When presented with this week’s Sabbath School topic, my thoughts first turned to the reformation movement called Unity of the Brethren (Unitas Fratrum), also known as the Moravian Church. It is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the fifteenth century, in the Kingdom of Bohemia (known as the Czech Republic today). Even after two hundred years of heavy persecution, this movement (which became known as the “renewed Unity of the Brethren”) was still on its feet in a village known as Herrnhut; this Christian community was a remarkable experiment, as well as a major catalyst, for Protestant missions. You may be familiar with the testimony John Wesley gave about the amazing spirit of these people (E. G. White, The Great Controversy, 255).
What you may not know is the more recent history of this denomination. Not too far from Herrnhut is Unity’s largest church in the region. After the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic, this church grew by hundreds of people, and new churches were planted in surrounding villages and towns. However, at the same time, tension grew from within the church with regard to both the direction of the denomination as a whole, and the denomination’s teachings; some thought the tension was something that would pass, but the rift grew.
Branch - Leaders - Root - Division - Intolerance
A radical branch of leaders emerged as the root of this division; they were not merely charismatic, but perpetuated intolerance and totality. This branch became the stronger wing of church leadership, and eventually took over the denomination, pushing the other wing out. Sadly, the new charismatic Unity of the Brethren in the Czech Republic has never fully recovered from this dissection, and has repeatedly been a seat of division as new groups of believers have broken...
Wake Up To Breaking News!