Sunday, January 2, 2011

Zinzendorf and the Moravians

Excerpt from "Old Salem - The Official Guidebook" by Penelope Niven and Cornelia Wright (click on the link to purchase your copy). Visit the official website of Old Salem Museums and Gardens
"The history of the Moravians comes to life at Old Salem. A unique religious group, the Moravians made the town of Salem an oasis of beauty and order in the Carolina back-country. Today in the workshops, homes, and gardens of Old Salem, men and women carry on the daily tasks of living just as they were done in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - crafting beautiful objects, running households and businesses, and  engaging in artistic and musical pursuits. This guide will help you make the most of your visit to Old Salem, one of the most authentic living-history museums in the United States."
Zinzendorf and the Moravians

Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf
The goals and practices Zinzendorf laid out fit the traditions the Moravians had brought with them to Herrnhut. He recommended that they live out their faith in every aspect of their daily lives, intermingling the secular and the spiritual. They lived by the teachings and text of the Bible, rather than by the rules handed down by the church hierarchy. They patterned their public worship on the scriptures and the Apostolic Church. They believed in service to the church, to the community, and to the world at large.

In all these beliefs the Moravians were strongly influenced by Pietism, a movement that spread across Europe in the late 1600s and strongly influenced the Lutheran Church. In essence, the Pietists believed in a Christianity of experience and participation, a “heart religion” rather than a rigid doctrine and passive acceptance of a formal creed. Zinzendorf saw the Moravian congregation as a branch of Lutheranism, not as a separate church.

On August 13, 1727, in the beautiful refuge of Herrnhut, the pastor John Andrew Rothe gave an address, after which he, Zinzendorf, and the congregation walked to the Lutheran church in Berthelsdorf, a mile away. There the congregation took part in a confirmation and communion service led by Pastor John Suss, at which Zinzendorf offered a prayer. The service so inspired the Brethren that Zinzendorf marked it as the spiritual birthday of the Renewed Moravian Church.

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