duty bound to devote it to the common treasury.

  2. That a Christian cannot with a good conscience be an innkeeper, merchant, or cutler [maker of arms].

  3. That the married may be divorced on account of [diverse] faith, and the one may abandon the other and be married to another person who is of his faith.

Erroneous Articles of the Schwenkfeldians.

  1. That all those have no true knowledge of Christ as reigning King of heaven who regard Christ according to the flesh as a creature.

  2. That the flesh of Christ by His exaltation has assumed all divine properties in such a manner that Christ as man is in might, power, majesty, and glory altogether, as regards degree and position of essence equal to the Father and to the Word, so that now there is only one essence, property, will, and glory of both natures in Christ, and that the flesh of Christ belongs to the essence of the Holy Trinity.

  3. That the ministry of the Church [ministry of the Word], the Word preached and heard, is not a means whereby God the Holy Ghost teaches men, and works in them the saving knowledge of Christ, conversion, repentance, faith, and new obedience.

  4. That the water of Baptism is not a means whereby God the Lord seals the adoption of sons and works regeneration.

  5. That bread and wine in the Holy Supper are not means through and by which Christ distributes His body and blood.

  6. That a Christian who is truly regenerated by God’s Spirit can perfectly observe and fulfil the Law of God in this life.

  7. That it is not a true Christian congregation [church] in which no public excommunication [some formal mode of excommunication] or no regular process of the ban [as it is commonly called] is observed.

  8. That the minister of the church who is not on his part truly renewed, regenerate, righteous, and godly cannot teach other men with profit or distribute genuine, true Sacraments.

Error of the New Arians.

That Christ is not true, essential, natural God, of one eternal, divine essence with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, but is only adorned with divine majesty inferior to and alongside of God the Father [is so adorned with divine majesty, with the Father, that He is inferior to the Father].

Error of the Anti-Trinitarians.

This is an entirely new sect, not heard of before in Christendom, [composed of those] who believe, teach, and confess that there is not one only, eternal, divine essence of the Father Son, and Holy Ghost, but as God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons, so each person has its essence distinct and separate from the other persons of the Godhead; and that nevertheless they are either [some think] all three of equal power, wisdom, majesty, and glory, just as otherwise three men are distinct and separate from one another in their essence, or [others think that these three persons and essences are] unequal with one another in essence and properties, so that the Father alone is properly and truly God.

These and similar articles, one and all, with whatever other errors depend upon and follow from them, we reject and condemn as wrong, false, heretical, contrary to the Word of God, the three Creeds, the Augsburg Confession and Apology, the Smalcald Articles, and Luther’s Catechisms, against which all godly Christians of both high and low station are to be on their guard as they love the welfare and salvation of their souls.

That this is the doctrine, faith, and confession of us all, for which we will answer at the last day before the just Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, and will neither secretly nor publicly speak or write anything against it, but that we intend by the grace of God to persevere therein, we have after mature deliberation testified, in the true fear of God and invocation of His name, by signing with our own hands [this Epitome].

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