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He entreated the Moravians without coercing to have a burden for lost souls. He wrote that he himself was not so much a God-fearing, but a God-joyful person. Yet he knew suffering. He was harassed as a boy in a boarding school; called a beast by a friend he protected; greeted by a jester in the royal court of Berlin, because the king thought he was a fool; exiled from his beloved homeland; accused of gross misconduct by newspapers in Pennsylvania; and lost nine of his twelve children prematurely.

But Zinzendorf knew where to get his strength. Even in his early youth he developed an intimacy with the Lamb of God through prayer. This is a story of persecution, of dissension, of Spirit-filled boldness, of daring enterprises, of dying on mission fields and of congenial relations among the Brethren. Product Details.

Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A Teachable Spirit. This book is right to the point and filled with power. Practical, truthful steps to living Practical, truthful steps to living the life and walking the walk. View Product. Beyond the Quran. They were allowed to remain Indians, and the Moravians did not seek to Europeanize their culture. Schattschneider says,. Missionaries were encouraged to learn the languages of the people whom they served.

Many did and soon began translating Scripture and hymns for local use. When it came to relations with local customs and traditions, and even to colonial authorities, the workers were encouraged to maintain a low profile. These structures played their historical role in Europe where he viewed them as expressions of the diverse way in which God works.

But for the world of the missions he hoped for something new and he was involved in several ecumenical experiments. Under no circumstances were the missionaries to proselytize from other Christian groups. And the Spirit could transform the peculiarities of heathen culture. In a near-death experience at sea, Wesley was astonished at the unwavering peace and unconquerable joy of the Moravians. Having encountered the Spirit of God through the worship of the Moravians, Wesley set out to discover the source of their joy, which led him to meet Zinzendorf.

Fifty years before the beginning of modern missions by William Carey and the Baptist Missionary Society, the Moravian Church had pioneered the way into pagan countries both by principle and example. Their English missionary magazine Periodical Accounts inspired Carey.

A Brief History of the Moravian Church

Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen? He rejected anyone who challenged his excess, and he was not teachable during this period. The longer the overindulgence continued, the more sensual it became. There was an undue exaltation of marriage as the symbol of the marriage between Christ and the souls of the believer, and in this exaltation sexual terminology was freely employed.

In the final analysis, though their mystical practices presumed to be Bible-centered and even cross-centered, it did not mean they accorded with established sound doctrine. It was not until they reformed and realigned themselves under the Augsburg Confession that they came back to center. Though for a season they quoted texts in defense of their spiritual experiences, their spiritual practices went beyond the bounds of biblical spirituality; they did not always accord with the pattern of sound words, the witness of church history, and established doctrinal teaching.

Though Zinzendorf and the Moravians claimed devotion to the Bible, they misused and misapplied it. Without a joyful devotion to a confessional and doctrinal center, the Moravians could quote verses out of context and argue for the validity of their enthusiasm. This propensity to quote the Bible out of historical, grammatical, literary, and theological context and thus appear to be Bible-centered on the surface should be a warning to Christians leaders lest they use Scripture to support their own fancies.

If the Bible is not rightly divided, its misuse can cause confusion, misdirection, and even abuse. Moreover, in relation to the centrality of Scripture, the gospel must be heralded rightly in a way that does not confuse the message of the gospel with its implications. The gospel message is a summons from the King that sinners proudly defy; it is not good advice, but rather, it is good news. The gospel must never become socially acceptable advice for living.

The Moravian vision for renewal and mission is certainly something missionaries can learn from today. Throughout the history of the church, often times corporate mission impetus emerges out of extraordinary concerted prayer. The Moravian missions movement demonstrated this historical phenomenon, and the Moravians also showed how ongoing prayer is life-giving for missionaries on the field.

To be sure, they employed some extra-biblical practices in their praying, but their devotion to God in prayer was commendable. Furthermore, their relentless devotion to unite mission and prayer is worthy of imitation. Too often prayer ministries err on the side of inaction, and similarly, mission agencies can err on the side of emphasizing strategy and methods over against prayerfulness. Mission agencies and churches should be aware of the modern tendency to elevate pragmatism over piety.

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Another implication of the Moravian missionary movement that deserves consideration but not wholesale imitation is their emphasis on Christian unity. The Moravians were renowned for working across denominational lines in order to demonstrate Christian love to a watching world. This emphasis on ecumenism over the years slipped into doctrinal tolerance and liberalism because they did not hold fast to a confessional center, but their initial intentions were noteworthy. The role of suffering in Moravian piety is an implication that should be considered for mission- aries and global leaders today.

The Moravians viewed suffering in missions as a way to identify with Christ and demonstrate the power of the resurrection in a cruciform lifestyle. In an era of vaccinations, modern medicine, jet travel, and a love for ease, any call to self-denial and suffering is often met with derision. Though their Crucicentrism was misapplied at times, it is no coincidence that Moravian missionaries often chose paths of hardship because of their vision of the slain Lamb who has conquered death.

Count Zinzendorf And The Spirit Of The Moravians by Paul Wemmer

A renewed consecration to follow Christ as the conquering Lamb is needed in contemporary Christianity. Count Zinzendorf and his Moravian missionary host burned with passion for the Lamb and his renown among the heathen. Their organization of Bible study groups for the sake of practical holiness was innovative and still proves to be useful today.

Moravian spiritual formation was charitable and heart-felt. A joyful spirit among the Moravians influenced their passionate prayers for over one hundred years. Regularly emphasizing confession and repentance became vital for the continual purity of the community.

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Because of their devotion to the slain Lamb, the Moravians were actively committed to reaching the heathen, even at the cost of martyrdom. This cross-centered missionary spirituality kept their prayer gatherings alive as they urgently interceded for fellow missionaries. The Moravians never stopped praying for over one hundred years, and so pervasive were their missionary stations that the sun never set on them.

Therefore, let us consider what the Moravians have done; our Lamb has conquered, let us follow him. Moravia was essentially a refugee region for persecuted non-Catholics. On August 13, , the Moravian refugees experienced a tremendous revival, from which emerged a great evangelical missionary movement. Second, the practice of holy living and active compassion developed out of this emphasis on ex- perience. Third, emerging from this active compassion, Pietists concerned themselves with the unevangelized heathen. Theodore G. Tappert Minneapolis: Fortress Press, For a helpful discussion of the six themes outlined in Pia Desideria , see Kenneth B.

Samuel Jackson. London: Holdsworth, , This is a reproduction of a set of principles drawn up in by Zinzendorf himself. Olms, , 27, quoted in Craig D. This emblem influenced his spirituality as he designed plans for a praying missionary society.

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His hymn reflected his conviction:. John Wesley figured largely in that mighty movement and much attention has centered on him. It is not possible that we have overlooked the place which that round-the-clock prayer watch had in reaching Wesley and, through him and his associates, in altering the course of history? Leslie K. Used and abridged by permission. Click here for reprint information on Christian History. Log in Shop. Sections Home. Prayer Abortion Fatherhood. Subscribe Subscriber Benefits Give a Gift. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. Home Featured Holidays.

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