Ridemann's Rechenschaft, 1540
I. DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH AND OF THE SPIRIT
An assembly of children of God who have separated themselves from all unclean things is the church. It is gathered together, has being, and is kept by the Holy Spirit. Sinners may not be members unless and until they have repented of their sins. The essence of the church is its bearing of the Light; it is a lantern of righteousness in a world of unbelief, darkness, and blindness. It is a pillar and ground of the truth, which is conformed, ratified, and brought to pass in her by the Holy Spirit. The "power and key" to forgive sins which was received by Christ from the Father is given to the church as a whole and nbot to individual persons. In its nature the church is spiritual, but concretely it is known as the pure sacred community. Church assembly and community are equated together.
II. DOCTRINE OF REDEMPTION
Redemption means the working of the Spirit in the individual and his preparation for entrance into the church. It is the Spirit of christ that leads into the church. ("The Christ of Ridemann is the inwardly experienced and fought-for Christ.") The work of Christ in man means a complete coversion and rebirth. Salvation and redemption consists in the liberation from the dominion of sin. Apart from Christ there is no goodness. Salvation also is a new covenant. God has cast our from our heart evil, sin, and the lust to sin, and we are to seek, love, hear, and keep His Word.
III. DOCTRINE OF FAITH
Faith is a real divine power which renews man and makes him like God in nature, ardent in love and in keeping His commandments.
IV. DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM
Baptism means the entrance into the covenant of grrace of God and the incorporation into the Church of Christ. The "right and necessary" sequence is preaching, faith, rebirth, and baptism. Children cannot be pabtized in the right way because they are not reborn through preaching, faith, and the Spirit.
V. DOCTRINE OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE LORD'S TABLE
The Supper is a sign of the community of Christ's body, in that each member thereby declares himself to be of the one mind, heart, and Spirit of Christ. It is an act of remembrance at which God's children become aware again of the grace which they have received. Only a true member of Christ may participate. The unity of the fellowship of the Lord's Table must already exist prior to the celebrating.
VI. DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN
The inheritence that we have from our Father Adam is inclination to sin. Original sin means that all of us have by nature a tendency toward evil and have pleasure in sin. This inheritance removes, devours, and consumes all that is good and of God in man; so that none may attain it again except to be born again.
VII. THE FORMULA FOR BAPTISM
The baptizer first testifies to the baptizand and asks if he believes in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The baptizand confesses. He then is asked if he desires to yield himself to God to live for Him and His church. If so, he is told to kneel before God and church, and water is poured upon him. If baptism cannot be performed before the entire church, the baptizer may perform the ordinance alone.
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