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Fundamentals of Faith and Fellowship

Confession

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 3:11). 

The Bible, the Word of God, which reveals in eternal truth the guidance and destiny of nations and mankind, is the foundation of all true living in faith. The New Testament especially, i.e., the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His example, and the teachings and instructions given by Him and His Apostles are our rule and our ground of faith.

We acknowledge God, the Almighty, as Creator and Preserver of the universe in the visible and invisible creation.

We confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Son of man, who testified anew of the love of God toward mankind lost in error and sin, and who Himself put this love into effect to the giving of Himself on the accursed tree of the cross for the salvation of men. His precious blood of reconciliation makes us clean from all sin (I John 1:7). The blood of Christ we understand to be His work of redemption which He finished on the cross of Calvary.

We confess the Holy Ghost of truth and love, of obedience and discipline, who according to John 14:16 and 26, also Acts 2:1-4, was poured out on the first day of Pentecost, and who to this day gives Himself into the hearts of men who through an upright conversion, through repentance, faith, grace, and baptism, have come to renewal of life and peace with God. Christ taught Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).

We believe that every man is a sinner by birth: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12), and “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

We believe that God in His Word offers every man the possibility to be delivered from his sinful and lost condition. “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” (Ez. 18:23). This possibility is confirmed by the word of Jesus on the cross: “It is finished.”

The faith in Christ’s sacrificial death is the foundation of the redemption; and the following scriptural baptism, bound with the gift of the Holy Spirit, is the seal of holy kinship and divine adoption as sons of God.

Infant baptism is not scriptural, because it has no foundation in the New Testament; it is an error and leads men into a false security. It is for him the only testimony, though not grounded in the Scriptures, that he is a Christian, even though he knows nothing of his baptism.

“The Church is the body of Christ.”

Fröhlich wrote: “Man must first have heard the Word of salvation with his ears, understood it with his mind, believed it with his heart, and confessed it with his lips before he may be baptized on this, his faith, and embodied into the church of Christ.” 

The Church is the body of Christ.

The Head of the Church is Christ.

We confess ourselves to be non-combatant, according to the Sermon on the Mount, and we reject the taking of an oath according to the word of Christ: “Swear not at all... But let your communication be, yea, yea: Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matt. 5:34,37).

We believe in the coming of the Kingdom of God, which has its beginning in the heart of man and its glorious consummation in the appearance of the Lord, when He will come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).

Conversion

The appearance of Jesus Christ on earth is a call to all men: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). 

The true Christian life begins with repentance, faith, knowledge, grace, baptism, laying on of hands; then follow the life of faith, the sanctification, the resurrection (Hebrews 6:1-2).

True knowledge of self, turning from sin, contrition, turning to God: that is repentance. Bound up with upright repentance is a confession of sins, according to Mark 1:5. Wrong that has been committed, lying, stealing, moral infractions, offenses, slander, etc., must be confessed, and as much as possible restitution must be made. The contrite confession and the restitution work for reconciliation between men, but they are not sufficient to make men righteous in God’s sight. The last condition of man consists not alone in the individual sins which he has committed, but in his unbelief and in the evil state of the human heart (Romans 7:24), which cannot be restored by restitution or confession before men, but only by the complete redemption, in Christ, of the sinful nature (I John 1:7). Only the sacrifice on Calvary, the death of the innocent Lamb of God on the cross, presents the all-sufficient sacrifice, and only the faith in this offering, which becomes an inner conviction and experience, enables man, lost in sin, to be reconciled to God and redeemed from the bondage and servitude of sin. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36). So Paul could testify: “I obtained mercy.” (I Tim. 1:16).

For the person, who by faith in Christ’s redemptive act on Calvary, through repentance and conversion, has received forgiveness of sins and has come to be at peace with God, the way is open to all the promises of God’s Word, according to the measure of his faith. From now on the rest of his way no longer lies in his own choice: the child of God must be subject to his heavenly Father and the leading of the Holy Spirit, who testifies in him. The doctrines of the Gospel are authoritative for his future life. No man has ever been truly converted without vowing faithfulness to God, in the following of Jesus to the end. This vow of faithfulness God would confirm in the redeemed person through the covenant of grace in the baptism of faith.

By the redemption, through the blood of Christ, man comes to true peace and rest of the soul, according to the word of the Lord: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28). This refreshing, after contrition and repentance, becomes for the soul an inner experience and a testimony of faith in redemption. The heart for the first time feels true peace and that joy of soul of which the Savior says: “... Your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:22), “... But rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20). This joy the eunuch felt when he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39).

The Baptism of Faith

The external sign of the covenant between God and man is holy baptism, as Christ Himself commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16). 

In regeneration, we should not only receive forgiveness of sins, but also be redeemed from the bondage of sin so that we no longer sin, but are able to walk before God without sin, as followers of the Lord. The conscience, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, shall not again be stained with guilt, as the Savior said to him who was healed: “... Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5:14; 8:11). It is very important to grasp the meaning of baptism according to the words of the Apostle Paul (Romans 6:3). In baptism by immersion, the old man is symbolically given into death, buried, in order to rise again to a new life and walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. For him, who stands before holy baptism, it brings a great blessing if he is conscious of the earnestness of this sacred act, so that he may fully take part in the promises of God connected with it. God is faithful in all His sayings.

Many passages in Scripture explain the true meaning of baptism: Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38 and 8:36; also 9:18 and 22:16; Gal. 3:27; 3:5-6; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:21.

For him who knows the Scripture, there can be no doubt that the baptism of faith is a necessity for the life of faith. It is not within the liberty of the redeemed person to choose if he will or will not allow himself to be baptized, but rather he must fulfill this ordinance in faith. The baptism of faith is, therefore, neither a human precept nor a human act. It is the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Peter 3:27).

“Infant baptism is in error because it is not based upon the Word of God.”

Only the baptism of faith which follows upon spiritual regeneration is instituted by Christ. The baptism of the Spirit of which John the Baptist speaks (Matt. 3:11) is fulfilled in the baptism of faith. Both are in harmony with the completion of the work of redemption. By Jesus Christ on Calvary the baptism of John was abolished, and now only the baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ is scriptural (Romans 6:3-5). Whoever says that he has received the baptism of the Spirit and needs not the baptism of faith (in the water) does not stand under the full obedience of the Word (Acts 19:2-6). 

On the other hand, infant baptism is an error because it is not based upon the Word of God.

The church father Tertullian, already in the year 204 A.D., wrote: “Infant baptism is unnecessary for children in the age of innocency, for Christ, by His death on the cross, according to the teaching of Scripture [Romans 5:11] has atoned for the guilt of Adam for all the children of Adam, without exception; but the curse of the Law He set aside only for the believers, and this last is the main thing. He who would be saved must believe and be baptized. Unbelief is sufficient for damnation. Children, however, are neither believing nor unbelieving and can, therefore, not be baptized as children, but can, nonetheless, be saved for Jesus’ sake. The guilt of Adam can remain upon us only through open, practical unbelief, and then no longer as Adam’s guilt, but as our own. A person cannot come to faith until he has been under the Law [Gal. 3:23]. Original sin must first be acknowledged before faith, grace, righteousness, and healing can come. Children, however, are in the the age of innocency for Christ’s sake because Christ has taken the guilt of Adam upon Himself, even though original sin is in them, but not by imputation, which can first be recognized through the Law, and then set aside by faith or is imputed through unbelief.”

“This Spirit would... impel you to every good work.”

The baptism of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is connected with the most precious promises of God. 

The name of the “Father” would assure you that you are now a child of the eternal, almighty Father. He has received you as a child and heir in Christ His Son with the promise: “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15). You shall have part in all the good of the house and Kingdom of God.

The name of the “Son” tells you that the Savior died for you as your Redeemer, and that, with His blood, He on the cross wiped out the handwriting of sin which was against you. He calls you into His discipleship and goes before you through cross and suffering to glory. Now you can join the song of praise: “Jesus lives! And with Him I!”

And the name of the “Holy Ghost” means for you that now this Spirit would accompany you through joy and sorrow, through need and peril; would comfort, warn, chastise, and impel you to every good word and work. And He would more and more deliver you from all evil and from all that is harmful. And so this shall come true: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” and “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14,16).

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

The word of prophecy (Joel 3:1) was fulfilled with elemental power on the first Pentecost: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost...” (Acts 2:2-4). 

Peter answered the question put by the Jews, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” with the words: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).

At the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, John testified: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” (John 1:32).

At Samaria the disciples prayed over those who had accepted the Word of God “that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:14-17 and 19:2-6).

On the basis of these testimonies, we also hold to the apostolic direction in the manner, that the gift of the Holy Ghost is invoked on behalf of the one desiring baptism through the laying on of the hands in faith and the common prayer of the congregation for God’s blessing.

As in the days of the Apostles, these promises are fulfilled in the believing soul in demonstration of the Spirit and power and not in outward visible form.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is the inner sign or testimony of reconciliation with God. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:15-17).

When a man, through his inner conflict, has battled through to faith, so that he has attained peace with God, it will be a continuous desire in him to conduct himself so that his inner connection with his Redeemer will not be disturbed. The gentle Teacher and Watchman over this pure condition is the Holy Ghost, who has already led the soul through repentance. This Spirit also awakens the desire after baptism, i.e., the sealing of the adoption of sons, in order to complete the full obedience of faith. Whoever listens to the Holy Spirit will be led by Him into eternal life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance...” (Gal. 5:22-23).

The Reception by the Congregation

Before baptism and reception into the congregation, the one desiring baptism, in the presence of the circle of brothers and sisters, gives expression of that which he has experienced of God’s grace, i.e., of his rebirth. Paul says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10). God’s Spirit shall bear witness in the congregation if the one desiring baptism is prepared for baptism. When the congregation is satisfied with the testimony of the one desiring baptism, an elder administers baptism by immersion. Then by the laying on of hands and the prayer of the elder (Acts 19:5-6; I Tim. 4:14; Heb. 6:2) the baptized person is received into membership and has full part in the life of the fellowship, especially also in the Lord’s Supper. 

Not through the reception into membership, not because we call ourselves believers, but through a living faith in the blood and merits of Christ, a faith that is active in works, will we inherit eternal life, as those who are born again out of the living Word of God which abideth forever.

Therefore it is written: “... be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10).

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper in the new covenant takes the place of the Passover for the covenant people Israel. Moses commanded the children of Israel to keep the Passover that they might be spared the judgment which had been prepared for the Egyptians (Ex. 12:12-21). The outward sign, which Moses had instituted at God’s command for this protection, was the eating of the Passover lamb, and the blood of the lamb which was to be spread over the door posts of the Israelite homes. In every home in which this blood-sign was lacking, the angel of the Lord struck down the firstborn. It was, therefore, the seal for Israel as the chosen people of God. Annually the Passover was to be celebrated as a memorial of the redemption of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. 

The great redemption festival was, among others, celebrated at three different places: namely, in Egypt (Ex. 12), in the wilderness (Num. 9), and in the land of Canaan (Josh. 5).

Christ observed the Passover with His disciples shortly before His suffering and death, and in connection therewith instituted the Lord’s Supper of the new covenant. “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15). Referring to His impending suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus united the hearts of His disciples in their love to Him and toward each other. With the words: “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,” (Matt. 26:28), Jesus transferred the blood-sign of the old covenant, that is, that of the Passover lamb, to the new covenant in His own blood. The Lord’s Supper, therefore, means for the converted Christians a remembrance of the sacrificial death of the Lord for our redemption. It should bring a renewal of love for the Lord, a new life through the remembrance of the experience of salvation, and thereby a strengthening of faith. It is wonderful how Christ would nurture this bond with His Church on earth through the Lord’s Supper till He comes again. It is His testament to His Church. In the breaking of the bread as His body, and the drinking of the wine as His blood, Jesus has created something that ever and anew, in the most intimate manner, unites our hearts with Him and His Church. According to I Corinthians 11:26 we should thereby partake of the Lord’s death till He come.

“Taking part in the Lord’s Supper is a very earnest occasion.”

Taking part in the Lord’s Supper is a very earnest occasion, a matter of conscience, as we see from I Corinthians 11:27-29. 

When the Lord Jesus went to the Lord’s Supper with His disciples, it was a way to suffering and death. Of this the true Christian will remind himself, and shall so go to the Lord’s Supper as though it were a going into death; and then one day he will go into death as though it were a going to the Lord’s Supper. For this reason announcement is made beforehand when the congregation is to partake of the Lord’s Supper: the members are held to self-examination of their state of faith and are admonished to come to the Lord’s Supper in a reconciling state of love and peace. If love has suffered or the peace has been disturbed, the responsible ones are first to be reconciled.

The keeping of the Lord’s Supper shall not be neglected, and the believer shall make every effort to remove hindrances (lack of love, disharmony, an unreconciling spirit, offense). Already in the old covenant the Lord rendered a serious judgment (Num. 9:13) upon every Israelite who neglected the observance of the Passover.

Whoever is irreconcilable or who has sinned, and also unbelievers, are to have no part in this Supper. The Lord’s Supper is not observed in order to receive the forgiveness of sins in some mysterious manner: the certainty of this forgiveness must have previously been attained by every participant in this Supper. Whoever is unworthy, i.e., whoever is unclean or leavened in heart or irreconcilable, and thus receives the Lord’s Supper, receives no blessing; and what is more, he heaps guilt upon himself, because he does not discern the Lord’s body.

The Lord’s Supper shall be observed in our congregation several times a year. The urge to have the Lord’s Supper should not come only from the elder, but rather, if possible, from the bosom of the congregation.

By means of the observance of the Lord’s Supper love and fellowship are newly strengthened, and the soul is more intimately united with its God and Lord, with renewed courage of faith to continue fighting the good fight.

Congregational Order and Care of Souls

God is not a God of disorder, but a God of peace (I Cor. 14:33). According to Scripture, church order and church discipline are necessary for improvement and not for destruction (II Cor. 10:8 and 13:10). “... Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16).

Fellowship

Originally it was not Fröhlich’s intention to found his own party or a separate society or even a sect; but he hoped to make the experiences of faith which he made in his conversion bear fruit in the bosom of the state church. 

Those persons converted and baptized under the influence of Fröhlich’s preaching of the Word were at first merely a group of like-minded individuals loosely held together, among whom were yet many kinds of views and trends to be found. But it is not sufficient to awaken people and to lead them to the Savior: they must be preserved in the faith, taught, and nurtured after the word of Christ: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you... ”(Matt. 28:20). This nurture the believers could not receive in the state church, which, in its views on repentance, conversion, baptism, and holy communion, did not agree with the Evangelical Baptists. Unless these converts could be bound together in a stronger and closer union there would be little prospect of the permanency.

It was soon apparent that a great amount of labor in the care of souls was necessary. Earnest search and struggle, also bitter experiences and setbacks, crowded Fröhlich step by step as he was being led by the Spirit of God to organize a congregation of believers. What was built up in laborious spiritual battle would otherwise have been lost through schisms in various directions and trends of thought, or through worldly and sinful influences. The unity of faith as it is established in the Gospel, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,” can flourish only in a closed organization in which Christ is first and last, and in which the Spirit of God operates and keeps discipline and order.

A thorough knowledge of the Scriptures activated Fröhlich to translate the Word, i.e., the Old Testament from the Hebrew and the New Testament from the Greek: the Word which ever and again was held to be the only guide. There was constant testing to see how things should be done “according to the Scriptures.” Experiences were gathered, and although no dogmas, on account of which Fröhlich had suffered so much in the state church, were set up, the proven way and guidance for the congregation was revealed by the practical use of the Bible.

“The care of the fellowship has the purpose to keep alive the life of faith...”

An important directive in the interest of good order in the congregation the apostolic council in Jerusalem gave to the Christians who were more out of heathenism, which reads: “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication...” (Acts 15:29). We avoid therefore the eating of blood and foods prepared with blood and things strangled. 

The care of the fellowship has the purpose to keep alive the life of faith and unity among the members. For this reason Paul wrote to the Philippians: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Phil. 2:1-2).

Christ said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:1-2).

By the redemption we have become branches of the same vine or the children of God, brothers and sisters. The congregation is Christ’s body, we the members. The same Father makes of us one large family. If one member suffers, all suffer. Has one a burden, all help to bear it. This intimate fellowship becomes especially manifest in mutual intercession. The first congregation of Christ’s disciples is exemplary, for they were of one heart and soul.

Proclamation of the Word

In the proclamation of the Word, the basis of the Gospel — repentance, forgiveness, baptism, and above all, the name Christ Jesus — according to our confession shall be in the foreground.

Brethren Meetings

In order to strengthen ever anew the bond of fellowship and of the love of Christ, general meetings of the brethren, from far and near, are to be held from time to time. In these meetings important matters and questions concerning the fellowship are to be deliberated upon in brotherly harmony. The first meeting of this kind was held in 1836 at Hauptwil.

Admonitions

The Gospel gives instructions on how to deal with those who err. In the first place, the personal admonition in love and sincerity, in holy caution, gentleness, and wisdom, with the individual alone shall be exercised. The instruction of the Apostle for such cases is: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1). 

Fröhlich wrote in 1854: “The offended person should, in the reconciliation, heartily approach the offender with heart and hand, because actually it is the Lord Himself who has been offended more than the human person, who should gladly forgive and bury all that is done to him personally.”

“... If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”

Christ said: “... If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church...” (Matt. 18:15-17). The admonition, if necessary, should be repeated. (Titus 3:10). 

If a member of the congregation has become guilty of a serious error, action shall be taken in the sense of the apostolic teaching (I Tim. 5:20): “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” A restriction in full participation in membership will be imposed for a time upon the respective member whereby he will be directed to sincere repentance in order to win back the good pleasure of God.

Excommunication

Serious sins bring with them exclusion from the congregation, according to the divine Word: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:26-27). The exclusion is announced before the assembled congregation to which the erring one has been invited, or of which he has been apprised in writing (II Thes. 3:14). 

Fröhlich wrote on May 30, 1855: “The Apostle Paul made a distinct difference between punishment and exclusion; i.e., between a brother who walks disorderly, does not work, goes about idle, is impertinent, and so forth, and the brother who lives in open sin, such as adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, blasphemer, miser, and cheat. From the first kind one should withdraw (punishment), that he may be ashamed; but he shall not be excluded if he accepts admonition and improves, and he shall be treated as a brother (II Thes. 3:6-15). On the other hand, one of the second kind shall be excommunicated as an evil leaven, who leavens the whole congregation as long as he is therein.” (I Cor. 5:11-13). “Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

A re-admission of an excommunicated person comes into consideration only as far as the divine Word permits, and where the working of the grace of God in the heart of the erring one is apparent.

For this reason God has appointed teachers and elders in the congregation, according to Hebrews 13:17: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Marriage

It is clear from Scriptures that marriage is a state ordained of God. It shall be an indissoluble lifelong union. The Mosaic Law contains commandments which in all strictness and earnestness direct attention to the sacredness of marriage. 

In the new covenant marriage is regarded no less importantly. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we find this direction regarding entrance into marriage: “... Only in the Lord.” (I Cor. 7:39). The believing husband shall be house-priest and give care, not merely to the external good of his family, but he shall above all be an example to them for their spiritual welfare.

In the first centuries of the Christian era, therefore, churchly copulation was added to the civil marriage. It was to be known that it is a marriage consummated according to the will of God, and not merely actuated by the driving of lust, so that everything might be done to the glory of God. Bride and bridegroom united themselves at the table of the Lord and together partook of the holy communion. They brought to the church a common gift, and then the blessing was spoken on them and their marriage in the prayer accompanying the celebration of communion (Neander). In later years, about 400 A.D., a church council ordained that bride and bridegroom be presented before the parents or witnesses to receive the blessing.

“A happy marriage is one in which... the burden upon this earth is borne together.”

A happy marriage is one in which two persons of one mind, and God as the third in the union, are united in wedlock, where there is mutual understanding and consideration; and where one does not live only for himself, but in the unity of faith and spirit, the burden upon this earth is borne together. On such a marriage God has promised His blessing, as it is written in Psalm 128. 

After the civil marriage and after the period of engagement has been honorably observed, God’s blessing is invoked upon the couple in the common prayer of the congregation.

Rearing of Children

“Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16). 

There have been forces at work at all times to draw to themselves the children, who represent the future.

“It is the foremost duty of parents to bring up their children in the fear of God...”

The instruction of children lay very close to the heart of Fröhlich, and he often had to admonish parents for their neglect in this connection. It is the foremost duty of parents to bring up their children in the fear of God and to lead them to their Savior, for it is surely the wish of every parent to have their children happy in body and soul, and to find the right way through life. Believing parents ought to be more diligent in rearing their children in simplicity, truth, and modesty, which is esteemed by all. The preservation of the children against the spirit of the world, ambition, vanity, and secrecy, is a great blessing for themselves, for the family, and for the congregation. 

“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:2-4).

Military Service, Conscientious Objection, and Taking of Oaths

Christ taught the people: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:38,44-45). To Peter He said: “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt. 26:52). And John answered the soldiers: “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely.” (Luke 3:14). 

On the basis of these words of Christ, the true Christians of all times had to hold to the conviction that one should not kill, not even in wartime: they confessed themselves non-combatant, which corresponds to the faithfulness of the congregation to Christ’s word and life.

It is also in accordance with the simple, wholesome human reasoning that nations are not born into the world for the purpose of mutual annihilation, but to possess the earth and to come to the Kingdom of God.

Instead of the oath, an affirmation by word of mouth is acknowledged. In this wise we render to the state that which is due to the state, and to God that which belongs to God.