Archiver > BRETHREN > 2008-07 > 1215016629

From: "William Thomas" <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] Pietists & Anabaptists
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 12:37:09 -0400
In-Reply-To: <>

I understand the point Merle is making, but to get technical, Pietism,
Anabaptism, and pacifism are not necessarily connected. The original
Anabaptists were far from being pacifists, with the Munster incident (16th
century) an example. Munster was a town taken over by Anabaptists,
resulting in a military siege. The Mennonite's and their offshoot the Amish
instituted pacifism into the picture. The English Baptists were also
influenced by Anabaptist theology, but they also were far not pacifists.

Anyway, the lengthy list of Brethren names in the
non-associator/non-enroller lists show that significant numbers of Brethren
were pacifists during the Revolution. Many of the early Brethren were also
Mennonite/Amish converts. I read that one reason the Northkill Berks County
Amish settlement moved to Somerset County, was to get away from the Dunkard
influence. That influx of Mennonite/Amish may also be one of the reasons
for the demise of the pietism the Merle speaks of.

Bill Thomas

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:]
On Behalf Of winter dellenbach
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 9:58 AM
Subject: [BRE] Pietists & Anabaptists

Merle - thank you for your info. re: Pietistism, Anabaptism," Annual
Meeting Brethren" and the "Pietist/Far West Brethren". I saw the
subject line, DAR and did not read some of the earlier emails thru
lack of time. But now I read your interesting review of Church and war
history. My family was involved with Ephrata and also around the Far
West Brethren in Montgomery Co. OH, so I am interested in what you had
to say - that some move to KY or OH before Annual meetings started was
something I hadn't considered before.

I would like to understand the difference between Anabaptism and
Pietism. I have read explanations, but particularly with pietism, the
explanations have been abstract and non-specific and I never really
understood. Could you simply explain the specifc, broad points of
each? I would really appreciate it.
On Jul 2, 2008, at 4:52 AM, Merle C Rummel wrote:

>> First, I highly recommend you read the book "Brethren in the New
>> Nation", by
>> Sappington. Although this book does not deal with the
>> Revolutionary War
>> period, it does go into explicit detail regarding how the Brethren
>> dealt
>> with the draft during the Civil War. The attitudes toward pacifism
>> shown in
>> Sappington's book during the Civil War would also have been the
>> same in the
>> Revolutionary War. The non-enroller listings for Frederick County,
>> MD, and
>> the non-associator listings for Lancaster County, support this view.
> Let me complicate the picture -
> I took the Conscientious Objector stand during the Korean War, but my
> son went into the Marines - so I have some sympathy with both sides -
> In this research I've been doing on the Early Brethren in Kentucky -
> the
> "Frontier Brethren" - one of the observations I am making was that
> these
> Brethren held strongly to the Pietist origin of our church - and there
> were differences. Dr Dale Brown, who taught the Pietism Course at
> Bethany Seminary, made the point strong that we Brethren today do not
> know what Pietism was. What he taught was the history of the
> beginnings
> - and he admitted that there were no records, except for Ephrata (a
> Radical Pietism), to show what it meant in the life of the individual
> and the church.
> The Brethren Church of today comes out of the Brethren of eastern
> Pennsylvania and Maryland (and slightly in Virginia, the Brethren had
> only been in the Valley a couple years before the war started) who
> survived the persecution of the Revolutionary period. Our stand was
> based both on the Bible -the commandment - "Thou shalt not kill." (The
> Hebrew word is "ratasch" - which means to kill a person -as opposed to
> "sachat" -which means to kill an animal. - so to explain it as "no
> murder" is incorrect!) and through our promise ("A Dunker's word is as
> good as his bond!") of loyalty to the King. We appreciated the
> opportunity the King gave, to permit us to live in this peaceful land,
> after the devastations suffered in the Palatinate during the wars of
> Europe. The Sons of Liberty, proponents of the Revolution, but not a
> majority of the population, terrorized those who stood in opposition
> to
> them. The Brethren, and Mennonites and Amish (fellow Anabaptists),
> were
> persecuted - some severely. The church "withdrew" into community with
> these others also suffering for their stand. Shall I say, we hid out
> together.
> The early Brethren were nearly opposite. The Germantown Church (mother
> church) was reported to pray and sing so loud, that it hurt your ears,
> clear down the street (Durnbaugh). Many a Brethren home became a
> center
> of evangelism to their neighbors. Pietism was concerned with a revival
> of the individual, to bring them to a closer relationship to Jesus.
> Creeds and practices hardly mattered. The original pietism spread
> through all the churches of Germany. There were only two denominations
> to directly result out of the movement, and the Brethren are one - and
> even his mentor, Hochmann von Hochenau, was upset about what Alexander
> Mack had done.
> As such, Dr Floyd Mallot, professor of Church History at Bethany
> Seminary, used to ask - "What happened to the Brethren during the
> Revolution? They Changed!" The change was from Pietism to Anabaptism -
> from an open freedom to a type of legalism. The church Elders met in
> an
> Annual Meeting, where they determined the direction of the Church, and
> they enforced their decisions on the churches.
> This was not Pietism, this was Anabaptism - and the Brethren who had
> migrated west (Brothers Valley, and Washington Co PA) and south (the
> Carolinas), and some few who were in Kaintuck - were Pietist - they
> had
> left before Annual Meeting developed and before the emphasis on
> Anabaptism. As one migrant coming to Ohio on the new National Road (US
> 40) -about 1826 asked: "What do we do about these 'Strange Brethren'?"
> There was considerable difference between the Brethren, who were
> already
> here, and these Annual Meeting Brethren who came later -and Annual
> Meeting kicked all these early Brethren OUT (unless they changed -and
> accepted the Annual Meeting decisions - see the records on the "Far
> Western Brethren" and Elder George Wolfe Jr - George Wolfe accepted
> the
> Annual Meeting way, many others did not!)
> The Frontier Brethren do not seem to have had the strong stand for
> Pacifism that was true of the Annual Meeting Brethren. They did defend
> themselves against the British and Indian invasions. Some of them
> killed, others reloaded the guns for the fighters or tended injured or
> fought fires from the fire arrows. It was as Daniel Boone (Quaker
> origin) said (speaking of being a waggoner for General Braddock, at
> the
> defeat at Pittsburg) -he killed the first of only three Indians that
> he
> killed in his life. Many of the early Brethren in Kentucky were youth
> who had fought in the Revolution (Capt Henry Rhoads -of Brothers
> Valley
> - in Muhlenberg Co KY 1784). Some had even been expelled from their
> family back home, because of the war, but they were still Brethren -
> and
> carried the Brethren faith with them (but Pietism -and not the
> Anabaptism).
> Annual Meeting "expelled" (Frontier Brethren term) these early
> Brethren
> about 1826. Elder Adam Hostetler and Elder Peter Hon were placed on
> the
> Ban (the Brethren Encyclopedia calls them "the Hostetler Brethren",
> they
> called themselves "the Brethren Association"). From what Historian
> Abraham Cassel says, in numbers it may have been almost half the
> denomination. The Brethren, in that time, practiced what they called:
> "Unanimity" - we sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our
> decisions, so there could be no decision until the whole body voted
> unanimous. The Annual Meeting Brethren saw these Frontier Brethren as
> not accepting the decisions of the Holy Spirit (but the Frontier
> Brethren had not been present when the decisions were made, and seem
> to
> have not even known about the question or the decision!) So they had
> to
> change and accept the Annual Meeting decision - or leave.
> The Brethren of the Civil War period were All - Annual Meeting
> Brethren,
> the Brethren of the Revolution were not.
> Be sure - there were other differences between the Pietist faith and
> Anabaptism - we don't really know them all (someone needs to translate
> the commentary of the Pietist Berleberg Bible -I'm sure it would
> tell us
> things we don't know about Pietist beliefs - but it is HUGE - 8
> volumes,
> over 1000 pages each - 18th Century German)
> Merle C Rummel
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