“For no one can lay any other foundation…” (1 Corinthians 3:11)
The sole founder and leader is Jesus Christ. “The Group” was founded in May 30 AD (for more details read Acts 2). In the course of a turbulent history, Jesus again and again called people out to follow him. We are not the first, nor are we the last Christians.
Since God calls people continuously it should not be surprising that at the end of the 70s/beginning of the 80s in the 20th century some Christians in Vienna found each other and henceforth did not want to live alone anymore. None of those concerned had the intention to establish “a Group”. This thought was far from our minds. It is an act of human pride when someone wants to found his own group or community. The will of God is the unity of all believers. Factions and self-conceit are most sharply rejected in the New Testament (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Christians seek unity with other Christians and not separation from the community. So at the beginning we also hoped to find a community. What we found however were only individual Christians, but no community. Every “confession” we encountered, whether large or small raised its own traditions above the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. Biblically based criticism was dismissed (most sharply from the so-called Bible Believers). So we had to face the fact that the assembly of believers didnt exist in our geographic vicinity and that according to Gods will, we ourselves were what we had been searching for in vain, namely the Church of God in Vienna.
The decision to share a common flat must not be confused with the founding of a group. The fact was that most of the brothers and sisters didnt come from Vienna and lived scattered throughout various towns and regions and we had no place where we could gather undisturbed. The reason that Gottfried “characteristically” didnt share our flat was that he, as one of the few Viennese brothers, had his own flat, which wasn’t very far from the community flat.
The fact that the words of a sensation-journalist from 1982 are being regurgitated to this day shows that there is actually nothing so exciting about us for the world to see. No sex-scandals, no violent crime, just harmless “cloth bags” … For once something quite different to the crimes committed by various “churches” over the centuries in the name of Jesus which cost millions of people their lives and their freedom.
Concerning the exclusion of Gottfried, which Kluge mentions briefly, we wish firstly to refer the reader to the thoughts summarized in Chapter about “The expulsion of disobedient members” and “No sinners in the community”. God shows no favouritism. We are on the one hand thankful for everything that God gave us through Gottfried, but we were not able to turn a blind eye to his sins. Precisely because our fellowship is not dependent on a particular human authority – because we are not a “Holic Group”, but a community which desires to follow no one other than Jesus – we had to separate from him, as the common Biblical basis was no longer present.
The assumption that the aim of his continuing study of theology was alone to collect information to use against the “other churches” is incorrect. Theology as a study of the Words of God on a scientific level is very valuable. Its just a pity that most of the theologians dont want to follow the God whose Word they want to fathom.
Concerning “expansion” into various former Eastern-bloc countries it needs to be said that many things were not a result of our planning, but that God led us to people from these countries. If anyone wants to decipher a special strategy, then its not a matter of our human strategy.