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No attempt has been made to prepare a "modern" translation.
They had arisen as a movement in large measure in protest against the rigor of church discipline among the Mennonites, particularly after the Wismar Articles had been drafted, in 1554, by Menno Simons, Dirk Philips, Leenaert Bouwens and others. They seldom banned anyone, but there are numerous records of ministers "counseling" a brother to withdraw from the communion service until he had brought his life in order and found peace.At one point, in apparent despair over continuing disunity, de Ries wrote, "In order to find unity, would it not be better if we forgot all about confessions or statements and held ourselves simply to the Word of God?" We agree that the Holy Scriptures are the confession of the Christian Church in the sense that they contain all that is necessary for the understanding and knowledge of the believer concerning his salvation. Not, we answer, to give support to our opinions in the manner of the Scriptures, but to testify to the unity of our teaching with each other and ministers of old, against those who accuse us of teaching falsely and not in keeping with the tradition of the church. However, the last two were primarily personal statements and, more significantly, none of the three was a complete theological formulation.The early Dutch Mennonites likewise produced a host of statements on specific doctrines, the Incarnation, the written and unwritten Word of God, baptism, the ban.