My continuing Menno geekfest series on Old School Anabaptists brings me to Michael Sattler (1490-1527). Michael Sattler was a Roman Catholic monk who broke away from Roman Catholicism to become one of the forefathers of the Anabaptist movement. Sattler was highly influential in the development of the Schleitheim Confession which was a document that outlined the distinctiveness of Swiss Anabaptism. It remains a compass for many Anabaptists today. Sattler was martyred in 1527. His death was gruesome with his tongue being burned, and himself being burned to ashes, with a couple other gross things in-between.
Below is an excerpt from the Schleitheim Confession which looks at communion, or as Sattler puts it “the breaking of bread.” I love this excerpt. It gets me thinking about the conversation in Mennonite circles revolving around membership, who takes communion, and baptism.
Concerning the breaking of bread, we have become one and agree thus: all those who desire to break the one bread in remembrance of the broken body of Christ and all those who wish to drink of one drink in remembrance of the shed blood of Christ, they must beforehand be united in the one body of Christ, that is the congregation of God, whose head is Christ, and that by baptism. For as Paul indicates, we cannot be partakers at the same time of the table of the Lord and the table of devils. Nor can we at the same time partake and drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils. That is: all those who have fellowship with the dead works of darkness have no part in the light. Thus all who follow the devil and the world, have no part with those who have been called out of the world unto God. All those who lie in evil have no part in the good.
So it shall and must be, that whoever does not share the calling of the one God to one faith, to one baptism, to one spirit, to one body together with all the children of God, may not be made one loaf together with the, as must be true if one wishes truly to break bread according to the command of Christ.
Michael Sattler, Schleitheim Confession, 1527, “Anabaptism in Outline” edited by Walter Klaassen
Based on this text above, who is to participate in communion? Do you find this to be exclusive, or inclusive? Why?