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Scripture Quotations

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Welcome!

Dear reader,

However you came across our response to Mr. Kluge’s “Description of a Sect”, we appreciate your interest in spending time getting to know the truth, rather than just believing a one-sided presentation. Due to the extensive nature of the accusations against us, we, likewise, have responded extensively. All the same, we would like to encourage you to read our explanations and examine them according to the New Testament. If you’d like to ask any questions, we’ll be happy to answer them.

We’d like to invite you not only to read our writings, but also to get to know us and the way we live. You can contact us via e-mail:

wahrhaftig@fastmail.fm

Re: “The internal structure of the Group”

“You have only one Master, you are all brothers…” (Matthew 23:8b)

We have already written something about the brotherly structure of a Biblical community. There is no fixed, closed circle of elder brothers through whom the Holy Spirit speaks. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit.

“You have been anointed by the Holy One, and have all received knowledge.” (1 John 2:20)

Everybody is encouraged to give what he has, using all his gifts and strength. Guidance through God’s Spirit does not come through either a hierarchical or a democratic structure. What is essential is to recognise and to do what is right. Even if at first there are only a few individuals who recognise something to be right, it is however comprehendible and understandable for everyone. This is not a matter of blind obedience but of doing what we have understood to be right.

We do not use the expression “devoted Christian”. It emerged in the half-hearted protestant awakening movements. There is no such thing as an “undevoted” Christian.

We consider unity to be something very valuable and also attainable. It is not a utopia. For this reason disagreements among us are always a great challenge for us which we cannot simply sweep under the rug.

The claim that “little doubts” can lead to the insubordinate person being cast out is a slanderous reproach. Exclusion from the community is only justified in the case of false teachings or serious moral misdemeanour. In such cases it is even commanded in Scripture.

Kluge describes our way of dealing with money relatively correctly. Only that the voluntary nature of the community of property is not the subjective experience of a manipulated victim but objective reality which is based on brotherly love. The very fact that our sharing with one another works without fixed structures shows that everybody gives willingly and from his whole heart.

Concluding Remark

“Test everything; hold fast to what is good!” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

We would be more than willing to discuss with you the content of our teaching and way of life. We are very glad when somebody wants to examine our teachings in the light of the Holy Scriptures and we invite everyone to share their thoughts with us. Every serious constructive criticism can only help us to grow in the knowledge of God who revealed his eternal nature through the incarnation of his Son, because it is our highest goal to follow him.

Re: “In which regions is the Group active?”

“… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In the quote cited in the title of this section, Jesus instructs his disciples on what geographic area they are to operate in… ‘to the ends of the earth’.

Of course, we only know brothers and sisters in a small part of this most comprehensive area. In contrast to Kluge’s conclusion that ‘the boundaries of the organisation are the boundaries of the truth’ we believe that there are Christians not only among our number. We can therefore be sure that despite our limits, we can count on worldwide activity of ‘the group’, that is, the Church.

Due to repeated persecution we cannot publish a list of Christian fellowships known to us. If anyone is interested in getting to know us, we would be very glad to hear from you by email. Everyone who is searching, regardless of where they live, should have the chance to get in contact with Christians.

Re: “Community life versus private life”

“So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

God calls us into fellowship. The example of Jesus obliges us to lay down our lives for our brothers (1 John 3:16). This giving of our lives consists of mutual service – in being there for one another.

Kluge’s reproach of “community versus private life” completely misses the essence of Christian fellowship. Nobody would consider the question of “family versus private life” to be justified because family life is considered part of a person’s private life. Our family life is the community life. We share our lives with the brothers and sisters not with unknown, inscrutable institutions.

Jesus’ “private life” consisted of being together with the disciples. Paul became to the Christians “gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.” (1 Thess 2:7). So we spend our private life together with brothers and sisters who have become close and dear to us through our common decision to follow Jesus.

The difference to a “natural” family lies in the different basis. It is not common ancestry which unites us in the community, but our common faith. Through this deeper basis our shared life is deeper than in a “normal” family.

The relationship which dominates everything in the life of a Christian is the relationship with God which has a formative effect on all other relationships. A relationship in which God is not in the centre loses its meaning. The relationships that are shaped by God grow deeper.

The repeated slanderous claim that, “praying or reading from the Bible in private is not desirable”, does not make it any more correct. The community lives from the relationship each individual has with God. Likewise, each individual is strengthened in his own personal devotion to God through the community life. If somebody’s interest in the Bible is too small, not even the community maintain his spiritual life. That is why personal prayer and Bible reading is an indispensable basis of the spiritual life of each individual as well as of the community.

Kluge gained a “pitiless, uncharitable and fanatic impression” from us and concluded that “the Group appears to be completely lacking warmth”. Impressions are always subjective and are strongly dependant on the expectations of the observer. Other people gained a different impression. Moreover, this impression contradicts the accusation of “love bombing”. When somebody examines objectively he remains unimpressed by “impressions” and considers the teaching and life on the basis of the Bible.

It is certainly true that we do not always say what people want to hear. We do not keep silent when it comes to exposing unbiblical teachings and unbiblical ways of life. Precisely in this way we point people to the life that Jesus has called us to.

The “warmth and friendliness”, that “do exist within the Group”, are what we wish to share with every person. But a certain common ground is necessary for that. For us, the terms, “brother” and “sister”, are not just religious clichés, but a reality that we experience every day and which we also express to one another through physical contact. Exaggerated politeness is alien to us, not, however, respect for our brother’s personality. A brief example can illustrate the point of how (earlier in practice, but today only in the writings of “holy” founders of Orders) people’s private life was handled elsewhere:

“Let a straw mattress, a blanket, coverlet and pillow, suffice for their bedding. This the Abbot shall frequently examine, to prevent the vice of proprietorship; and if any one be discovered to possess anything which he hath not received from the Abbot, let him be subjected to the severest correction.” (“The Rule of our most Holy Father Benedict”, Chapter 55, CCEL)

Re: “The treatment of children in the Group”

“Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” (Proverbs 22:6)

This is not the place to write a handbook on Christian child-rearing. Here is just a sketch of a few brief fundamentals of Christian parenting:

a) Consistency: Children should experience their parents (as well as the Christians who they are together with in the community) as reliable and responsible for their care. The aim is not primarily strictness, but a clear line which helps the children to develop a firm foundation of trust. Nothing is more damaging for children than having unpredictable parents and carers. How we live and what we say about God must be consistent with one another, especially in front of children.

b) Freedom: On the one hand, the fact that children should accept the authority of their parents is in keeping with a biblical upbringing. On the other hand, it is important for parents to accept the freedom of their children as far as possible. A child should never experience life with God as something obligatory. Coercion of any kind to take part in religious activities (including prayer, reading the Bible, discussions about matters of faith) should, for this reason, be rejected. Many of us have experienced how our parents wanted to force their lifestyle on us, and in some cases even tried to hinder us from living as Christians by force. We want to avoid repeating these mistakes the other way around.

c) Family and community: The most important reference persons for a child are its parents, despite the fact that children should be integrated into community life as far as possible. Children should experience the community as an extended family, which the core family is integrated into.