The Hutterian Brethren or Hutterites are a faith group stemming from the Radical Reformation of the 16th century (Hutterite History).
Hutterites and Mennonites (and thus the Amish who are of Mennonite descent) share common roots. Both of these groups are Anabaptists and both of these movements trace their beginnings to the same era, to the same movement, during the Reformation.
The guiding principals of the early Anabaptists are stated in the Schleitheim Confession. In 1527, a group of Swiss Anabaptists led by Michael Sattler, met in Schleitheim, Switzerland, and agreed unanimously on the following principles:
- Baptizing babies is not biblical (Matt 28). The Bible requires the separation of church and state.
- Christians should not wield the sword (be pacifist).
- The Lord’s Supper is symbolic of the suffering of Jesus, and should be done in remembrance of Him.
- The Ban should be applied to those baptised members who fall into sin repeatedly (Matt 15).
- Pastors in the Church need to be responsible for teaching, disciplining, the ban and other duties.
- Oaths are not to be taken by Christians.
These points became the basis for this new movement. The followers of this movement are known as the Anabaptists or re-baptizers. They are called re-baptizers because they were baptized a second time in adulthood.
The religion of the Hutterites is unique in that they believe in community of goods, in which all material goods are held in common. This idea is gleaned from several biblical sources. Throughout biblical history God has separated His people from the world. Abraham was called by God and asked to leave his people and homeland in order to better serve Him. The Israelites historically have been separate.
We can also read that Jesus and his disciples shared everything (John 12) and they held a common purse. In Matthew 19, Jesus explains to the rich young ruler that he needs to follow the Commandments and to give all he has to the poor and then follow Him. Throughout the Gospel, Christ teaches us to “love our neighbours” and the manifestation of this love is in caring for each other and in the sharing of possessions. Community of goods was practised in the the early church: the apostles and the early Christians held all things in common (Acts 2: 44-47, Acts 4: 32-35). Therefore, Hutterites believe community of goods and working for each other to be the highest command of love.
All members of the colony are provided for equally and no assets are to be kept for personal gain. Hutterites do not have personal bank accounts; rather all earnings are held communally and funding and necessities are distributed according to one’s needs. Hutterites believe that all their work is to benefit the community and is a form of service to God.
Hutterites attend a 1/2 hour church service almost every day besides a 1 to 1 1/2 hour-long service every Sunday and on common religious holidays: Christmas, Easter, Epiphany, Ascension Day and Pentecost. In addition, special services are held for baptisms and marriages, and funerals.