Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with moravians

Magazine Issues

  • Issue 1: Zinzendorf and the Moravians

    Their story is one of courage, their goal was sharing the Gospel, and their lives were saturated with prayer

Articles

15 Jun 1982

The Moravian Mission Influence Spreads Throughout the World and to Other Denominations

by the editors | Issue 1

The BAPTISTS * [* from R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm, A Chapter in the History of Religion, (p. 390).]

For some years, William Carey, the leader of the famous Serampore Three, had ... read the Moravian Periodical Accounts. He referred expressly to their work in his pamphlet, Enquiry into the obligations of Christians to use Means for the conversion of the Heathen ... and (at Kettering) appealed to their example See what these Moravians have done. Can we not follow their example, and in obedience to our Heavenly Master, go out into the world...

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30 Jun 1982

The World of 1732

by the editors | Issue 1

ON OCTOBER 8, 1732 a Dutch sailing vessel slipped out of the Copenhagen harbor. Its destination—the Danish West Indies. On board were the first two Moravian missionaries. It was the beginning of an era.

In that year George Washington was born and 36-year-old James Oglethorpe succeeded in receiving a grant to establish the colony of Georgia—named for another George. In Philadelphia, the State House —later to be called Independence Hall—was rising in red-brick dignity. And Benjamin Franklin was wondering how people would like his first...

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28 Feb 1987

Between Hus and Herrnhut

by Bernard Michel and the Editor | Issue 13

Comenius and the Unity of the Brethren

The Reformation started by John Hus (1369–1415) in Bohemia did not die when he was burned at the stake. A number of small communities spun off from the Hussites, each rebelling against Rome in its own ways. The first “Brethren” moved to a remote village called Kunvald in 1457 to live together as the early church did, and follow the law of Christ.

From the start, the Unity of the Brethren, as they became known, had contacts with the Waldensians, a communal group that preserved the teachings of Peter...

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28 Feb 1986

The Lord’s Watch: the Moravians

by A. Skevington Wood | Issue 9

AS ITS NAME SUGGESTS, the Moravian movement originated in Moravia, a province in present-day Czechoslavakia. At first an independent state, Moravia was taken into Bohemia under the flag of the German Empire in 1029. And it was in Bohemia that Jan Hus, one of the ‘pre-Reformation reformers', led resistance to the Church of Rome and was finally martyred in 1415.

After his heroic death, a group who maintained his beliefs eventually formed a New Testament community at Kunwald. In 1457 they established what they called ‘The Church of the...

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30 Jun 1982

The Moravians and John Wesley

by John Wesley | Issue 1

THE WORLDWIDE INFLUENCE the 18th century Moravian missionaries was extraordinary. One notable example is the impact they had on John Wesley, leading directly to his conversion experience. Wesley’s Journal, covering the years 1736–1738, is replete with comments of his observations of and encounters with the Moravians (often calling them “the Germans”). A few selections of highlights give insight into the characters and spirit of the Moravian movement and its impression on the founder of the Methodists.

Sunday, January 25, 1736

Wesley is on...

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30 Jun 1982

The Moravians: Christian History Timeline

by the Editors | Issue 1

HISTORY DOES NOT RECORD for certain who took the message of the crucified and risen Savior to that region north of the Danube. But it does say that in 836 the brothers, Cyril and Methodius of Constantinople and the Eastern Christian tradition went to Moravia as missionaries. The Latin church had preceded them there, but these industrious Greeks did something that the Latin missionaries had not done. Cyril invented an alphabet for the Moravian language and he and Methodius began translating the Bible for the people.

And they preached in the...

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30 Jun 1982

Zinzendorf and the Moravians: Recommended Resources

by the Editors | Issue 1

Count Zinzendorf, by John R. Weinlick, late professor of historical theology, Moravian Theological Seminary, Bethlehem, Pa. Published by Abingdon, 1956.

Zinzendorf, The Ecumenical Pioneer, by Anthony J. Lewis, an English Moravian theologian and minister. Published by Westminster, 1962.

A History of Moravian Missions, by Joseph E. Hutton, an English Moravian minister and author. Published by the Moravian Publication Office in London, 1922.

History of the Moravian Church, the Renewed Unitas Fratrum, by J. Taylor Hamilton and Kenneth G....

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30 Jun 1982

A Prayer Meeting that Lasted 100 Years

by Leslie K. Tarr | Issue 1

FACT: The Moravian Community of Herrnhut in Saxony, in 1727, commenced a round-the-clock “prayer watch” that continued nonstop for over a hundred years.

FACT: By 1791, 65 years after commencement of that prayer vigil, the small Moravian community had sent 300 missionaries to the ends of the earth.

Could it be that there is some relationship between those two facts? Is fervent intercession a basic component in world evangelization? The answer to both questions is surely an unqualified “yes.”

That heroic eighteenth-century evangelization...

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30 Jun 1982

Dober Explains

by Leonard Dober | Issue 1

SINCE IT IS DESIRED of me to make known my reason, I can say that my disposition was never to travel during this time [that period in his life], but only to ground myself more steadfastly in my Savior; that when the gracious count came back from his trip to Denmark and told me about the slaves, it gripped me so that I could not get free of it. I vowed to myself that if one other brother would go with me, I would become a slave, and would tell him so, and [also] what I had experienced from our Savior: that the word of the cross in its...

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30 Jun 1982

The Insignia of the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed

by the Editors | Issue 1

WITH FIVE OTHER STUDENTS at Halle, Zinzendorf formed a society which eventually developed into The Order of the Mustard Seed. A distinctive shield and insignia were developed: “No man liveth unto himself. ” Its express purpose was to be a leaven among all Christians and to labor for the salvation and fellowship of all regardless of denominations. In later years, churchmen and statesmen of many origins, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and Paris, the King of Denmark and General Oglethorpe, became members of the order.

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30 Jun 1982

The Moravians and Their Hymns

by the Editors | Issue 1

“THE CONGREGATION made of the evening song service on Aug. 18, 1732 a farewell occasion for these pioneers (Rober and Nitschmann). Perhaps as many as a hundred hymns were sung in that epoch-making service.”

Such a simple statement by Zinzendorf’s biographer John Weinlick speaks volumes about the Moravians and their music which became for them as much a part of their adoration of the Lamb as did preaching or communion or obedience to Christ’s Great Commission.

Who knows? Perhaps the gift of song was the one thing that sustained the Brethren...

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30 Jun 1982

Moravian Glossary

by the Editors | Issue 1

Moravian

The popular “nickname” of the historic pre-Reformation Church known originally as the Unity of the Brethren (Unitas Fratrum). The name Moravian was first applied in the 1730’s by English Christians, much like the name “Methodists”; it became the permanent name of the denomination in the English speaking world.

The Lot

A biblical practice (Num. 33:54; Acts 1:26) common among Pietists, and apparently used in the 15th Century by Hussites, the lot became one of the “marked features of the inner life of Herrnhut and the whole Moravian...

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30 Jun 1982

A Gallery of Leading Figures

by the Editors | Issue 1

Christian David

(1690–1751) HISTORIANS CREDIT this “humble journeyman carpenter” with being one of the two individuals most responsible for Herrnhut. Born December 31, 1690 in Senftleben, Moravia, he early showed religious inclinations. But his Catholic upbringing failed to satisfy. Two influences profoundly prepared him for conversion at age 27—the Christian carpenter who taught him his trade and the German Bible he obtained at age 20. After years of seeking, he found Christ while ill in Görlitz, Saxony, near the Moravian border, as a...

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30 Jun 1982

From the Publisher

by the Editors | Issue 1

CHRISTIAN HISTORY is launched with the prayer that it will serve to acquaint readers with significant events, personalities, movements and developments in the history of the church. Those who are unfamiliar with the subject matter will find it to be a stimulating introduction to areas covered. At the same time we hope to interest those who are students of Church history with material not easily available such as this issue’s translation of the Oldendorp work (Missionaries Against Terrible Odds) which was published in German in 1777.

An...

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30 Jun 1982

Did You Know?

by the Editors | Issue 1

THE MORAVIANS WERE LABORERS craftsmen whose products became renowned for their quality. Leonard Dober, the first missionary, was a potter.

For over a year, the Herrnhut community struggled over sending missionaries to preach to the slaves in the West Indies. With unanimous support, Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann were eventually sent to proclaim the Gospel. During the first part of their journey, Zinzendorf re-emphasized his theory for missions.

The missionaries arrived on St. Thomas in December of 1732. Their courageous endeavor...

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30 Jun 1982

A Day in the Life of Early Herrnhut

by the Editors | Issue 1

“HERRNHUT WAS A HAVEN of peace, with its two hundred houses, built on a rising ground with evergreen woods on two sides, and gardens on the others, and high hills at a short distance. It was a haven of faith in a world of infidelity; of unity in a world of division.”

So A. J. Lewis described this, “one of the most remarkable experiments in the realm of Christian service Christendom has ever seen.” Count Zinzendorf and twelve elected elders served as the town council for this little “haven of faith” in southeastern Saxony....

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30 Jun 1982

Zinzendorf’s Chronology

by the Editor | Issue 1

May 26, 1700 born in Dresden to Count George Ludwig and Baroness Charlotte.

1703–1710 reared at Gross-Hennersdorf estate of grandmother, Baroness Von Gersdorf.

1710 enrolled at Halle in the Paedagogium of Pietist August Francke.

1715 pledged his life’s devotion to Christ and originated “The Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed.”

August 25, 1716 arrived at Wittenberg to begin university studies.

1719–1720 “grand tour” of Germany, Holland, France, Switzerland. In a Dusseldorf museum he made a vow to Christ.

October 1721 began service as lawyer...

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30 Jun 1982

Baptized Into One Spirit

by the Editors | Issue 1

FIRMLY BELIEVING it to be the will of God, Zinzendorf had thus begun to mold a divided band of refugees of different denominations into a united and witnessing Congregation but all through the summer, the people seemed to be waiting and preparing for a still more signal visitation and commandment from the Lord.

In June, Zinzendorf and his family took up their new residence in the Herrschaftshaus at Herrnhut, before the walls of their apartments were dry. Sunday 2 July was a day of great blessing; the Count preached in Herrnhut; Pastor...

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30 Jun 1982

The Rich Young Ruler . . . Who Said Yes!

by the editors of Christian History | Issue 1

Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, heir to one of Europe’s leading families, was destined for high duties in 18th Century Europe. Since 1662 all males in the Zinzendorf clan bore the title of count in the Holy Roman Empire; thus young Nicolaus Ludwig became at birth Count Zinzendorf.

His mother recorded his birth in the family Bible, noting on May 26, 1700 in Dresden the “gift of my firstborn son, Nicolaus Ludwig,” asking “the Father of mercy” to “govern the heart of this child that he may walk blamelessly in the path of virtue — may his path...

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30 Jun 1982

Missionaries Against Terrible Odds

by Christian Georg Andreas Oldendorp | Issue 1

THESE TWO BRETHREN, Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, started their journey, sure of their heavenly calling and determined to persevere for Christ’s sake in spite of all of the difficulties. Yes, with their lives they would venture all, having received the blessing of the congregation at the meeting in Herrnhut on the 25th of August 1732. Count Zinzendorf himself blessed Dober by laying his hand on this man who had felt called to go forth as a witness. “Let yourself always be led by the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” said the count.

On their...

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  • Hymns Of Praise: Charles Wesley $11.99

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  • First Fruits $7.99

    First Fruits

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    In 1732, two young Moravians left their comfortable community of Hernhut, Germany, convinced that they were called of God to bring the Gospel to the slaves in the West Indies. They went, willing to become slaves if necessary, to minister to these oppressed people.

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