Are you tired of answers that ignore the root causes of human suffering? This selection of writings by Eberhard Arnold, who left a career and the established church in order to live out the gospel, calls us to a completely different way.
Do you feel powerless to change the injustice at every level of society? Are you tired of answers that ignore the root causes of human suffering? This selection of writings by Eberhard Arnold, who left a career and the established church in order to live out the gospel, calls us to a completely different way.
Be warned: Arnold doesn’t approach discipleship as the route to some benign religious fulfillment, but as a revolution - a transformation that begins within and spreads outward to encompass every aspect of life. Arnold writes in the same tradition of radical obedience to the gospel as his contemporaries Barth and Bonhoeffer.
Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5
Arnold's reflections on contentious issues like capitalism, war, human suffering, disease, global poverty, manual labor, piety, community, common property, service in the army, sustainable farming etc, are like 'mails' in your "in box" from a contemporary prophet living in the neighborhood.
The book- God’s Revolution, by Eberhard Arnold was introduced to me by a friend who practices organic farming and lives in a brotherhood community in US. It’s important to note that these brotherhood communities go back to Eberhard Arnold. Such is the following that Eberhard Arnold - the man of God - has even today across the continents. I read the book cover to cover, in just two sittings. It was possible for me because its style is arrestingly simple and the contents immensely profound. The book is a collection of Eberhard Arnold’s thoughts, speeches and writings compiled under 4 broad themes- 1. This Crumbling World and God’s Coming Order 2. New Order Fleshed Out 3. Individual and the Community 4. Peace and the rule of God Jesus Spirit Most of us here in India are acquainted with Dietrich Bonheoffer and his oft quoted work – The Cost of Discipleship. Eberhard Arnold lived during same period under Nazi Germany. Arnold spoke boldly and in uncompromising terms against the status quo, thus: ‘The most sinister powers of our civilization are the three mighty organizations- the State, the Military and the Capitalist structure. These three organizations represent the highest achievement of the earth spirit. The tremendous edifice built up by a fallen creation is incredible’. He not only opposed these worldly powers vociferously, he sought to practice what he believed in, by founding Brotherhood Communities and alternate schools. The price of exhibiting such irreverence to the powers-that-be proved costly for Arnold. Nazis saw these seemingly innocent activities as subversive. Consequently, one morning Gestapo descended with 300 armed troops on his ‘brotherhood settlements’, seized his manuscripts and truck load of books, shut down his alternate schools and the children were moved to Switzerland. But, this raid only strengthened Arnold’s resolve to pursue the ‘Jesus Spirit’ as opposed to the ‘earth spirit’. Rooted in Scripture What stands out as Arnold’s inimitable style is his boldness in addressing the thorniest questions while rooted firmly in the Scripture. As a most coveted speaker during first decades of 1900 among youth groups of SCM and YMCA in Germany, Arnold not only energized his audience with Biblical teaching, but also challenged them with decisive faith compulsions. As someone who heard him, commented- ‘Eberhard Arnold burned it into our hearts with a passionate spirituality, hammered it into our wills with prophetic power and the tremendous mobile force of his whole personality’. Equally powerful was the formation of a brotherhood community (the Bruderhof) which soon was to become a sign and a portent of every prayer said, miracle experienced. It symbolized the very presence of the Holy Spirit among like-minded believers. In Arnold’s own words- Bruderhof is the ‘creation of economic and residential community’ as an antithesis to all that the world had to offer. If there is ‘unity and unanimity’ among the faithful, he contends, surely whatever we ask, shall truly be in unison with what God wills for us. So much of this wholesomeness, that emanates from each paragraph of this book. Arnold’s reflections on contentious issues like capitalism, war, human suffering, disease, global poverty, manual labor, piety, community, common property, service in the army, sustainable farming etc, are like ‘mails’ in your “in box” from a contemporary prophet living in the neighborhood. AV: Arnold’s Version of the Bible Listed below are some of the Biblical renderings of Arnold, which, I as a Bible translator find fascinating- • Unless your justice is better than that of the moralists and theologians and that of the Bolshevists- you cannot enter the Kingdom of God (Matt 5.20) p 185 • Christ alone remains the true Man. He who called Himself the Son of Man, the child of Man (p 18) • We cannot pray, “Give me today my daily bread”. Rather, we pray together, “Give us the bread we need each day”. For us all, every day! (Matt 6.11), p 72 • Our fight is not against flesh and blood but against an atmosphere (Eph 6.12), p 86 Re-visiting Eberhard Arnold, Today SCM and YMCA of India shall do well to re-claim Eberhard Arnold and his legacy. For, he not only breathes freshness of Manna but also challenges us with alternate life style. Pentecost has left behind the commune living by the early believers. Such living-in communities surfaced later among Anabaptists of the 16th century. Eberhard Arnold stands in this great tradition of commune living, down from the day of Pentecost till today. These living experiments, not only disturbed the mighty Gestapo of Arnold’s day, it surely has the inherent vitality to challenge today’s secular institutions as well as the high and mighty in the church hierarchy. Who could stand against this ‘corporate quality of spiritual resistance’? People of India and especially the Indian church would be enriched immensely, not only by welcoming the book- God’s Revolution, but also welcoming the followers of ‘Bruderhof’ Movement to pitch their tents in our midst.