As the Bruderhof marks its hundredth year, a lawyer who is a member reflects on how a Christian community interacts with government.

This article is part of the Anabaptism and Politics series.

November 1933, Hesse, Germany. The Bruderhof, a community of about 125 men, women, and children recently established on a farm in the Rhön Mountains, had just learned of a new mandate from the National Socialist government: all citizens must vote in a referendum to demonstrate approval of the regime. The Bruderhof was warned by government officials that nonparticipation could mean imprisonment in one of the “concentration camps” the ten-month-old Reich had established for its enemies.

The ballot asked, “Do you … approve the policy of your Reich government, and are you ready to affirm and solemnly pledge yourself to this policy as the expression of your own conviction and will?” After prayer and discussion, members decided that instead of checking yes or no, they would each write out a statement:

My conviction and my will bid me stand by the gospel and for the discipleship of Jesus Christ, the coming kingdom of God, and the love and unity of his church. That is the one and only calling God has given me as mine. In this faith I intercede before God and humankind for my people and their fatherland and in particular for their imperial government with its different calling, given by God, not to me but to my beloved rulers Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler.

The newspaper reported these votes in the “yes” count. But five days later, the little community found itself surrounded by over one hundred and forty armed SS and Gestapo.1

All artwork courtesy of Dids

The “different calling” for which the Bruderhof members promised to pray is the God-given task of government (Rom. 13:1–5). Its leaders, they believed, were to be regarded as “beloved” in obedience to Jesus’ command to love both neighbors and – as in the case of Hitler – enemies. Their ballot statements alluded to the Christian belief that the state’s purpose is subordinate to that of the church: the state maintains order so the work of the church can be carried on and “all people [can] be saved and … come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

But the statement also points to a fundamental uneasiness in the church’s relation to the state, an ambiguity that has been there since Jesus taught his followers to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). For two millennia, Christians have struggled to discern how to interact with their societies’ political authorities. This is all the more true for the Bruderhof, an Anabaptist community easily distinguished from secular society because of members’ commitment to nonviolence and to sharing all things in common in the spirit of the early church (Acts 2 and 4).

I’ve been a member of the Bruderhof since 1997, and have served as the community’s General Counsel for the last eighteen years. In this role, I’ve had many opportunities to reflect on how the Bruderhof has engaged with government over the course of its hundred-year history, and how it does so today.

Basic Convictions

The Church in the World

As a community that is just one part of the universal Body of Christ, we seek to obey his teachings and example in the Gospels in everything we do. We understand our calling as a shared way of discipleship, shaped by the early church and by the sixteenth-century Anabaptists of the Radical Reformation.2 Following their example of voluntary poverty and Christ’s instruction that we cannot serve both God and mammon (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13), we don’t own property privately: the houses we live in and the cars we drive are not ours. In these ways, we seek a life that in practical ways is opposed to the rule of money, which is the root of much of the violence that makes government necessary (1 Tim. 6:10).

We are citizens of the state, but are part of a stateless church, not bound to any country. During our hundred-year history, “the state” has meant Germany, Liechtenstein, England, Paraguay, Uruguay, South Korea, Australia, Austria, and the United States. Without denying the value of love of homeland, our first allegiance is always to God, the lord of history, and his coming kingdom: as the Letter to the Hebrews says, “here on earth we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). Our allegiance is to God as our king.

That’s an affirmation we make together with all Christians who affirm the Nicene Creed. According to the New Testament, the current historical epoch is a paradox: Christ is reigning as lord, but not all his enemies are yet subjugated (1 Cor. 15:20–28). As the ruler of heaven and earth, Jesus has triumphed over the powers of sin and death that characterize the worldly states. His church awaits his day, when what he has begun will be completed (Phil. 1:6). Powers of evil will remain active in the world until God’s kingdom breaks in fully, forming a new society. Until then we live imperfectly in an imperfect world, but Christ gives the church a foretaste of his reign through the presence of the Holy Spirit, experienced wherever “two or three are gathered in my name” (Matt 18:20).3

The Role of the State

We respect the legitimate use of civil authority to maintain peace and basic justice (Rom. 13:4). Within the church, under the rulership of Christ’s Spirit, the only standard is agape love. But we cannot expect the world to be the church; we are not utopians. In the words of Bruderhof founder Eberhard Arnold: “The Christian church as such is not called to abolish the existing state order. The power of the state and its juridical order are to Christian eyes instruments of God’s feet, needed to hold murder and hatred, lying and deceit, injustice and impurity at bay.”4 The corollary to this is that Christians should obey the laws of the land (Rom. 13:1–5).

Up to a point. As the Anabaptist leader Peter Riedemann wrote in his 1542 defense to Prince Philip of Hesse, who was imprisoning him for heresy: “We … give the ruler willingly that which is ordained for his office … to show our willing subjection therein.” But Christians must also be vigilant about the boundaries of civil authority, as Riedemann goes on to say: “Whatever is against God, the conscience, and our calling – there we want to obey God more than man” (Acts 5:29).

Can Christians Hold Political Office?

Because we believe that a Christian cannot participate in killing (Matt. 5:21), we cannot take part in any state action ultimately backed by lethal force. Most obviously, this includes policing, war, and the death penalty. As Foundations of our Faith and Calling, the Bruderhof’s statement of its beliefs, puts it: “We refuse to wield governmental power by serving in high office or in any position such as judge or juror that is vested with power over the life, liberty, or civil rights of others.” To do so, we believe, would be incompatible with Christ’s mission and the task of the church.

I have deep respect for law enforcement officers and soldiers who put their own lives on the line to defend others from violent aggressors. Though I, too, must be willing to lay down my life for my friends (John 15:13), Christ’s words and example do not allow me to contemplate killing to do so. As the early Anabaptist evangelist and martyr Michael Sattler expressed it in 1529 in the Schleitheim Confession:

The sword is an ordering of God outside the perfection of Christ. It punishes and kills the wicked and guards and protects the good… .

Now many … will ask whether a Christian may or should use the sword against the wicked for the protection and defense of the good, or for the sake of love… .

[But] Christ himself further forbids the violence of the sword when he says: “The princes of this world lord it over them, etc., but among you it shall not be so” [cf. Matt. 20:25–28].

Princes of this world, then, is something we cannot be. For this reason, we do not run for elected office, but do participate in nonviolent and nonelected aspects of government such as serving on a planning committee or task force, or in local fire and ambulance departments. We believe that any of the familiar justifications for allowing Christians to hold elective office or participate in state violence lack fidelity to the absolute priority of the church over state. To quote Eberhard Arnold again: “Whoever takes on a government task cannot do what Christ does, otherwise Jesus would have been a Roman emperor or a leader of the people of Israel. Yet this is just what he refused to be when the devil tempted him.”5

Australian Bruderhof members serve on the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Photograph courtesy of Danny Burrows

Christian Pacifism Is Not Liberal Pacifism

Such a Christian pacifism does not bless government use of lethal force or support just war theory as Catholic or Magisterial Protestant Christians usually have. Neither, though, is it the same as liberal pacifism, which expects the state to be nonviolent – a contradiction in terms. Liberal pacifism is based on an idealistic concept of human goodness and progress rather than a clear reckoning with the reality of sin and evil in an unredeemed world. In opposing these, our approach – because we understand it to be Christ’s – is to reject the use of the sword of state power in favor of the weapons of spiritual warfare, in the confidence that God’s will must prevail in history. Within the church, these weapons are mutual commitment and admonition; in the public realm, they are prayer, critique of the social order, civil disobedience for the sake of conscience, exile, and even martyrdom.

Thus instead of grasping for political control, the church advocates within the state for the most just, least violent action possible. There is no dualism in this outlook – there is not a different standard of justice for the church and the secular world. For example, the church calls on the state to pursue peace to the greatest possible degree, refraining from interventionist wars or capital punishment, though without expecting it to forswear all force; it urges it to care for the poor, the orphan, and the stranger, while acknowledging that the state cannot eliminate every inequity. In such ways, we seek to promote the practical good in both as far as circumstances allow, never losing focus on our most important calling: to follow Christ.

Sometimes the church can promote Christ’s standards within the political sphere through ideas expressed in the terms of secular humanism. Ideas like liberty, equality, democracy, and human rights ring true to our contemporaries because they point, albeit imperfectly, to truths about the human condition; they gesture to the justice of the kingdom. They can, therefore, be useful as the church seeks to critique the world, including abuses of state power.

But as we use such terms, we must not be enchanted by them. The fullness of justice and peace will not be achieved by the progress of a worldly empire, however enlightened, but by the calling together of a new people, which is the church of Christ – and ultimately, by the renewal of all humanity when he comes again in glory. In the meantime, we must not put our trust in the vision of a utopian state, whether of the left or of the right, or in reviving an imagined golden Christendom of the past.6

The Church’s Mission

Keeping Politics in Its Place

By showing that active love of God and neighbor is possible, the church community by its very existence serves as the signal witness of the coming kingdom to the unredeemed social order and the state.

But it bears as well a duty to seek the good of all people, and to uphold their freedom of religion. This includes calling on the state to fulfill its responsibilities by naming injustice, suggesting improvement, and urging rulers toward justice and mercy. Sometimes the state is not doing enough: it may be corrupt; it may have abdicated its responsibility to protect all its citizens or to provide support to the vulnerable.

All the same, we realize that the state – the polity under a ruler other than Christ – is never going to attain a perfection to which the Christian would have nothing more to say. Anabaptists never expected liberal democracy – let alone Marxist socialism or some other system of government – to create the final kingdom. The observations of Patrick Deneen, Adrian Vermeule, and other post-liberal thinkers that liberalism has failed come as no surprise to those with an Anabaptist outlook.7

Religious Liberty

The sixteenth-century Anabaptists deserve credit for paving the way for modern religious freedom.8 Long before the Bill of Rights was written, Anabaptists echoed the Church Fathers in insisting on the rights of all to live out their faith free of state compulsion. In 1527 the Anabaptist leader Hans Denck wrote, “Everyone should know that in matters of faith we should all proceed as free, voluntary, and uncompelled.” Anabaptists knew then that those who claim, “Thus saith the Lord” to justify their bids for earthly power corrupt the Christian faith and improperly bring claims of absolute allegiance into the political realm.

This Anabaptist principle of religious freedom would later be reflected in the US Constitution. It is no coincidence that after World War II the Bruderhof communities found refuge in the United States. The Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, read together, forbid state control over religion, either through interference with belief and practice or imposition of state-defined orthodoxy.9

Also consistent with the Anabaptist view, this does not mean religion and its leavening influence are to be banished from public life. Supreme Court cases such as Lemon v. Kurtzman in 1971 have confused the public understanding and resulted in nervous lower courts and state officials who countenance no space for faith perspectives in civil affairs.10 Because the church supersedes the state and is structurally distinct, there is no conflict in keeping the two separate, while insisting that religion has a place in public life and asserting the legal rights of believers. When mistreated by the governing authorities, Paul stood on his rights as a citizen, not from pique or as a utilitarian gambit, but because the state had acted unjustly (Acts 16:37). When Christian men and women assert their rights as citizens and call for the state to honor their dignity and that of others, they provide a service by reminding the state of its proper function.

In Practice: Bruderhof Examples

The church community as a practical manifestation of the coming kingdom of God is what speaks most loudly in the world. Among other things, this means a life of full discipleship and commitment to humble service (Matt. 20:25–28), disciplined sexuality (Matt. 5:28), and giving up possessions (Luke 12:13–24). If the best strategy for social and political change starts with reaching hearts and minds, the church needs to start with the integrity of its witness. This is how we in the Bruderhof understand our task: we are trying to live as Christ called us to; trying to love our neighbor as he commanded. We invite others to join us, or to live in that obedience in their own way, which may look very different from ours.

Integrity of witness – to a gospel that lays claim to all aspects of life – must shape our interactions with government. Sometimes these interactions are compulsory; sometimes they are voluntary. And sometimes they are assertive, when the church must address public injustice with its authority, doing what the state might regard as troublesome. How has all of this worked in practice?

Compulsory Interactions

We strive to be good citizens and to follow the law. Many compulsory interactions with the state involve obeying laws that in any case reflect Christ’s teachings – for example, laws that protect the vulnerable (such as child safeguarding and immunization laws) or payment of taxes. In our work, including schools, businesses, medical and dental clinics, and farms, we are conscientious about complying with state requirements in the spirit of Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13.11 But when the state’s demands conflict with conscience, Christians must draw the line, even breaking the law if obedience to God requires it.

For a church committed to nonviolence, one such area is military conscription. During the 1930s, young Bruderhof men of military age went voluntarily into exile rather than serve in Hitler’s forces. Military conscription again became a challenge a few years later, this time in England, where the community had regrouped following its forcible dissolution by the Gestapo in 1937. Here, many Englishmen joined the Bruderhof searching for a way to “work for the removal of all causes of war.”12 When Britain mobilized for World War II, they had to defend their convictions before military tribunals.

One of these young men was Cambridge-educated engineer Fred Goodwin. “I desire,” he told the tribunal, “as a member of the community, to be law abiding and to fulfill the wishes of the state insofar as they do not conflict with my allegiance to God. I cannot accept an alternative service … which would interfere with my continuing to work freely in the [Bruderhof]. I wish to help my fellow men … and believe that the best help I can give, … no matter whether in peace time or war, is my share in the witness of a community life based on the New Testament and the early church.”

It is one thing to refuse to fight for Hitler. It’s another to refuse to fight against him, and pacifism might be the aspect of Anabaptism that people find most difficult to understand. But as Dick Sheppard, the founder of the Peace Pledge Union, put it, “The core of Christian pacifism is the belief that it is never right to take human life. It has nothing to do with quietism in the sense of immoral apathy or cowardice. Its basis is not utilitarian… . It is a constructive philosophy of life. It does not make an unconditional surrender to evil.”13

Fred Goodwin was granted conscientious objector status, as were all Bruderhof men who applied. As hostilities in Europe escalated, the Germans living at the English Bruderhof were classified as enemy aliens subject to internment. In a remarkable concession, the British government offered as an alternative to their internment the possibility for all members of the Bruderhof, including young men of military age, to leave the country as a group.14 The choice of Paraguay as a destination for the Bruderhof was made in part because of exemptions to military service that were already in place for Mennonites. The Vietnam War draft affected dozens of young Bruderhof men who again had to defend their conviction that killing is wrong in all circumstances. An agreement was reached with the Selective Service board whereby service work on the Bruderhof qualified as alternative service.

Fred Goodwin and other members of the Bruderhof in England on their farm Photograph courtesy of Bruderhof Archives

Voluntary Interactions

As the father of five and as a lawyer, I often attend civic occasions that open with the Pledge of Allegiance; I also coach a high-school soccer team where many games begin with the national anthem. Like other Bruderhof members, I stand in respect for the Pledge of Allegiance, but do not join in reciting it. When the national anthem is played, many people put their hands on their hearts; we Bruderhof members do not. In such festive moments, this refusal may seem indecorous, but for us, it shows that, though we honor the God-given authority of the state and the natural love of country, our first and final allegiance is to the kingdom of God.

This may strike many as over-scrupulous. Yet there’s good reason to be wary of patriotic practices that have the character of religious rituals, as the early Christians knew. In the 1930s, the conviction that a Christian must always declare his sole allegiance to Christ is the reason Bruderhof members resolutely refused to use the Heil Hitler greeting (which can be understood as “salvation from Hitler”). Today, almost all Christians would condemn this greeting as obviously idolatrous. But at the time, few other Christians in Germany consistently refused to say it (not even anti-Nazi heroes like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth).15 Surely this played some small role in the dulling of Christian conscience in those years.

Voting, by contrast, involves not a question of allegiance but of moral responsibility. Whether and how to vote is a question of conscience for Bruderhof members; we debate this, and sometimes disagree.16 To what extent does voting implicate a believer in repugnant decisions a candidate may later make? Is failure to vote against a war-mongering or depraved candidate a sin of omission? Some Bruderhof members do not vote, and others choose only to vote in local elections where the effect of a candidate’s policies will directly affect the well-being of our neighborhood. Some see voting as inconsistent with the Anabaptist stance of refraining from exercising political power; others view it as a useful means of testimony. Here in New York, as taxpayers in our local school districts, we support budget priorities that, according to our best understanding, benefit children and families. And declining to vote for any of a slate of corrupt candidates (if no more significant issues are at stake) can at times be an effective way to bear witness.

We do not vote to become politically powerful, or to impose a religious vision using the state’s coercive power. At the same time, total disengagement from the political process is a vote for maintaining the status quo or can reflect personal or collective apathy. The Bruderhof doesn’t attempt to take positions on every policy issue, but we look for ways to work with others when an issue seems important. Any time we engage with influencing government, we are alert to the temptations of power, and we are aware that even as a way of doing good, being involved in government is not always the best use of a Christian’s time or energy.

Some Bruderhof members do register with a political party of their choice, but all remain clear that no particular party or candidate can be identified as “the Christian choice.” Compromise is inherent in politics, and when it comes to eternal truths there can be none. For this reason, we cannot adopt any party’s entire platform. We also guard against excess of partisan sentiment that might cause division within the fellowship. Because our communities do not affiliate with political parties, we are able to convene elected officials and other leaders in our locality to communicate and solve problems in an environment of open dialogue and trust.

In my experience, it has not been hard to find common ground with Christians, and indeed with people of other faiths or none, across the political spectrum. After all, Christ’s love extends to everyone and the church will have no abiding home in any particular party. If combatting poverty and racial injustice are biblical issues, so, too, is clarity on the sacred bond of marriage and its procreative purpose. Some of those views may appear liberal and others conservative. What matters to us is fidelity to the gospel in all things.

This is why Bruderhof pastors serve as chaplains to law enforcement as well as in prison ministry. Breaking the Cycle is a nonviolent conflict resolution program we offer to schools and other forums; it provides ways to address critical issues facing youth today.17 We don’t just oppose abortion – we support maternity homes and invest in education about healthy relationships and responsibility. When we renounce physician-assisted suicide, we must come to the aid of local hospices and elder-care facilities. While we don’t have a policy solution to complex immigration challenges, we can help staff child-friendly spaces in detention centers on the Mexican border and refugee camps in the Middle East.

Assertive Interactions

And then there are those acute moments in history when the believer, and the church, must discern whether conscience requires an uncompromising response.

Just after the end of World War I, Eberhard Arnold noted that the “church has nothing to do with the power of the state; she represents one thing alone, the all-sustaining power of love. Yet the innermost meaning of the state is a concern of the church. It is her task to exert her influence on the political life for the sake of social justice and peace, for the sake of encompassing love. Unlimited possibilities of spiritual influence and help are latent in the Spirit which animates the church.”18

As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out four decades later in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, if God gives states authority to preserve justice, Christians should advocate against unjust laws. Like other churches in America during the 1960s, the Bruderhof followed the development of the civil rights movement closely. As increasing numbers traveled south to stand in solidarity with those who were fighting for justice, the Bruderhof membership debated whether pushing for “political” goals such as equal voting rights and desegregation was compatible with the community’s usual hesitance to weigh in on policy questions. We concluded that we must take part, and sent delegations to Selma, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, to march alongside King. Replying in May 1964 to a letter sent by Bruderhof pastor Dwight Blough, King wrote, “If we are successful in this, as we believe we will be, the time will come when this nation can in actuality become the Beloved Community… . We share with you the wish that our country will experience a change which will enable a true brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God to exist.”

Students from the Bruderhof’s high school visit Washington, D.C. to work with the Save the Children Action Network. Photograph courtesy of the author

In the years since, Bruderhof members have continued to meet with government leaders to protest wars abroad and harm to the poor at home. In specific, we’ve advocated for policies benefiting children and families, including better public schools; opposed the death penalty and euthanasia, while seeking to promote a consistent life ethic; and urged the improvement of a justice system weighted unfairly against the poor and minorities. Classes from Bruderhof schools routinely make field trips to national and state capitals such as London, Canberra, Washington, and Albany, New York, to learn about government and politics and develop an active interest in the issues of the day. Youth from our schools also participate in advocacy days with organizations such as Save the Children, World Vision, and Oxfam.

Lived well, church community is in itself a testimony to society about family life, care of the vulnerable and of elders, child-centered education, the dignity of work, the limits of consumption, and the need for accountability of leadership. Our concerns also include religious liberty – the freedom to express and practice such eternal truths as the sanctity of life and respect for the sacred covenant of marriage. In making this testimony, the Bruderhof welcomes allies from within and outside government, religious or not. For us the hands and feet of faith mean partnering at the local level with social services and organizations such as the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, United Way, and Boys and Girls Clubs to serve unmet needs.

Our Ultimate Calling

In the aftermath of the 1933 German referendum, SS members spent a full day searching the community’s houses in rural Hesse. They questioned Bruderhof members, one by one. They left without making arrests, but carried away books and papers. It would be wise, these uniformed men said, for the Bruderhof to emigrate. Like so many others, they had no place in the Germany envisioned by the Führer. In an evening meeting on the day of the vote, Eberhard Arnold spoke. His words are a remarkable summary – made at a moment of great peril – of how the church should witness to the state:

It is a great gift when we approach one individual or several people to tell them about the kingdom of God… . But it is a much greater thing if the world is confronted with a historical reality … as a witness to the truth of the gospel. It means far more to be called to participate in making history by representing the way of love and peace and justice in the midst of a … world bristling with weapons. We are called to live out this witness, unperturbed and unswayed, while a tempest of historical events rages fiercely all around us.

That is the church’s true calling: to carry out a final, quiet, united action in the face of the horrors of the demon-gripped doomsday events of this time – an action expressing complete unity and faithfulness, complete love and forgiveness, complete goodness and truth, complete surrender and trust, united action that cries out: Repent and believe in the gospel, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

Four years later, in April 1937, the Bruderhof community in Germany would be raided again and dissolved by order of the Gestapo.19

Anabaptist history illustrates the fact that believers must be ready to take a stand even at the cost of their lives, or of being, once again, refugees for the sake of conscience. This audacity is strengthened by freedom from private property and by a common life that expresses the primacy of God’s kingdom over all practical aspects of life. This means public witness; it does not mean retreat. We are convinced that the long game is spiritual, not political. In the meantime we work for concrete good in the social order while anticipating the promised kingdom of God’s justice described so magnificently throughout scripture, that day “when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).


  1. See Thomas Nauerth, Zeugnis, Liebe und Widerstand: Der Rhönbruderhof 1933–1937 (Schöningh, 2017). See also Emmy Barth, An Embassy Besieged: The Story of a Christian Community in Nazi Germany (Wipf and Stock, 2010).
  2. For a fuller description of this, see “The Anabaptist Vision of Politics” by John D. Roth.
  3. N. T. Wright, Simply Christian (Harper Collins, 2006), 126.
  4. Eberhard Arnold, “Jesus and the Future State,” public lecture, Berlin, April 1919 (Bruderhof Historical Archive, EA 19/1).
  5. Eberhard Arnold, remarks to a Bruderhof members’ meeting, January 1931 (Bruderhof Historical Archive, EA 35/31).
  6. For the history of (and an example of) utopian progressivist thought in the United States, see Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country (Harvard University Press, 1999).
  7. For instance see Deneen’s recent book Why Liberalism Failed (Yale University Press, 2018) and Vermeule’s review “Integration from Within” in American Affairs, Spring 2018,
  8. Harold Bender, “The Anabaptists and Religious Liberty in the Sixteenth Century,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 29 (1955), 85.
  9. After all, our Anabaptist forebears were burned at the stake by government officials for heresy, including rejecting belief in transubstantiation and infant baptism. See Thielemann von Bracht, Martyrs Mirror (first published 1659), trans. Joseph Sohm. See also “Church Autonomy and the Free Exercise Clause” in James Serritella, ed., Religious Structures under the Federal Constitution (Carolina Academic Press, 2006), 133.
  10. The famous Jeffersonian “wall of separation between Church & State” is often misunderstood. The separation Jefferson proclaimed in his “wall” metaphor should be between the institutions of church and state, not between faith and government.
  11. Indeed, mere compliance with laws is not adequate for the church: Christ’s example sets the standards of morality, ethics, and behavior that we aspire to. For a description of how we carry out our work, see “Common Work” in Foundations of our Faith and Calling ( and John Rhodes, “Is a Christian Business an Oxymoron?Plough Quarterly 21 (Summer 2019), 52.
  12. This phrase was part of the pledge signed by the over 140,000 members of Pastor Dick Sheppard’s Peace Pledge Union, and is based on Quaker founder George Fox’s 1651 response to the offer of an army commission that he “lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars.”
  13. “The Christian Attitude to War,” sermon preached 1937, printed in Walters, Kerry, ed., We Say No! The Plain Man’s Guide to Pacifism (Wipf and Stock, 2013), 132.
  14. Ian Randall, A Christian Peace Experiment: The Bruderhof Community in Britain, 1933–1942 (Cascade, 2018).
  15. Nauerth, Zeugnis, Liebe und Widerstand, 286.
  16. For Bruderhof members living in Australia, whether to vote is not a choice – voting in federal elections and referendums is mandatory, with failure to vote punished by a fine.
  17. See
  18. Arnold, “Jesus and the Future State.”
  19. Three members were arrested (and later released) and the rest were given twenty-four hours to leave Germany. The whole of this story can be read in Emmy Barth’s An Embassy Besieged.