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REV PHILIP WILLIAM OTTERBEIN: THE INFLUENCE OF FIVE HISTORIC PROTESTANT MOVEMENTS: LUTHERANISM, CALVINSIM, MORAVIANISM, ANABAPTISTS AND

PIETISM, AND HIS INFLUENCE ON THE METHODISTS By Barry Neufeld Email: Barry.Neufeld @mytwu.ca Mailbox: 58 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course of

HIS 541

ACTS Seminary

March 23, 2009

Approved by ________________________________________________ Professor Bruce Guenther

Otterbein: Five Influences Outline

Philip William Otterbein stands at the head of a German awakening in America, which occurred shortly after the Great Awakening begun by Jonathan Edwards, and slightly prior to the introduction of Methodism to the American Colonies. He and his followers organized the United Brethren in Christ, the first truly American Denomination, and while they arrived at a position nearly identical to the Methodists, they arrived by a different route. Thesis: I will attempt to show how the rich heritage of the United Brethren in Christ implemented the best of four major streams of the protestant reformation: Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anabaptism and Moravianism as well as the later developments of the Pietists. Although he was sometimes given the derogatory label of a Dutch Methodist Otterbein actually had a greater influence on the Methodists than vice versa.

Contents
Background: .................................................................................................................3 Lutheran Influences: ...................................................................................................4 Calvinistic/ Ramist Influences:.................................................................................7 Pietistic Influences ................................................................................................... 11 Moravian Influences: ............................................................................................... 14 Anabaptist influences .............................................................................................. 17 Influence on the Methodists: ................................................................................. 20 Conclusion: ................................................................................................................ 22 2

Otterbein: Five Influences Background: William Philip Otterbein was born in Dillenburg- Nassau Germany beside the Palatinate in the Rhenish Valley in 1726. The geographical area was surrounded by

Calvinistic, Lutheran and Catholic areas. Otterbein came from a long line of protestant pastors, all trained at the Herborn (Theological) School and his own father was particularly esteemed. Six of his brothers and a brother-in-law all became reformed Pastors. While not all students will represent the distinctive beliefs of their alma mater, the family connection was strong, Herborn was very unique and in this writers opinion, it is safe to assume that much of Philip William Otterbeins belief system was formed by this school. Otterbein took this influence with him to the New World where Pennsylvania was also known as New Germany. Between 1702 and 1757 about 50,000 Germans came to Pennsylvania mostly from the Palatinate. This was because Louis XIV of France had ordered the devastation of the Palatinate area in 1679. He revoked the Edict of Nantes, and destroyed the Palatinate again in 1688 and 1693. A majority of the population was slaughtered. Homes and forests were burned. Orchards were cut down, even graves were desecrated. The wretched provinces of the Rhone sought an avenue for escape through Holland. This havoc is

Otterbein: Five Influences

justly regarded as one of the darkest pages in the history of Germany.1 The Mennonites in Switzerland were also fleeing persecution by the Reformed church. By 1751 there were 90,000 Germans in Pennsylvania, of which a third were German Reformed.2 Lutheran Influences: The focal point of the convergence of all these influences was Herborn School, in the Nassau region of the German Rhenish valley. At the time of the Reformation in the early 16th Century, the region was mostly Lutheran. However, they leaned more to the irenic Lutheranism of Philip Melanchthon, who irritated the Gnesio-Lutherans by his allowance for the role of human will in the experience of salvation, and downplayed the salvific benefits of the Eucharist. Melanchthon evidenced a mild, conciliatory spirit which earned him the label crypto-Calvinist. Herborn was strong on the need for the believer to have assurance of Salvation. This was pure Lutheranism: Luther declares that he who hath no assurance spews faith out, and Melanchthon makes assurance the discriminating line of Christianity from heathenism.3 Melanchthon developed a new theme which would gain dominance in protestant orthodoxy: the concept of the dual nature of theology. Theology as knowledge is objective study of scripture publicly studied as a university discipline employing the humanistic tools of classical learning and philogy. But theology as true knowledge (vera cognitia) results when

Abram Paul Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference (Dayton, VA: Ruebush-Kieffer Company, 1921), 26. A. W. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1890), 61. Philip Melanchthon, Discussions of Philosophy p 486 quoted in Ibid., 74.

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scripture is proclaimed and heard as the vox Dei.4 The two aspects [of Erkenntnis and Vertrauen] are separated and there is even talk of two kinds of faith: an acceptance as true of the whole content of the Bible on the one hand, and a Spirit-inspired confidence on the other.5 Otterbeins life was process of subjecting his intellectual faith to his heart faith and seeking to follow Christ in obedience. According to Gneiso-Lutherans, any action on mans part was called the sin of synergy or salvation by works. For this reason, most Lutherans have resisted any revival or evangelistic activities. A 19th Century American Evangelical Lutheran theologian put it this way: The teaching that a person helps in any way with his conversion is synergy. Melanchthon writes as a synergist. From this error (sc. of the Manicheans) minds must be led away and taught that free will does something. Therefore some of the ancients spoke in this way: Free will in man is the ability to respond to grace (facultas se applicandi ad gratiam), that is, it hears the promise and tries to assent and renounces sins against conscience....6 An example of the synergism that Otterbein learned at Herborn is the way he upheld human responsibility in the exercise of will, so that neither God nor Satan can be the cause of mans fall: In his sermon The Salvation Bringing Incarnation and the Glorious Victory of Jesus Christ over the Devil and Death delivered 1760 at the Reformed Church in Germantown, PA, Otterbein stated:

4 5

John Steven O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, ATLA Monograph #4d ed. (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1973), 19. Hendrikus Berkhof, Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Study of the Faith, trans, by Sierd Woudstra (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 441.Quoted in Joel R. Beeke, "Faith and Assurance in the Heidelberg Catechism and its Primary Composers : A Fresh Look at the Kendall Thesis," Calvin Theological Journal 27, no. 1 (04 1992): 46.O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 46. Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics, Volume IV (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Northwestern Publishing House, 1999), 285.

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Man obeyed him (the devil) and ate of the forbidden fruit. He turned his desire away from God, and he sought delight outside of Godhence men have permitted themselves to be taken prisoner by the devil, for the sake of his will, as a result of their falling away from God. As soon as Gods Spirit opens a persons eyes, so that he recognizes and feels his misery, then he gets up with the prodigal son and says Father, I have sinned.7 Otterbein and the other Reformed missionaries from Holland were met in New York by Rev. John Melchoir Mhlenberg, the apostle of Lutheranism in America who gave them a blessing and a warning from Matthew 10:16 Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.8 Mhlenberg knew that the communities into which they were headed were primitive, savage and promiscuous. The crossing of the Atlantic or Mississippi or a movement from country to city is frequent explanation of religious apostasy. The atmosphere of the New World encouraged a wild and reckless life.9 Gross drunkenness was almost as common among ministers and other church members as among the people in general.10 Many settlements had no pastors or churches and there was much laxity in manners and morals. The German pastors were so few that they could seldom visit a frontier neighborhood oftener than once or twice a year.11 Denominational lines were blurred on the frontier. Lutheran Superintendent Mhlenberg, preached sermons for Mennonites from 1745 on. He reported that

quoted in J. Steven O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1995), 21-27. Paul R. Fetters, ed. Theological Perspectives: Arminian -Wesleyan Reflections on Theology, (Huntington, Indiana: Church of the United Brethren in Christ, 1992), 30. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 61-62. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 33. Ibid., 29.

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I have in such sermons not spoken upon the disputed points between us and them, but have proclaimed atonement, faith, and holinessso we all without discrimination may be complete in all things necessary.12 Calvinistic/ Ramist Influences: At the time of the Reformation, the ruler of Nassau-Dillenburg was Count Johann VI who had studied under Melanchthon. His father had been a participant in the Diet of Worms, but his elder brother, William of Orange urged him to switch to the Reformed religion in 1577.13 The princely reformer opened the Herborn Hohe Schule in 1584 with a faculty led by Kaspar Olevianus. Herborn became the reformed bulwark against rationalism, and although committed to Reformed dogma, the Counts high school was to reflect the irenic spirit of Melanchthon.14 A distinct variety of Calvinism emerged at Herborn under the influence of Peter Ramus (1515-1572), a Picard like Calvin who was a Huguenot philosopher and martyr of St. Bartholomews Night. Ramus has been credited by Moltmann for attempting to dislodge the Aristotelian syllogism from its prominent role in Reformed (and Lutheran) Orthodoxy.15 i.e.: Discussion of Platonic (sanctification) and Aristotelian (justification) theology: Revivalism combined both.16 The School at Herborn carried on this opposition to rationalistic scholasticism, and Ramism also had an effect on the Puritans at Cambridge, and Herborn became the continental counterpart to Cambridge.17 Herborn professors Kaspar Olevianus (1536-1587) and to a lesser extent, Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583) took the major role in the
12

J. C. Wenger, History of The Mennonites of the Franconia Conference (Scottdale, Pa.: Mennonite Publishing House, 1938) p 400 quoted in Sem C. Sutter, "Mennonites and the Pennsylvania German Revival," Mennonite Quarterly Review 50, no. 1 (01 1976): 53. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 7. Ibid., 15. Ibid., 22. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 78-79. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 23.

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preparation of the Heidelberg Catechism at the behest of Elector Frederick the Pious of the Palatinate in 1563. The Heidelburg Catechism18 was the result of the controversy between Lutherans, Melanchthonians, Calvinists, and Zwinglians, and it has a warm, experiential character.19 In Nassau, the Heidelberg Catechism remained primarily a Laymans book of instruction in church, home and school.20 For example: The first effect of Christ in us is the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, who bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, whereby we can lay aside the bondage to fear and cry out, Abba, dear Father. The second effect of Christ in us whereby He regenerates us, is the mortifying of the old self, that is, the corrupt, sinful nature, so that we ourselves become enemies of that nature within, and so that by the grace of the Spirit of Christ it becomes progressively weaker until finally it is removed entirely. The third effect is the quickening by the Spirit or coming-to-life of the new self, so that by the power of Christ working in us, our minds are inclined from now on to delight to walk in a new life.21 Pastors trained at Herborn were required to regularly and systematically include sections of the Heidelberg Catechism in their sermons. Furthermore, in the tradition of Richard Baxter, who wrote The Reformed Pastor they were to systematically examine their catechumens before they partook in the Lords Supper22... NOT to see if they could recite the Catechism by rote, but to ensure they understood how this would help them to Live Well.23 At Herborn, moderate Calvinism was taught:
"The Heidelberg Catechism," in Christian Classics Ethereal Library [database online]. Grand Rapids. MI June 1, 2005 [cited 2009]. Available from http://www.ccel.org/creeds/heidelberg-cat-ext.txt. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 3-4. Ibid., 13. a translation of this passage from the original "Schirat edition" of Kaspar Olevianus, "Vester Grundt, das ist, die artikel des alten, waren, ungezweifelten christlichen Glaubens" (Heidelberg: Michel Schirat, 1567 P. 177 quoted in Beeke, Faith and Assurance in the Heidelberg Catechism and its Primary Composers : A Fresh Look at the Kendall Thesis, 60. Richard Baxter, Gildas Silvanus: The Reformed Pastor (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 239. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 26.

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At this time the peculiarities of this system ceased to be accented. The Reformed Church in Germany has never been much given to elaborating or defending theological tenets,--especially such as have divided the minds of devout Christians. Its spirit has been that of Melanchthon. Such was the Herborn school, when in 1742, Philip William became enrolled as a student.24 While the wording of the Heidelberg Catechism is sufficiently ambiguous to allow denial of double predestination and the perseverance of the saints, the Synod of Dordt attempted to eliminate any tendencies towards Arminianism. There was extremism evident at the Synod of Dort: the Emden Pastor Ritzius Lucas affirmed that it was more important to teach the Catechism than to preach from the scriptures.25 Several authors have noted that the differences between Arminius and Calvin were not as vast as the current variances in Calvinistic dogma,26 and Beeke states that There are differences between Calvin and the Heidelberg theologians with regard to their conceptions of faith and assurance, these differences are largely matters of degree rather than of substance. The HC, Ursinus, and Olevianus each have distinctive emphases on the doctrine of assurance that move quantitatively beyond but not qualitatively contradictory to Calvin.27 After graduating the Herborn School, Otterbein and taught at the Herborn Paedagogium in preparation for his ordination to the Reformed Church. After his ordination in 1749, he pastored the Dillenberg church, supporting his now widowed mother. Michael Schlatter, a Swiss Reform missionary came to Herborn looking for recruits. Otterbein volunteered to go as a missionary to America under the auspices of the wealthier Dutch Reform church. The Dutch originally wanted the Germans to join with the Scottish Presbyterians, but the

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Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 36. NOTE: (When Drury uses the word evangelical, he is referring to supporters of a crisis salvation experience typical of the late 19th Century revivals i.e. a born again experience) Heinritch Steitz, Geschicte der Evangelishchen Kirche in Hessen und Nassau, (Marburg 1965) II 163 quoted in O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 10. Fetters, Theological Perspectives: Arminian -Wesleyan Reflections on Theology, 22. Beeke, Faith and Assurance in the Heidelberg Catechism and its Primary Composers : A Fresh Look at the Kendall Thesis, 55-56.

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Presbyterians had been impacted by Edwards revivalism and didnt adhere to the Heidelberg or any catechism. So the Dutch Synods took responsibility for the German Reformed in America.28 After training, examinations and trial sermons in Holland, Otterbein arrived in America in 1752 and was recommended to the Lancaster Pa German Reformed Church. He was disappointed to find a spiritually dead church which had been led by unordained, undisciplined pastors for many years. They excused their moral discrepancies by appealing to the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, strongly stated in the Canons of Dordt.29 Although he had been examined for orthodox Calvinist Doctrine in Holland before being approved as a missionary, Otterbein immediately began to question the Dutch emphasis on the doctrines of double election and perseverance of the Saints. His aversion to dogmatic paradoxes...the lingering influences from Melanchthon, which had been so deeply planted throughout the Rhenish Provinces, may have been factors in producing the change (to Arminianism).30 Despite his drift toward an Arminian position in Lancaster, he emerged as a highly respected the pastor within the Ctus of the Dutch Reformed in America and leader of the revivalist party in the German speaking Reformed Churches. In Lancaster, he was so busy examining and exhorting backslidden and loose living communicants that he established some rules of order to make it clear who was to able allowed to attend at the Lords Table as required by the Catechism.31 This was before the Methodists arrived in America.

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Paul R. Fetters, ed. Trials and Triumphs A History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, (Huntington, Indiana: Church of the United Brethren in Christ, 1984), 58-60. O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 167. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 79. O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 170.

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In 1783, Otterbein took the initiative to lay hands on his best friend and disciple, George Geeting and ordain him as one set aside for the preaching ministry. He did this without the prior approval of the Dutch Reform Ctus, to which he was accountable. After much debate, the Ctus later voted to ordain Geeting in 1788.32 Not all Reformed folk admired William Otterbein. When a Pastor returned home from a Reformed Synod meeting, a parishioner asked why they hadnt thrown Mr. O over the fence. The Pastor replied Ah! He was too heavy for us!33 While the Synod did not always agree with Otterbein, they had profound respect for him. Otterbein was briefly married to a daughter of French Huguenot refugees-Susan LeRoy-- who died childless.34 Pietistic Influences Herborn was a wing of protection against romantic rationalism.35 The Herborn theology found its culmination in the monumental theological system of Johan Heinrich Alsted (15881638) professor at Herborn from 1619-1629. This had a foundational influence on Reformed Pietistic Orthodoxy, and especially the theology of the Otterbeins.36 Philip Spener was appointed a (Lutheran) pastor at Frankfort-on-the main, only a few miles from Herborn School where in 1666 he introduced the concept of Collegia Pietatis essentially home Bible study and prayer meetings.37 Funkhouser states: Spener and Pietism were to Germany what

32

J. Bruce Behney, Paul Himmel Eller, and Kenneth W. Krueger, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979), 58. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 261. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 38. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 162. O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 30. Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Rev. 2ndd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 554.

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Wesley and early Methodism were to England, and Wesley was greatly influenced by his German forerunner.38 William and his younger brother George Godfrey Otterbein and their professor, Dr. Schramm had deep sympathy with the spirit and methods of Pietists: the collegia pietatus (associations for piety) the ecclesiol in ecclesia (associations in churches) which they believed supplied life for dead orthodoxy.39 The six Otterbein brothers--all who became pastors--were sons of a venerated Pietist pastor, and a very pious mother. Otterbein served as preceptor in Herborn from 1748 1752. He was inspired by the Dutch pietism of Vitringa and Lampe.40 William Otterbeins duties in his first pastorate in 1752 were to preach Sundays, Wednesdays and festival days, and lead a weekly prayer meeting41 (which was rare in Germany at the time). He stressed a pure life and an active religious spirit. This aroused some oppositionhis mother said the home town was too narrow for one like him and that he would have to become a missionary.42 After arriving at Lancaster Reformed Church, Otterbein was very discouraged with his impious and undisciplined congregation. In 1754, He preached a sermon on repentance and faith. He was so convicted by his own sermon that when a seeker came forward with a question, Otterbein was too shaken to reply; he said, my friend, advice is scarce with me today. He sought his closet and struggled to find peace and joy.43 This experience of the

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Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 9. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 192. Ibid., 36., O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 166. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 10. Ibid., 10. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 68.

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Lords blessing was a turning point in his ministry: when his faith moved from his head to his heart, his preaching took on a unique unction. When asked at the end of his life by Bishop Asbury: By what means were you brought to the gospel of God and our Savior? to which Otterbein replied by degrees I was brought to the knowledge of the truth while I was at Lancaster.44 For Otterbein, victory in the Christian life was always a journey, never a point of arrival. In 1758, (The year that Jonathan Edwards died) Otterbein was called to a circuit parish in Tulpehocken Creek. This community of stubborn Germans were very resentful of the Dutch authorities in New York. They were also terrorized by the increasingly angry Native Americans They were essentially rednecks before and after Otterbeins ministry. It was in this unlikely place that Otterbein introduced the novel concept of midweek bible studies and prayer meetings. At first, he was the only one who knelt and prayed, but the practice soon became commonplace. This was an advance over the pre-Lords supper interviews in Lancaster.45 Francke had instituted prayer meetings in Halle in 1692. Otterbein had previously convened prayer meetings in Dillenburg in 1749. But this was the first recorded instance of a prayer meeting in America.46 It is significant that there were no Methodist Preachers in America when Otterbein began holding prayer meetings. (Wesley and Whitfield had been in the south briefly) Robert Strawbridge, a Methodist lay preacher came to America in 1760. Philip Embury began the first Methodist Class in New York in 1766, but these meetings were not primarily for

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O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 172. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 13. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 175.

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prayer.47 While at Tulpehocken, Otterbein also began what was to become a practice of later Methodists: an itinerant ministry visiting all the German counties of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. In the spring of 1774, Otterbein and brother ministers in the German Reformed church formed a society known as The United Ministers adopting the methods of Spener and forming classes within their own congregations and other congregations without a pastor. 48 Moravian Influences: Funkhouser traces the roots of the United Brethren back to Peter Waldo, (Pierre Vauds or de Vaux) a merchant of France who translated the bible into French in 1180. The Waldensian movement was characterized from the beginning by lay preaching, voluntary poverty and sticking to the "Word of God", the Bible. Waldo died in Bohemia in 1180 which became a stronghold of pre-reformation protestants. John Hus emerged as a leader, but after his martyrdom, the group was persecuted and took on the name of Unitas Fratrum or United Brethren. A delegation were kindly received by Luther but he did not think Germans could match the Bohemian Brethren in their adherence to discipline. 49 The aversion of the German mind, to a thorough discipline, with which Luther had to contend, lingered with the Germans in America.50 Nevertheless, this did not prevent Otterbein from persuading eighty male members of his loose-living German Reformed Church in Lancaster to sign a covenant of discipline as a prerequisite to the Lords Supper.51

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Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 205. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 35. Ibid., 5. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 303. Ibid., 65-67.

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It was also from Herborn that the first missionary impulses within the Reform church were feltwith John Amos Comenius going forth from Herborn as the reorganizer of the Czech (Hussite) Brethren in the seventeenth century. They were to be reorganized again in the 18th Century under Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf as the unitas Fratrem. (or Moravians).52 The Moravians laid greater stress on their pastors piety, moral conduct, and knowledge of the Bible than on human learning.53 Otterbeins Herborn professor, Dr. Schramm lectured in practical divinity and was an apostle of the so-called Thtige Christenthum (active Christianity or world evangelism).54 Another Professor Dr. Arnold was more inclined to Dutch Theologians, but also enthused about Thtige Christenthum.55 This concept was being championed by Count Zinzendorf, who appealed to the Kings of Denmark and Prussia to support this cause.56 The defining event in this period was the so-called Berlin speeches of the Count. In 1738 (Zinzendorf) held salutations to the men on Luther's interpretation of the second article of the creed he treated his growing insight into the justification question. He (Zinzendorf) not only proclaimed the message of free grace of God on the Cross, Christ's death, "but also that inner renewal, and the joyous act of the good from the spontaneity of a heart taken, from which the new belief state follows.57 While the rulers of Europe did not give wholehearted backing to Zinzendorf, his ideas influenced the young Otterbein to volunteer as a missionary in 1748. Gottschalk, a Moravian missionary tells of a church service in the spring of 1748 in Pendleton county Pennsylvania: Only women and children attended because the men were

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O'Malley, Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification, 44. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 5. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 39. Ibid., 39. Ibid., 39. & "Der Soldatenknig Und Der Prediger Der Herzensreligion Der Briefwechsel Zwischen Friedrich Wilhelm I. Und Dem Grafen Zinzendorf," in Verein fr die Geschichte Berlins [database online]. Berlin [cited 2008]. Available from http://www.diegeschichteberlins.de/geschichteberlins/persoenlichkeiten/persoenlichkeiteag/briefwechselfriedrichwilhelmi grafzinzendor.html.

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out hunting bear on Shenandoah mountain. The style of living is describedas primitive in the extreme. They did not hesitate to call it a near approach to savagery.58 On the other hand, less wholesome movements started by the Moravians in 1736 under Count Zinzendorf were trying to promote an ecumenical movement: The Congregation of God in the Spirit included the more mystically extravagant religious groups. There was no doctrinal unity. The most disruptive were the Ephrata Brethren (cloister) who were actively proselyzing among the German Reformed, and were connected with Benjamin Franklins Rosicrucianism.59 In 1774, the great Council of Three (the Rosicrucian Fraternity's ultimate governing body) was composed of Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer and Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine was later succeeded by Lafayette, who, like Benjamin Franklin, was a member of the Paris Rosicrucian lodge Humanidad.60 There were so many Germans in Pennsylvania that Benjamin Franklin began the publication of a German newspaper in 1734.61 Caught between the spiritual indifference and worldliness of the established church and the mystical extravagances of the sectarian movements, Otterbein longed to return to Germany and the stability of a faith informed by the Heidelberg Catechism. However, he was prevented by the French and Indian Wars in 1758.62

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Ibid. Matthias G. Gottschalk, "Report and Observations of Bro. Gottschalk on His Journey through Virginia and Maryland, Undertaken in March and April, 1748," quoted in Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 30. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 170. "The Fraternitas Ros Crucis: The Authentic Rosicrucian Fraternity in the Americas and the Isles of the Sea," in The Beverly Hall Corporation [database online]. Quakertown, PA [cited 2009]. Available from http://www.soul.org/. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 28. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 173.

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It was not until 1800 that the United Brethren in Christ was established as the first made-in America denomination. One pastor, Christopher Grosh was from the United Brethren, the name for the Moravians, so they added in Christ and the now elderly Boehm and Otterbein were elected as Bishops.63 Anabaptist influences The non specific language of the Heidelberg confession was written in the same spirit as the Dordrecht Confession of the Mennonites which was in use in Pennsylvania as early as 1712. (with the exception of sections on pacifism and public offices)64 The devotional classic of the Mennonites was the anonymous Gestliches Lstgrtlein which was published in Herborn in 1787. Friedman, an Anabaptist scholar expresses amazement that this could have been published on a Reformed press, but this fact only reflects the continuation of the irenic tradition of pietistic ecumenism at Count Johanns school.65 George Godfrey Otterbein b 1726 was imbued with apostolic zeal and was thoroughly convinced of the error of the spirit of the age. (Rationalism) He stood associated with the leading minds of Germany. He felt the force of that course of events that ultimated in rationalism, but resisted with all his strength the on-rolling tide of ruin. He was the author of three volumes on the Heidelberg Catechism.66 In his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism he was describing hearty trust in terms of resignation [Gelassenheit]. He (George Otterbein) uses a term which is distinctive of south German Anabaptists: i.e. Hans Denck (c1500-1527).67 While George Godfrey Otterbein was younger, he had a significant impact on his older brother William.68

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Fetters, Trials and Triumphs A History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, 77. Gerald C. Studer, "The Dordrecht Confession of Faith, 1632-1982," Mennonite Quarterly Review 58, no. 4 (10 1984): 505. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 117. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 33. Hans Denck, Whether God is the Cause of Evil (1526) 91 quoted in O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 117. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 123-124.

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To the Germans from the war-torn Palatinate, the Anabaptist doctrine of pacifism was beginning to find some sympathy. The scattered Mennonites had few pastors, and were getting confused by the messages of the itinerant disciples of British evangelist George Whitefield.69 However, they had an advantage over other Protestants, because they could elect one of their own members to be a lay minister, without waiting for a properly credentialed clergyman educated in the old country.70 Martin Boehms father was reared as a member of the Reformed Church in Switzerland, but fell under the influence of the Pietists. His parents and his pastor denounced him as a heretic and he was sentenced to jail. However, he escaped to America in 1715, where he married a Mennonite woman in Pennsylvania. Martin, born in 1725 was bright and fluent and was elected as a Mennonite preacher at the age of 33. However, he felt inadequate and prayed earnestly for the Holy Spirit to make him a new man. While plowing a field he became so burdened with his sin, and cried out to God so fervently that he had an experience of assurance. His sermons began to call for his listeners to be born again. Despite a mixed reaction by his Mennonite Brethren, he was advanced to the rank of Bishop in 1759.71 Christian Newcomer (1750-1830) was another Mennonite who became convinced "that a religion whose habitation is only in the head and is not felt in the heart is insufficient to salvation." He was ordained by Otterbein and began preaching with Otterbein, whom he had met in Maryland.72

69 70 71 72

Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 19. Sutter, Mennonites and the Pennsylvania German Revival, 39. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 19. Ibid., 36-37.

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On Whitsunday (Pentecost) of 1767, Otterbein was sitting on the platform of Isaac Longs Barn where Menonist Bishop Boehm was preaching in German. Some New Light preachers from Virginia were preaching to an overflow crowd in the orchard. Despite their doctrinal differences, Otterbein appreciated Boehm so much that he embraced him exclaiming loudly wir sind Brder [we are brethren]. Considering their doctrinal and historical differences, this moved the crowd to tears. At the close of the meeting, Otterbein, Boehm, Newcomer (another Mennonite preacher) and the Virginia preachers entered into a form of union calling themselves The United Brethren in Christ73 While Otterbein remained in regular Reformed Pastorates, Boehm was ousted by the Mennonites, mainly for associating with a cleric of a non-pacifist church during the time of the American Revolution.74 Otterbein ministered to mainly Reformed Churches because he never withdrew from the Reformed Synod and was never expelled. Independent Mennonite churches continued to benefit from the ministry of Jacob Boehm and the Baltimore Evangelical Reformed Church, which was later to become the mother church of the United Brethren in Christ.75 The first actual conference of the United Brethren church met in Baltimore in 1789. Of the fourteen preachers present, nine had come from the reformed; four from the Mennonites, and one from the Moravians. In their confession of faith they came to several compromises, the most significant being that they accepted all three modes of Baptism , pouring, immersion and sprinkling (at any age):. Foot washing was used, but not accepted as an ordinance.76

73

Ibid., 34., Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 305., Behney, Eller, and Krueger, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 38. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 36-37. Ibid., 38 Ibid., 39.

74 75 76

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Bishop Christian Burkholder of Groffdale district, Lancaster County opposed the emotionalism of the United Brethren in Christ this way: "The tree is known by its fruit, which indeed is the only sign whereby the children of God may be known. If you talk much of your experience and your life shows the contrary, you will become a laughingstock before the world and a hypocrite before God.77 This criticism was acknowledged by Otterbein and his United Brethren in Christ, which propelled them to later embrace the Methodist doctrine of sanctification, thereby integrating religious experience with ethics. Influence on the Methodists: Otterbein actually had a greater influence on the Methodists than they did on himself and his church. He had already reached the peak of his ministry and was already implementing practices typical of the Methodists by the time he began to associate with them. In 1773, he reluctantly accepted a call to an independent German Reformed church in Baltimore that refused to be subject to the Dutch Reformed Ctus, and later the German Reformed Church Synod. The reason was because the Ctus had supported their former minister Benedict Swope who had caused a scandal, but was excused on account of the doctrine of perseverance of the saints. Interestingly one rule of the Baltimore Evangelical Reformed Church was: No preacher was to be retained who upheld predestination or the perseverance of the saints, or who was out of harmony with the disciplinary rules and modes of worship, and on accusation of immorality might be at once suspended.78
77

Christian Burkholder Ntzliche und erbauliche Anrede an die Jugend, von der wahren Busse (Useful and Edifying Address to the Young on True Repentance, according to the English edition of 1857) Christian Burkholder, Anrede an die Jugend ( [Ephrata, Pa.] : Bauman & Cleim, 1804). (Scottdale, Pa: Mennonite Publishing House, 1941). quoted in Sutter, Mennonites and the Pennsylvania German Revival, 52. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 36.

78

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Otterbein was 48 years old when he met Francis Asbury the day he arrived in Baltimore on May 4, 1774. Asbury was still a layman, and unable to administer the sacraments, so they ministered together, forming a long and intimate friendship. The independent Baltimore church began to adopt the class meeting typical of the Methodists which was not typical of the Reformed church.79 Class meetings were implemented slowly because Otterbeins Mennonite colleagues were wary of such rigid structure.80 On Dec 25, 1784, at the first Methodist General Conference, Francis Asbury was ordained a Methodist elder. The next day he was ordained a deacon. And on Dec 27, 1984, Asbury was consecrated to the office of bishop. One of the elders who assisted in the consecration of Mr. Asbury was the Rev. Mr. Otterbein, a minister of the German Church. Mr. Asbury requested that he might be assisted by Dr. Thomas Coke (Priest of the Church of England) and the other elders in the performance of this solemn ceremony.81

79 80

Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 205. Phares . Gibble, History of the Eastern Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (Dayton, O.: Otterbein Press, 1951), 71 quoted in Sutter, Mennonites and the Pennsylvania German Revival, 47. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 209.

81

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Conclusion: In 1809 the Baltimore Methodists struck a committee to explore union between Methodists and the United Brethren. Although they worked cooperatively for many years, union did not take place until 1968.82 They did not see themselves in competition: The Methodists worked among the English and the United Brethren among the Germans.83 Because they had arrived at similar conclusions about doctrine by different routes, they believed they had both been led by the Holy Spirit. Bishop Otterbein was recognized as one of the scholars of his age. He was familiar with the Greek, Hebrew and Latin languages. Bishop Asbury speaks of him as one of the best scholars and the greatest divines in America. 84 Inspired by the great Lutheran pioneer Philip Melanchthon, Otterbeins lifes work was to integrate the intellectual knowledge of God [Erkenntnis] with an equally essential subjective heart experience [Vertrauen]. He worked closely with all forms of Calvinism: German, Dutch, Swiss and through his wife, French. Under Otterbeins leadership, in the irenic spirit of Melanchthon, the United Brethren in Christ were able through prayer to find enough common ground to compromise between Reformed, Mennonite, Moravian and Methodist doctrines and practices (they used all three modes of baptism).85 Unlike most revivalists and Mennonites, Otterbein continued to lean on the Heidelberg Catechism as a North Star to guide his scriptural understanding and evaluate his spiritual experiences: balancing justification with sanctification. His Arminian interpretation of doctrine evolved experientially and

82 83

Behney, Eller, and Krueger, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 330. Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 296., Behney, Eller, and Krueger, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 55. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 14. Behney, Eller, and Krueger, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 109.

84 85

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independently of Methodist influence. He remained a respected member of the Reformed Synod all his life and although his methods were considered controversial, he was never accused of false doctrine or immorality. From the Pietists, he had learned the discipline of the Holy Spirit and had come to know his Savior in a personal way at a time when he was most discouraged. It was obviously a true call of God that he was inspired by the Moravian-inspired Thtige Christenthum which also motivated his Dutch Reform sponsors. There is even a little Roman Catholic influence: his followers respected him so deeply they did not hesitate to call him by the title Father Otterbein in his later years.86 Unlike many prominent leaders in Church History, there are no records of any personal foibles, faults or eccentricities in Otterbein. He was loyal to his mother church, but ecumenical in spirit. Throughout his long life Otterbein enjoyed the affectionate esteem of great numbers of people, both in his own and other churches. When he died in 1813, funeral services were conducted by ministers of the Lutheran, Methodist and Episcopal Churches as a significant witness to the breadth of his sympathies.87 Philip William Otterbein truly reflects the continuation of the irenic tradition of pietistic ecumenism at Count Johanns school.88

86 87 88

Drury, The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein, 242. Funkhouser, History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference, 15. O'Malley, Pilgrimage of Faith, 117.

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Bibliography Baxter, Richard. Gildas Silvanus: The Reformed Pastor. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974. Beeke, Joel R. "Faith and Assurance in the Heidelberg Catechism and its Primary Composers : A Fresh Look at the Kendall Thesis." Calvin Theological Journal 27, no. 1 (04 1992): 39-67. Behney, J. Bruce, Paul Himmel Eller, and Kenneth W. Krueger. The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Nashville: Abingdon, 1979. Drury, A. W. The Life of Rev. Philip William Otterbein. Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1890. Fetters, Paul R. ed., Theological Perspectives: Arminian -Wesleyan Reflections on Theology. Huntington, Indiana: Church of the United Brethren in Christ, 1992. Fetters, Paul R. ed., Trials and Triumphs A History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Huntington, Indiana: Church of the United Brethren in Christ, 1984. Funkhouser, Abram Paul. History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference. Dayton, VA: Ruebush-Kieffer Company, 1921. Hoenecke, Adolf. Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics, Volume IV. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Northwestern Publishing House, 1999. Livingstone, Elizabeth A. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Rev. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. O'Malley, John Steven. Pilgrimage of Faith. ATLA Monograph #4 ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1973. O'Malley, John Steven. Early German-American Evangelicalism : Pietist Sources on Discipleship and Sanctification. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1995. Racwitz, Werner, "Der Soldatenknig Und Der Prediger Der Herzensreligion Der Briefwechsel Zwischen Friedrich Wilhelm I. Und Dem Grafen Zinzendorf." in Verein fr die Geschichte Berlins [database online]. Berlin [cited March 19, 2009]. Available from http://www.diegeschichteberlins.de/geschichteberlins/persoenlichkeiten/persoenlichkeiteag/b riefwechselfriedrichwilhelmigrafzinzendor.html. Studer, Gerald C. "The Dordrecht Confession of Faith, 1632-1982." Mennonite Quarterly Review 58, no. 4 (10 1984): 503-519.

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Sutter, Sem C. "Mennonites and the Pennsylvania German Revival." Mennonite Quarterly Review 50, no. 1 (01 1976): 37-57. "The Fraternitas Ros Crucis: The Authentic Rosicrucian Fraternity in the Americas and the Isles of the Sea." in The Beverly Hall Corporation [database online]. Quakertown, PA [cited March 19, 2009]. Available from http://www.soul.org/. "The Heidelberg Catechism." in Christian Classics Ethereal Library [database online]. Grand Rapids. MI June 1, 2005 [cited March 19 2009]. Available from http://www.ccel.org/creeds/heidelberg-cat-ext.txt.

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