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What is the Bruderhof (Church Communities UK)?

Question: "What is the Bruderhof (Church Communities UK)?"

The Bruderhof (“Place of Brothers”) is a communal sect within Christianity. It was founded in Germany in 1920 by Eberhard Arnold, who wanted his movement to follow the Sermon on the Mount and the example of the early church in Jerusalem. The Bruderhof follows an Anabaptist and Hutterite tradition. They claim almost 3,000 members in 23 colonies in Germany, Paraguay, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. In the United Kingdom, the Bruderhof is known as the Church Communities UK.

From the Bruderhof’s website: “Inspired by the example of the first church in Jerusalem as described in the New Testament, we seek to put into action Christ’s command to love God and neighbor.” The Bruderhof commitment to share all things in common is based on the early church’s example in Acts 2:44–47 and 4:32–35. The communal living means that no member lays claim to any private property, no one has a bank account, and no one draws a salary—all money is pooled for the benefit of the whole group. The Bruderhof also promotes pacifism, seeing warfare as the antithesis of loving one’s neighbor. Members of the Bruderhof wear plain clothing as a denunciation of vanity and worldliness and as a symbol of purity of heart.

Some points of concern regarding the Bruderhof include the following: the call to communal living goes beyond what the Bible commands. Also, the Bruderhof places a heavy emphasis on good works, whereas their website hardly mentions the death or resurrection of Christ or the need for faith. The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8–9). The New Testament’s emphasis is on the cross of Christ and Jesus’ resurrection (see Acts 2:23–24; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 6:14). Jesus’ death was not just an example to us of selflessness; it was the one-and-only payment for our sins.

Also, the Bruderhof makes a definite attempt to broaden the source of truth, saying on their website, “Glimpses of [God’s] divine truth have been caught throughout history by sages, philosophers, and poets; from early peoples in their reverence for the Creator; to Socrates, Buddha, and Zoroaster.” Looking for truth from Buddha or Zoroaster is a dangerous spiritual practice. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).

Recommended Resource: Who Are the Anabaptists? Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites by Donald B. Kraybill

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What is the Bruderhof (Church Communities UK)?

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