Zinzendorf and the Moravians: A Gallery of Leading Figures
(1690–1751) Historians credit this “humble journeyman carpenter” with being one of the two individuals most responsible for Herrnhut. Born December 31, 1690 in Senftleben, Moravia, he early showed religious inclinations. But his Catholic upbringing failed to satisfy. Two influences profoundly prepared him for conversion at age 27—the Christian carpenter who taught him his trade and the German Bible he obtained at age 20. After years of seeking, he found Christ while ill in Görlitz, Saxony, near the Moravian border, as a Lutheran pastor nursed him to health. That year, 1717, David married and also embarked on soul-winning trips into Moravia. There he discovered Brethren who longed for the rebirth of their ancient church, holding tenaciously to a prophetic word spoken by an ancestor that their persecuted church would yet live. With David’s meeting Count Zinzendorf in 1722, this hope sprang to reality. He led the first Moravian refugees across the border to Herrnhut and actually started that settlement by felling the first tree. Zinzendorf was to call him “the Moravian Moses” for ten times he crossed the border and led Brethren to freedom. Though he sometimes exercised poor judgment and wavered in his faith under the sway of forceful false teaching, he always returned to his devotion to Christ. In 1733 he led a party of three Brethren in the difficult mission to help a Danish missionary among the Eskimos of Greenland.
(1700–1756) In the young countess of the house of Henry X von Reuss, Zinzendorf found a companion characterized by “simplicity and warm sympathy … quick insight and excellent judgment … ” Erdmuth Dorothea ...