From the New Testament church onward, Christians have testified to their faith through the written word. Following in that tradition the members of the Bruderhof, a Christian church community founded in 1920, published Foundations of our Faith and Calling in June 2012:
1. as a public account of the faith and life we share together; and
2. as a statement of the foundations and orders common to all Bruderhof communities throughout the world.
Click here to read Foundations online.
Reactions to Foundations
Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York - October 2012
I congratulate the members of the Bruderhof on their community’s new constitution, Foundations of our Faith and Calling. Since my appointment as Archbishop of New York, it has been a joy for me to visit the Bruderhof communities and to work together with them in proclaiming the gospel message, especially in regard to marriage, the family, and the sanctity of life. I treasure the Bruderhof’s Christian witness as a significant contribution to the wider church today.
The Bruderhof, as a religious community that includes families, seems part of the great and venerable tradition of Christian monasticism. Foundations thus is similar to the Rule of St. Benedict: visionary yet practical, theologically profound yet always down to earth. Deeply anchored in Scripture, Foundations calls the church to renewal and testifies to the world what it means to live as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Alex Duncan, Trustee, Save the Children UK - February 2013
There is a great deal that is admirable in this document in terms of what it says about your values and principles, the clarity and from time to time even beauty of the way it is written.
Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary - January 2013
One group who has attempted to form a faith rooted in fellowship is the Bruderhof….I received a copy of their new and beautiful Foundations of our Faith and Calling. It was a delightful read, the kind of book that slows you down because you sense a text drawn from decades of experience and wisdom and discussion. What I learned most from this book is what faith looks like when it emerges, not from theological discussions and debates and settled conclusions, but from a community and a fellowship….I’ve not seen any statement like this that had a better emphasis on love for one another and the neighbor.
Ken Sensenig, Mennonite Central Committee - February 2013
Thanks so much for the book, Foundations of our Faith and Calling. This is a wonderful synopsis in answer to the question, “Who are these people in the Bruderhof communities?” The 108 points in the book provide insight into biblical and historic factors that shaped the Bruderhof. The practical points of church and community life are clearly written.
Mark Cladis, Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities, Department of Religious Studies. Brown University - February 2013
Foundations truly embodies and expresses the love and life of the Bruderhof community. This book beautifully captures the heart of the Bruderhof – its faith, its community, its love and justice, its gentle ways in the context of an orderly, but dynamic, way of life. The section “Education” is especially compelling, as is “The Individual in Community”, which appropriately forms the penultimate conclusion (along with its partner, “The Common Table”). There is such suspicion of community in our greater society, and such a fetish for unbridled individualism. “The individual in Community” captures the theological goods of both community and the individual.
Regina Claas, pastor, Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance, General Secretary of the Union of Evangelical Free Church Congregations in Germany - February 2013
I’ve read and re-read Foundations, and each time I am impressed and thrilled. What’s especially powerful is the way that this document is so clearly shaped by the Bible. The chapter on your “Heritage” is helpful in describing your roots and your place among other Christian churches. I was also grateful for the wise discussion of the calling of pastoral leadership -- those entrusted with leadership work together as a team with others, not making single-handed decisions, and every member is able to speak up if there is a problem… Foundations is a book that triggers important questions about what it means to follow Jesus.
Peter Zimmerling, professor of theology, University of Leipzig
Purely from an aesthetic aspect, Foundations is a highly attractive book. What I like about it most is that it sets forth the theological, spiritual, and organizational basics of the Bruderhof communities - with complete transparency, and without trying to curry favor in any way. It is unmistakably clear that the Bruderhof tries to embody the Sermon on the Mount in its daily life; and by reading this document, anyone who wishes to become a part of the community will be able to find out what he or she is signing up for. Beyond this, Foundations draws a wide arc, from the historical roots of the Bruderhof movement in the Reformation era to its understanding of the kingdom of God; from its rationale for pacifism to its organization as a church community and its ethical approach to the economic sphere. What's especially appealing to me is the modesty that underlies Foundations: the Bruderhof movement sees itself as part of the universal church. One logical result of this is the community's ecumenical openness.