Schwarzenau Brethren

The Schwarzenau Brethren or Tunker are a company established in the early 18th century by Alexander Mack pietistic Anabaptist movement that practiced among other things, the creditor baptism by triple immersion. Some of them are also known as Schwarzenauer Neutäufer, Dunkers, or German Baptists Dunkards. The movement of the Schwarzenau Brethren today consists of several Brethren Churches in North America.


The movement emerged in the early 18th century in the context of radical Pietism. Her real founding moment was when eight adults were baptized in the Eder at Schwarzenau by immersion in August 1708. The so- newly formed group called themselves brothers. Among them was Alexander Mack, was allotted the leadership role within the group. Under him, the movement spread after 1708 soon in other parts of the country such as the Palatinate and the Wetterau from. Missionaries were sent up to Württemberg and Switzerland. In their theology, the movement was strongly influenced by Ernst Christoph Hohmann influenced by Hochenau, who had already established as a representative of the mystical pietism spirutellen 1704 to a Christian household in Schwarzenau. Contacts were also among the Anabaptist Mennonites. Due to lack of political acceptance emigrated in 1719 under the leadership of Peter Becker for the first time a group Tunker from Krefeld to the North American Pennsylvania. A year later they moved about 40 families led by Alexander Mack to Mennonites in the Dutch Friesland. From the Netherlands was followed by Alexander Mack in 1729 with about 120 people in the first group to Pennsylvania. In the following years, almost the entire movement of the Schwarzenauer brothers moved to North America. Here, however, came in 1728 at a fraction, as a group under the leadership of Johann Conrad Beissels seceded under the name Siebentägner - Tunker who spoke out for the celebration of the Sabbath on Saturday and increasingly for celibate ideas. In 1732 the Siebentägner - founded the Ephrata Cloister Tunker. The remaining community yet been able to establish and spread further. Among them was Johann Christoph Sauer, the first Bible printed in German language in North America in 1743. Today the Schwarzenau Brethren are used in several U.S. states.

The Schwarzenau Brethren have many similarities with the Mennonites. As they reject infant baptism, the oath and military service. Also in the form of life, church order and worship, they are largely in line with the Mennonites, but practicing as Baptists baptism by immersion (immersion). Accordingly, the Schwarzenau Brethren were also called German Baptists. Connections to the Anabaptist Mennonites were already in its founding years in Germany and the Netherlands. Matches there were particular with the Mennonite Dompelaars, of which a part joined the Tunkern. Nevertheless, the roots of Schwarzenau Brethren are mainly found in the radical Pietism. Schwarzenau and Wittgenstein district Been a center pietistic separatist become by 1700, in its milieu, the Tunker could emerge. They are in addition to the Inspired one of the two still existing today originated from the radical Pietism denominations.

Today, there is next to the Church of the Brethren several American churches such as the The Brethren Church, Dunkard Brethren Church or Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, who refer to the coming of Schwarzenau Tunker. Of the Tunkern strongly influenced are the Mennonites River (also River Brethren ), known primarily as a Brethren in Christ today. The directly resulting from the movement of Tunker churches worldwide currently work together in the Brethren World Assembly (Brothers World Assembly ). In 2008, the meeting was first held at the birthplace of the movement in the Westphalian Schwarzenau. The Schwarzenau Brethren or Tunker are also strong diaconal active today. Because of their pacifist beliefs are attributed to along with Quakers and Mennonites the historic peace churches.