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(612 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
The founder of the Hutterites, or the Hutterian Brethren, was Jacob Hutter, an Anabaptist who was burned at the stake as a heretic in Innsbruck in 1536. He had led a group that practiced the community of goods along the lines of Acts 2:44. The Hutterites enjoyed a golden age of development from 1565 to 1592. Every community had a minister of the word, a minister to the needy, and also a kindergarten and school—all of which ¶ continue as features of Hutterite communities. A leader or elder directs the whole community. Plundering by the Turks and by various armies during the Thirty Years…

Plymouth Brethren

(479 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
The Plymouth Brethren is a Christian body established in 1830 in Plymouth, England. The group traces it origin to John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), an Anglican clergyman who in 1828 joined a circle of eschatologically oriented Bible Christians in ¶ Dublin and who left the Anglican Church in 1834 (Anglican Communion; Eschatology). In debate with the Anglican Church and free-church groups in Switzerland, Darby developed the idea of the apostasy of the church and the impossibility of a restoration of the primitive Christian community. He thought that …

Free Church

(1,011 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich | Heim, S. Mark
The term “free church” dates from 1843, when Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847) led 474 like-minded ministers out of the Church of Scotland to found the Free Church. They were protesting against state control of the church. In 1892 English Nonconformists ventured to adopt the term when Presbyterians, Congregationalists (Congregationalism), Baptists, and Methodists (Methodism) formed the National Free Church Council, claiming to be no less a church than the established Church of England (Anglican Commun…

Church Membership

(2,015 words)

Author(s): Plathow, Michael | Thon, Nikolaus | Geldbach, Erich | Grosse, Heinrich | Engelhardt, Hanns
1. Protestant and Roman Cathlic Church membership and adherence are related to the theological and institutional understanding of the church. Church membership has both spiritual and legal dimensions. 1.1. ¶ On the Protestant view, the church is the communion of saints instituted by the Holy Spirit. Church membership, then, is essentially being part of the communion of saints. It begins with the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings one into this fellowship through the preaching of the gospel. Baptism is incorporation into the…

Evangelical Movement

(2,216 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. Term Although the term “evangelical” can be used in English in the same broader sense as evangelisch in German, in this article it has the narrower sense for which German now uses evangelikal. Some definition is needed because of the theological, ecclesiastical, and practical problems associated with the word and its positive or negative aspects. On the one hand, it may be the equivalent of “pietistic,” “revivalist,” “confessing,” or “biblical-reformational”; on the other, it may be the opposite of “liberal,” “ecumenical,” “p…