From the Archives: The Community of Saints
Through the centuries, various Christian groups have sought to follow the example of the first Jerusalem church in holding all their possessions in common. Such groups have often encountered misunderstanding, suspicion, and persecution. Ulrich Stadler belonged to one anabaptist group, the Hutterites, founded in Moravia in 1528. In his Cherished Instructions of 1537, he expounds his theory of community.
In this community everything must proceed equally, all things be one and communal, alike in the bodily gifts of their Father in heaven, which he daily gives to be used by his own according to his will. For how does it make sense that all who have here in this pilgrimage to look forward to an inheritance in the kingdom of their Father should not be satisfied with their bodily goods and gifts? Judge, O ye saints of God, ye who are thus truly grafted into Christ, with him deadened to the world, to sin, and to yourselves, that you never hereafter live for the world or yourselves but rather for him who died for you and arose, namely, Christ. [They] have also yielded themselves and presented themselves to him intimately, patiently, of their own free will, naked and uncovered, to suffer and endure his will and, moreover, to fulfill it and thereafter also to devote themselves in obedience and service to all the children of God. Therefore, they also live with one another where the Lord assigns a place to them, peaceably, united, lovingly, amicably, and fraternally, as children of one Father. In their pilgrimage they should be satisfied with the bodily goods and gifts of their Father, since they should also be altogether as one body and members one toward another.
Now if, then, each member withholds assistance from the other, the whole ...