From the Archives: The Schleitheim Confession
This broadside has never before appeared in print. It was found in a sixteenth-century file of materials collected by a contemporary who was convinced that the world was coming to an end and considered it his business to amass the clues of that end. This version was written very near the actual event; the same story, with some important differences, also appears over a hundred years later inMartyrs’ Mirror.
Miriam Usher Chrisman, Ph.D., who found and translated this broadside, is professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Here I will sum up what I have just heard about two young women who were burned to death recently for the sake of the Gospel near Deventer in the Netherlands. They were and are two noble women and pious Christians, who had no weakness. And God did not forget them.
They lived in Delden and often went from there to hear preaching, placing their souls in safekeeping which displeased the devil. But God assisted them because they preferred God’s Word. May God be protected in all places. However, as God desired to take them together to his heavenly kingdom, he let the devil light up a fire in the world.
The young women were brought to Deventer. The stattholder, with his authority asked them about their beliefs. They replied that they believed in Christ’s teaching and in his holy Word which had been so clearly revealed. They were then dragged to Zwigkel on a pole to frighten pious Christians—a terrible, tyrannical act done by the House of Burgundy.
There they asked the young women whether they believed the teaching of the Anabaptists. They spoke without hesitation: “We were truly baptized once according to Christ’s teaching, as it is clearly explained in Mark 16. St. Paul is also clear ...