Eberhard Arnold
Founder of the Bruderhof

Eberhard Arnold was a German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and co-founder of the Bruderhof.

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Daily Inspiration
Let us enter these days of Christmas and with all our hearts ask God to move us with his thoughts: that we may think along big lines, not only in continents, not only in planets, but in the largest constellations; that we may think not only in cycles of years, but in decades, centuries, and millennia, in the dimensions of God’s thoughts, in God’s great sweeping curves. - Eberhard Arnold, Advent 1934
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Pastor

Pastor

From the time of his conversion at age sixteen Arnold involved himself in the spiritual care of others: first as a leader in the Student Christian Movement, later as a counselor for soldiers returning home from the battlefields of World War I, and then as leader of the Bruderhof, the Christian community he founded.

I can only say that I feel more and more certain and more and more happy in my inner calling to deeds in the love of Jesus, and to the discipleship of Christ in all aspects of practical life. - Eberhard Arnold
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Educator

The education of the children being raised within the Bruderhof was a priority for Arnold. He believed children should be educated in a broad context of life and that their innate love of learning could be nurtured best when all aspects of life were valued equally: heart, head, and hand. He drew on the work of German pedagogues Friedrich Fröbel and Heinrich Pestalozzi in the development of his approach.
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community at Sannerz, Emmy with a lute

Friend of the Arts

Arnold was strongly opposed to automation and mechanization, believing that work done as a labor of love had redemptive power. As a publisher, his approach to book design was meticulous. Fonts were selected with care (in one example working with designer Rudolf Koch) and for illustrations he commissioned woodcuts to be made by recognized artists. Throughout his life Arnold wrote poems in which he gave expression to his thoughts. He had some of them put to music and published.
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Public Intellectual

Arnold engaged vigorously with the intellectual currents of his day. He was a sought-after public speaker and filled lecture halls in many cities working to prove that faith in Jesus Christ brought convincing answers to the questions of modern humanity. Arnold grappled with the thinking of Friedrich Nietzche, Rudolf Steiner, Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy, Stefan George, Peter Kropotkin, and in later years the propagators of National Socialism in speeches with titles such as “The New Aristocracy”, “The Modern Antichrist and His Defeat”, and “Nietzsche in the Present-Day Struggle”.
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Church Historian

Church Historian

A descendant of a long line of church historians, Arnold’s interest in the subject was kindled at an early age. As a university student he took a special interest in the Anabaptist movement of the sixteenth century. Their commitment to nonviolence and communal sharing was particularly inspirational to him. After founding the Bruderhof, Arnold took pains to educate members about the different movements of faith in history; the early Christian church, the Moravian Brethren, the Quakers, the Waldensians, the Hutterites, and others. 
To the prophetic view, God appears as the guide and shepherd of all history. He guides men’s external destinies towards the one goal, which is the uniting of all nations in one fold. Man is received into the domain of God’s kingdom. The essence of this kingdom is the rulership of love. - Eberhard Arnold
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theologian

Theologian

Arnold studied theology at the University of Halle but was denied the opportunity to sit for the doctoral exam after stating his intention to leave the state church. He later completed a doctorate in philosophy. Arnold chose to take the words of Jesus at face value and live by them, returning again and again to the Sermon on the Mount. He was known to bring his guests behind the house and carry on theological debates while turning compost. He believed in the Holy Spirit and the church community that was a fruit of this Spirit: a church with divine authority to forgive sins and to speak truth to power.
Jesus paves the new way for God to enter the world. This new way seeks out darkness but does not fall prey to it. Not until now can God, in the outpouring of his Spirit, unfold his heart to humankind in full forgiveness and reconciliation. - Eberhard Arnold
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Communitarian

Communitarian

Arnold found the solution to the disintegration of society in intentional community. In numerous essays he explained how renouncing private property and living with others in harmony and love was the only answer to war and injustice. But he was also fully aware of the irritations and petty jealousies that arise when people live in close proximity; these must be addressed in honesty and humility. 
It is clear to us that the first Christian community in Jerusalem was more than a historical happening. It was here that the Sermon on the Mount came to life. - Eberhard Arnold
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Christian Socialism and Pacifism

Christian Socialist and Pacifist

Through his work with the Salvation Army, Arnold became aware of the poverty in the city slums. Reading Hermann Kutter’s book They Must was pivotal in drawing him to Christian socialism. In his work as a chaplain with wounded veterans of World War I Arnold experienced first-hand the physical and spiritual trauma caused by war and gradually came to believe that Christians can never take part in violence. This conviction, along with the realization that war is inevitably a result of materialistic greed, led him to seek an alternative way of life in community with others.
Christ’s people are sent out to work among humanity, to have an effect in the world, just as Jesus himself did. They must represent the message of the future kingdom, and their task and their actions cannot be different from Christ’s: to bring help and deliverance for soul and body, to heal and help in all sufferings and torments. - Eberhard Arnold
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About the
Bruderhof

Founded by Eberhard Arnold in 1920, the Bruderhof is an intentional Christian community of more than 2,900 people living in twenty-three settlements on four continents. As a fellowship of families and singles practicing radical discipleship in the spirit of the first church in Jerusalem, Bruderhof members gladly renounce private property and share everything in common.

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