The Moravians

The Moravians
 
1.  John Hus
A.  He established the ‘Unitas Fratrum’ (The Unity of Brethren, The United Brethren, The Bohemian brethren, = Moravians)
a.      “Let us instead, pray to God in our language rather than in the dead words used by the priests.”
b.     Rights of the individual to worship as he pleased
c.      John Hus trusted the individual to read the Bible, to understand, and to correctly interpret the will of God, . . .
d.     Very new ideas and heretical!
B.    John Hus in 1414 AD. – Was summoned to appear before the pope)
Jailed and martyred = burned alive on the stake
C. Start of the Hussite Wars of the Bohemians and the Roman Church.
2.   A. In 1468 – The Brethren were declared outlaws.
B. By 1507 – Edict of St. James; their meetings forbidden, books burned, churches destroyed, and they were scattered and hunted like animals in the forest.
C.  By 1620 – 36,000 families of the Brethren fled from Bohemia to Moravia. (“All remained was the ‘Hidden Seed’”.
3.   Count Nicolas Zinzendorf – met David Christian, an itinerant Moravian carpenter, …
A.  In late spring of 1722, 10 refugees moved from Moravia to Bethelsdorf, Germany. They named their settlement ‘Herrhut’ = “Under the care of and standing guard for the Lord”
B.      By 1727 there were about 300 refugees, from Moravia, Poland, Germany, and Bohemia.
C.      In 1727 – renewal came when during a season of religious exaltation, the villagers felt the Spirit of God come among them
D.     Count V.Z. was a Lutheran, and so he attempted to keep the Moravians from segregating; he had no idea it was a new church.
E.      Zin. Order of life:
a.   To be kind to all men
b.   To be true to Christ
c.   To send the Gospel to the heathen

F.        Zin. Theologies;
a.   Christ is the sole means thru which man could hope to understand God
b.   No more eternal penitence but man is free to love and adore God.
c.   To attain salvation it was not sufficient merely to believe in God and Christ; one had to learn to love Him.
d.   Unlike the pietists, Zin believed salvation was not a process of guilt but a joyful apprehension of a loving Father, . . .
e.   Emphasis on experiencing a joyous reunion with Christ through one’s emotions rather than ones head.
f.     They kept the image of Christ before their eyes all the time, and identified with His sufferings, Blood, wounds, etc. = the Sifting period
g.   Don’t rely on your brains but you hearts; (heart religion)
Be like children in God’s arms, thus overcoming all doubts and cares.
h.   Also viewed the church as the Bride of Jesus, and the believer’s as the family of God.
i.     Trinity views = a family – God as Father, Holy Ghost as Mother, Jesus as their only Son, Church as the Bride and wife of Jesus, also as the daughter-in-law of both God and the Holy Ghost.
j.      The doctrine of the elect_- they withdrew from most of society during the ‘sifting period’ and became “a little closer” to God than others were, they thought. (The Moravians attained peace of mind through the conviction that they stood in God’s favor”; Knox)
4.  The Moravian way of life:
A.      John Wesley said “They were always employed, always cheerful themselves and in good humor with one another.”
B.      They avoided politics C.      Refused to take oaths D.      Refused to bear arms
E.       Governed by elders and Christ as the chief elder!
F.       Worship:
a.   Love feasts – congregation came together to share food and drink, like the common meal of the primitive Christians (today = coffee and buns)
b.   Zin.: “I acknowledge no Christianity without fellowship.”
c.   Love feasts were a large part of celebrating social occasions and ceremonies; such as: the candlelight love feast on Christmas Eve.
c.1.  Taken from the ancient apostolic tradition
c.2. Consisting of hymn singing, chanting of liturgy, and a simple meal of coffee, bread or rolls
d.   The Moravian Easter Sunrise service started in 1732, when a band of Single Brothers climbed ‘watch Hill’ to welcome the dawn of Easter Day with songs and prayer
e.    ‘The cup of Covenant service’ – they pass the cup from one to another like Christ and His apostles – began in 1729
G.      Monthly Congregation Day = they gathered to hear the mail read aloud from around the world
H.      The Lot = decided most all decisions of importance, to know God’s will
I.          They were industrious workers and tradesmen.
a.   Coopers, carpenters, weavers, candle makers, ironworkers, etc.
b.   “Every good Christian who has found God, must devote himself to his calling…”
c.   Diligence, frugality, punctuality, and conscientious attention to detail became virtues of Christian life.
d.   One must love God and fellowman – developed a spirit of cooperation and willingness to work together.
J.         The first Protestant missionaries to the heathen a.   No sheep stealing allowed, they went only to the unreached
K.      All things in common – money and supplies were given on a need basis, a ‘communism society’, like early church.
a.   Community gardens, and bakery
b.   Brethren stores, tools, and goods
c.   All money given to the elders to distribute for the community
d.   All land owned by the church, some leased later, now just like American denominations
L.       Strict adherence to their ‘Choir system’ a.   Sex and age segregation required
b.   Single Brother and Sister houses, for older and young children
c.   Even babies lived in a separate house
d.   Widows and widowers as well
e.   Married people had their own homes, or missions
f.     Daily devotions, prayers, songs, work, and celebrations were with your age and sex, were scheduled in their days. (See pg 75 of Moravians in Two worlds)
g.   Large group and family celebrations were held in meeting houses, called ‘love feasts’, ‘Agape meals’, (like ‘Candle light Christmas service’), for any occasion; new building, good crops, etc.
h.   Adults were free to leave on mission trips for extended periods of time knowing their children were safe and well cared for by the community.
i.     Marriages were arranged and betrothed, as suggested by the elders and accepted by the youth.
j.     Smaller groups called bands were formed from the choirs for the purpose of Bible reading, prayer and singing.
M.    Children and Zin.
a.   Count Zin. Had a particular fondness for the children of the community
b.   He would take them on walks in the hills, and forests and they would learn of God and were taught many of life’s lessons this way
c.   Zin. Had a keen since of following the Holy Spirit, to learn our way in the world, and that children should be taught by example of good character rather than strict disciplines and rules of behavior. (New ideas for the time)
d.   Before psychology, etc. Zin. Was an innovator of children, their stages of life and their ability to learn and serve God?
N.      Night and day prayer? a.  Only found example of 24/7 prayer vigil during the French & Indians wars of America. The Cherokee, and other northern Indians were raiding all around and some were killed.

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