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J. Heinrich Arnold (1913–1982)

J. Heinrich Arnold
  • Pastor
  • Author of Discipleship
  • Bruderhof leader
J. Heinrich Arnold (1913-1982) is best known for his books Discipleship and Freedom from Sinful Thoughts, which have helped thousands to follow Christ in their daily lives, and for his pastoral care as elder of the Bruderhof communities.  Read Full Biography

When Heinrich Arnold was seven, his parents Eberhard and Emmy Arnold and their five children left a bourgeois life in Berlin for a dilapidated villa in the German village of Sannerz, where they founded the Bruderhof, a Christian community based on Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.

As a young man, Heinrich Arnold refused to serve in Hitler's armed forces and was forced to flee Germany. He studied agriculture in Zurich, Switzerland, and in 1936 married Annemarie Wächter, a kindergarten teacher and fellow Bruderhof member.

In 1938 they moved to England, where Heinrich managed the community’s farm. (The community had by then been expelled from Nazi Germany.) In 1941 the community was forced to emigrate to South America. In 1954, Heinrich Arnold and his family moved to the fledgling Woodcrest Community in Rifton, New York, the first of many Bruderhof communities in North America. From 1962 until his death, Heinrich Arnold served as elder and pastor of the growing movement, guiding its communities through times of crisis and renewal, and pointing again and again to Jesus Christ.

Further Reading:
Homage to a Broken Man: The Life of J. Heinrich Arnold – A true story of faith, forgiveness, sacrifice, and community by Peter Mommsen

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The Bruderhof

Plough is the publishing house of the Bruderhof, an international community of people seeking to follow Jesus together. Members of the Bruderhof are committed to a way of radical discipleship in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. Inspired by the first church in Jerusalem, they renounce private property and share everything in common in a life of service to God, one another, and neighbors near and far. Learn more or arrange a visit.