committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH, 1527

DISCIPLINE OF THE BELIEVERS:   HOW A CHRISTIAN IS TO LIVE
(Ordnung der Gemein, wie ein Christ leben soll)

 

INTRODUCTION
(missing in the Geschicht-Buch)

Since the almighty God and heavenly Father is permitting His eternal and all-powerful Word to be proclaimed to all creatures in these most perilous time (Col.1) and has called us at this time out of pure grace into His marvelous light (I Pet.3) to one body, one spirit, and one faith, united in the bonds of love (Eph.4;1 Cor.1) to which we have all agreed, in order that our calling be found worthy, not only with the word of the mouth but in the truth and power (II Thess.1;I Thess.1; I Cor.4; James 1), we have all in one another's presence openly agreed to regulate everything in the best possible way.  For the improvement of our brotherhood [Gemein, so translated throughout], for the praise and honor of the Lord, and for the service of all the needs, we have unanimously agreed that this Ordnung shall be kept among us by all the brethren and sisters.  When however, a brother or sister is able to produce a better Ordnung it shall be accepted from him at any time. (I Cor.14).

 

FIRST ARTICLE

And beginning:  when the brethren are together they shall sincerely ask God for grace that He might reveal His divine will and help to note it (Ps.86,118) and when the brethren part they shall thank God and pray for all the brethren and sisters of the entire brotherhood (I Thess.1 and 5;II Thess.1 and 2; II Cor.1;Col.1,3,4).

 

SECOND ARTICLE

In the second place:  we shall sincerely and in a Christian spirit admonish one another in the Lord to remain constant (Heb.10:1;Acts 14,15,18; Col.2).  To meet often, at least four or five times, and if possible...even at midweek [prayer meetings?] (I Cor.11,14; Acts 1,2,9.11.20; Heb.10; II Cor.6; Matt.18).

 

THIRD ARTICLE

In the third place:  when a brother or sister leads a disorderly life it shall be punished:  if he does so publicly [He} shall be kindly admonished before all the brethren (Gal.2,6; I Cor.5; II Thess.3); if it is secret it shall be punished in secret, according to the dommand of Christ (Matt.18).

 

FOURTH ARTICLE

In the fourth place:  every brother and sister shall yield himself in God to the brotherhood completely with body and life, and hold in common all gifts received of God (Acts 2 and 4; I Cor. 11,12; II Cor. 8 and 9), [and] contribute to the common need so that brethren and sisters will always be helped (Rom. 12); needy members shall receive from the brotherhood as among the Christians at the time of the apostles (Acts 2,4,5; I Cor.11,12; Eph.4; Prov.5;Matt.8,15,16,17,19; Luke 3,6,8,9,10,12,14,18; I John 1,2,3,4; Mark 3,10,12; Gal.6; Heb.12; Dan. 4,8; I Tim. 1; I Cor.14,16; rom.6,18; James 1; Phil.2).

 

FIFTH ARTICLE

The elders [Vorsteher] and preachers chosen from the brotherhood shall with zeal look after the needs of the poor, and with zeal in the Lord according to the command of the Lord extend what is needed for the sake of and instead of the brotherhood (Gal.2; II Cor.8,9; Rom.15; Acts 6).

 

SIXTH ARTICLE

In the sixth place:  a decent conduct (ehrbarer Wandel) shall be kept among them (Rom.12,13; Phil. 1,2; Phil.1,2; I Pet. 2,3; I Cor. 1,3; Gal.5; Eph. 5) before everyone (Titus 3; Matt.5; I Pet.3) and no one shall carelessly conduct himself before the brotherhood both with words or deeds (Rom.1,6; II Tim.2), nor before those who are "outside" (I thess.5; I Pet.3).

 

SEVENTH ARTICLE

In the seventh place:  in the meeting one is to speak and the others listen and judge what is spoken, and not two or three stand together (I Cor.14).  No one shall curse or swear (Matt.5; Rom.3; James 5) nor shall idle gossip be carried on, so that the meek may be spared (I Cor.15; Eph.5; Col.3; II Tim.2; Psalm 118). [Geschicht-Buch here citets only Ecclesiasticus 23].

 

EIGHTH ARTICLE

In the ninth place:  what is officially done among the brethren and sisters in the brotherhood [Geschicht-Buch:   "or is judged"] shall not be made public before the world.  The good-hearted [an interested but not yet converted or committed] person, before he comes to the brethren in the brotherhood shall be taught [Geschicht-Buch:  "the Gospel"] (Mark 16; Rom.1; col.1).  when he has learned [Geschicht-Buch:   "understood"] and bears a sincere desire for it, and if he agrees to the content of the Gospel, he shall be received by the Christian brotherhood as a brother or a sister, that is, as a fellow member of Christ (Matt.7; Prov.19,29; Col.4; Rom.14; II Cor.6; I Cor.10; I Tim.6; Matt.10).  But this shall not be made public before the world to spare the conscience and for the sake of the purpose ( I Cor.9,10; Matt.15).

 

TENTH ARTICLE

In the tenth place:  all the brethren and sisters after they have committed themselves, shall accept and bear with patience all that He sends us [Geschicht-Buch:  "accept with gratitude and bear with patience"] (Rom.6; John 13; Matt.16; Luke 9; I Pet.4; II Cor.12), and [shall] not let themselves be easily frightened by every wind and cry.  [The Geschicht-Buch adds as a marginal note:  "to be ready for cross and suffering."]

 

ELEVENTH ARTICLE

 

When brethren and sisters are together, being one body and one bread in the Lord and of one mind, then they shall keep the Lord's Supper as a memorial of the Lord's death (Matt.26; Mark 14; Luke 22; I Cor.11), whereby each one shall be admonished to become conformed to the Lord in the obedience of the Father (Phil.2,3; I Pet.2,4; Rom.8; I John 2--Obedience:  Rom.2; Phil.2; II Cor.2,10; II Thess.1; I Pet.1).

 

TWELFTH ARTICLE

In the twelfth place:  as we have taught and admonished the brethren and sisters we shall always watch and wait for the Lord that we may be worthy to enter [the kingdom] with Him when He comes, and to escape or flee from the evil that will come to the world.  Amen.  (Matt.25; Luke 21; I Thess.5; I Pet.5; II Pet.3; Rom.2).

God be merciful to me.  I commend my spirit and your spirit with our brother in Christ into the hand of the eternal Father.  Amen.

 

  Reveals the threat of persecution standing over the group and challenges members of the brotherhood to claim the attitude of the suffering church.
  The eschatological emphasis appeared later in stronger expression in Jacob Hutter.

 
 
The Reformed Reader Home Page 


Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved