The spirit-filled life of love that arises from faith has been decisively witnessed to over the centuries, especially by the Jewish prophets and later by the first Christians. We acknowledge Christ, the historical Jesus, and with him his entire message as proclaimed by his apostles and practiced by his followers. Therefore we stand as brothers and sisters with all those who have joined together to live in community through the long course of history. They appeared among the Christians of the first century; in the prophetic movement of the Montanists in the second; in the monasticism of the following centuries; in the revolutionary movement of justice and love led by Arnold of Brescia; in the Waldensian movement; in the itinerant communities of Francis of Assisi; among the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren and the Brothers of the Common Life; among the Beguines and Beghards; in the Anabaptist movements of the sixteenth century; among the early Quakers; among the Labadists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; among the early Moravians, and in many other denominations and movements down to our present day.
We must live in community because we are compelled by the same Spirit that has led to community time and again since the days of biblical prophecy and early Christianity.
Who were the Montanists and Waldensian, Bohemians and Moravians, Beguines and Beghards? In a series of talks on Forerunners to the Reformation, Eberhard Arnold connects the dots.