MORAVIANS: Organized by Nikolaus Ludwig, Count von Zinzindorn (1700-1760). Born at Dresden, he was a very pious and religious man. An ordained minister in the Lutheran Church, he purchased an estate in Berthelsdorf, Germany and built up a quietistic community. Later he began travelling about establishing communities and instilling into them old Moravian doctrines.
The Moravians consider the Scriptures the only rule of faith, shun discussion on the Trinity, the Fall, Original Sin, although they admit these doctrines; hold a doctrine of "Total Depravity", and admit only two sacraments.
METHODISTS: Founded by John Wesley, who was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, June 17, 1703. He was ordained a clergyman of the Anglican Church in 1728, and in 1736, when he visited Savannah in Georgia, came into contact with Moravian doctrines. He organized the first Methodist Society in 1739. Shortly after he left the Anglican Communion and organized his own church.
The Methodist doctrine is borrowed from the Anglicans and Calvanists. They hold Scripture to be the sole and sufficient rule of belief and practice; teach justification by faith alone, although the practice of good works is commended; condemn works of supererogation; admit only two sacraments; condemn the invocation of the Saints and the veneration of sacred images and relics; and deny purgatory.
SHAKERS: Jane Wardley, with the help of her brother James, organized this sect in England in the year 1747. Later they were joined by Ann Lee, of Manchester, who claimed to be Christ in His second reincarnation. She came to America in 1774.
They deny Christ in worship and substitute in His place "The Highest Good, wherever it may be found"; esteem virginity; confess sins to an elder of the same sex and before a witness; believe in a continuous revelation; practice communism, but exclude married people.
SWEDENBORGIANS: Disciples of Emmanuel Swedenborg, who was born at Stockholm, Jan. 29, 1688. Up to 1745 he was an engineer, skilled in mathematics and the physical sciences. Then he became a theological writer. He was endowed with extraordinary talents, and claimed to have received new revelations from God. He died in London, March 29, 1772.
The Swedenborgians hold that as the Christian religion succeeded the Jewish, so the Swedenborgian supplements the Christian; deny the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity; deny original sin; reject monasticism; deny the resurrection of the body; and claim the Last Judgment was held in 1757 in Swedenborg's presence; believe angels and devils to be former members of the human race.
MICHAELIANS: Organized by John M. Hahn, a Swabian Theosophist, who was born at Altdorf in 1758, had visions at 17, 20 and 22 years of age, and then began to proclaim his beliefs. He died in 1819.
He taught a double fall of man; that the work of Christ is not merely for, but within man; denied hell, and believed in the final salvation of all.
©1997-1998, Catholic Truth Publications
Last edited March 17, 1998