Concept of Cologne

[1. The Trinity.] First of all, we believe in the divine Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-that there is one, sole, eternal, and omnipotent God.

[2. Jesus Christ.] We believe Jesus Christ to be the sole Son of the Father from eternity, born of Mary in the fullness of time, through the power of the Most High and through the participation of the Holy Spirit, and who became flesh through the eternal Word of the Father.

[3. The Holy Spirit.] We also believe in the Holy Spirit, as a power of God, proceeding from the Father through the Son, promised by Christ. and sent to comfort the believers.

[4. Salvation.] Whoever believes in this Son of God as the promised Redeemer and Savior sent by God, the same is free of all sins.

[5. Baptism.] The person who acknowledges himself or herself to be sinful, who demonstrates worthy fruits of repentance, who gladly embraces the Word of Christ, and who desires and requests baptism: that person is to be baptized with water by an irreproachable chosen minister, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, whoever is so minded, and who is already baptized in the manner mentioned above, shall not be baptized again.

[6. Communion.] All who in this manner have been baptized through one Spirit into one body [1 Corinthians 12:13] shall celebrate communion together, using common bread and wine, in memory of Christ's great love and his bitter death.

[7. Congregational Discipline.] This community of the saints has the power through the keys of the kingdom of heaven to bind and to loose, and in this manner, the rule of Matthew 18 [:15-20] is to be observed, when a sin is committed between brother and brother.

However, public acts of the flesh are to be disciplined, according to God's Word, with mature judgment According to the teachings of Paul, 1 Corinthians 5 [:9-13], one is to have nothing to do with such persons, including not eating with them. To be sure, in carrying out such strict discipline, there is to be no misuse, which unfortunately has taken place many times, through which the misuse of marital avoidance and other such disorders also followed. Much more, according to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, one is to act with love in working with those being disciplined, that they may mend their ways.

Even if this judgment of Paul is understood by some in a more complex manner, and by others in a simpler manner, we still, as God-fearing people, until further indication from God to the contrary [Philippians 3:15], shall at all times be reconciled with one another in love, listening to each other's views in the spirit of love, without strife and quarreling.

Individuals who sin shall be avoided if they were admonished once or twice.

[8. Marriage.] We also confess from Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, that believers do not have the freedom to marry, except among those who through faith have become a member of the body of Christ, who are thus a spiritual brother or sister-namely, two free persons according to the first charter as initiated with Adam and Eve. Transgressors of the same are deserving of discipline by the congregation, and no spiritual unity is to be maintained with them, unless one detects in them worthy fruits of regret and repentance; they then are to be admonished to hold faithfully to their marriage vows, neither to forsake their spouse, nor to enter into a second marriage. NI this is to be administered correctly according to the anointing [of the Holy Spirit].

[9. Foot washing.] We also want to practice the foot washing of the saints. If fellow believers ask this of us, we want to comply: their washing our feet, but also our washing their feet, in humility.

[10. Leadership.] A bishop or a preacher is to be blameless. After he has been tested, he is to be allowed to serve. He is to be installed in his office through the laying on of hands by the elders, in agreement with the congregation, and elected in this manner.

[11. Deacons.] According to the example of the apostolic congregations, deacons are also to be chosen, to whom the care of the needy is entrusted. They are to distribute the gifts donated for those in need in such a manner that the distributions also remain confidential, according to the teachings of Christ (Matthew 6:3].

[12. Concerning Oaths.] According to Christ's and James's teachings, one is not to swear oaths; much more, all words and deeds are to be confirmed with a truthful yes or no, and nothing in addition-which in truth is to be held to, in the same manner as that of a sworn oath.

[13. Concerning Usury.] Since usury is an abomination before God, and seen as damaging to humanity, therefore everything that according to Holy Scripture can be identified as being usury is not to be permitted.

[14. Concerning Revenge.] No revenge is permitted, whether with outward weapons, or in requiting verbal abuse with verbal abuse.

[15. The Resurrection.] We also believe in a bodily resurrection of the dead, both for the righteous and unrighteous, and believe that at the last judgment each will be received accordingly as he or she has lived.

[16. Separation from the World.] Furthermore. another proper concern was discussed, namely, that the freedom the merchants exercise in running their businesses tends to increase temporal greed, and that the fashions of dress resemble more the ways of the world than they do the way of Christian humility. Since these sins can creep in unnoticed, and since it is to be feared that the same will bring damage to many souls, and since it is not easy to set exact standards in this regard-how much profit a merchant may earn and what a person is to wear-we still desire that everyone be content with a modest profit and with simple clothing: indeed, in every way, proving oneself to be a light to the world, neither following the fashions of the world, nor comparing self to those who are insatiable, forever wanting more and more. It was agreed in this regard that all guardians of God's household are to warn their people, in all faithfulness to-and empowered by-the Word, that they together may remain pure, and escape from the corruption of the disobedient In this manner one member is to admonish and warn the other in a kindhearted way, so that the admonition may be all the more agreeable.

This was signed by many hands as follows:

The Concept of Cologne was signed and agreed upon by the elders and servants of Anabaptists settlements in nine different regions, North and South, and "humbly recorded" by Leenaerdt Clock, in the name of the group

Translated by Leonard Gross and Jan Gleysteen, November 1989.