The following resources will hopefully give you a more detailed understanding of Church of the Brethren history, customs, traditions, lifestyles, hopes, and dreams. Older listings may currently be out of print, but thankfully, a few are in second and third reprinting. This is only a categorical sampling of the numerous publications and online opportunities that exist. Several genealogical works have advertisements in our Book Store. You may also wish to check our Genealogy Library section to inquire about inter-library loan possibilities. If you know of additional Brethren, Pietist, or Anabaptist related productions that should be included, please send the necessary information to Bibliography Submissions. Your comments or suggestions about the correctness of each entry are most welcome.
Pennsylvania Southern District Resource Boxes
This topically compiled material was originally designed to augment the Christian Educational resources of the Pennsylvania Southern District and each box is maintained by one of the District Commissions. They filled large plastic boxes with books, pamphlets, brochures, charts, videos, CD's, and similar literature for easier transportation. We list here the contents of each box so that you may also benefit from their efforts.
Membership in COB,
New Church Development,
- 19TH CENTURY ACCULTURATION OF THE BRETHREN
COB-NET resource exploring the numerous influences that precipitated the transformation of the Church of the Brethren from their mainly isolated German sub-culture, to a people explosed to the social influences of the American industrial revolution. This acculturation resulted in some Brethren becoming more progressive than others, eventually causing a three-way schism.
- ALEXANDER MACK, HONORS TO
William G. Willoughby, author of "Counting the Cost" structures an intimate view of the Schwarzenau Brethren founder especially for the Church of the Brethren Network. In this special treatment of Mack, Willoughby places the modern reader in center focus, so that "Honors" will have universal appeal beyond the Brethren denominations. Listed are several of Mack's beliefs and practices that are correlated with other Pietists of his day. Includes short biography of the author.
- ANABAPTIST CURRENTS: HISTORY IN CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESENT
Carl Bowman & Stephen Longenecker, Forum for Religious Studies, 1995. A collection of 22 Brethren and Mennonite scholars writing on many topics, such as worship, communion, symbolism, and nonconformity. Genealogists will appreciate the numerous Mennonite surnames. Contains 319 pages.
- ANABAPTISM IN 16TH CENTURY EUROPE
- COB-NET resource on the ecclesiastical/political conditions preceding the rise of Anabaptism. Includes history of the original personages, their activities, new theological interpretations that were spawned by this movement, and how some denominations have been influenced by Anabaptism.
- ANABAPTIST LETTERS FROM 1635 TO 1645
- Translation From the Ausbund by John Kauffman, written by Martha Coffman, 1994. Anabaptist letters written by suffering believers from Switzerland to their friends in Holland. Contains 29 pages.
- ANABAPTIST STORY, THE
- This material is the first chapter of the seminary text A Believers' Church Theology: The Systematic Theology Lecture Notes of Stanley A. Nelson, Revised Ed. (Taejon City: Widow's Mite, 1994). The full text comprises 24 + 314 pages comprising an introduction and four chapters, a general index, and a Scripture index.
- ANABAPTISTS: SEPARATE BY CHOICE, MARGINAL BY FORCE
- The Anabaptists of central Europe evolved in a time of social and religious chaos, developed unique ideas concerning the church and state, and retained a wildly radical view of society. They maintained this posture not only through serious persecutions at their beginnings, but retain many of these differences up through the present day.
- ANABAPTISTS, THE CHARACTER OF
- It is amazing how many names were applied, in the period of the Reformation, to the Baptists. They called each other brethren and sisters, and spoke of each other in the simplest language of affection. Their enemies called them Anabaptists because they repeated baptism when converts came from other parties.
- BELIEFS OF THE EARLY BRETHREN 1706-1735
- While most historical studies of the Brethren make some reference to the beliefs of the adherents of this movement, this is the first study devoted exclusively to an analysis of the beliefs of the founding members in the period roughly from 1706-1735. The author shows how the Brethren reflected not only the major Protestant beliefs, but some of the specific emphases of the Pietists, the Separatists, and the Anabaptists. Another significant contribution is Willoughby's evaluation of these early Brethren beliefs (which evolved in a significantly different age and culture from ours). He identifies several areas in the early Brethren belief system that might be challenged on a contemporary perspective. He also considers several unique Brethren ideas as "beliefs of enduring value." The book is essential reading for Brethren leaders today. Volume 6 of the Monograph Series. For More Information, contact Ronald G. Lutz
- BIBLICAL AUTHORITY
- David L. Miller, pastor of the Mohrsville Church of the Brethren reexamines this socially hot topic through a careful selection of Old and New Testament scriptures offering biblical assumptions concerning authority. Strait forward commentary guides the reader toward a better understanding of this issue, and how it affects individual Christians and their relationship to the Church.
- BRETHREN ENCYCLOPEDIA, THE
- 2,126 pages, Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., 1983-1984, with indexed. A three-volume encyclopedia of Brethren life, belief, practice, and history. This comprehensive work of reference with more than 230 articles on family history, exhaustive compilation of German pietism and anabaptism which has resulted in the growth of the Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, and Mennonites. There are listings, indexes, biographies, illustrations, and even brief histories of local churches. It contains the most up-to-date information ever assembled on all Brethren groups, with many illustrations never before published.
- BRETHREN BEGINNINGS
- Donald Durnbaugh, Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., 1992. This volume was first written in 1960 for a dissertation and studies the origin of the Church of the Brethren that dates to the early 1700s in Europe. Contains 99 pages with index.
- BRETHREN GENEALOGY
- The most frequently visited online resource for genealogical information about the Brethren. It is divided into six different sections: Brethren Church Records, Brethren Affiliated Libraries, Photographs, Miscellaneous Lists, and additional Web Sites. Highlighed on the home document are the principal avenues that Brethren use to gain information about their ancestors: Brethren List Server, Brethren Denominational Groups, Brethren Encyclopedia, Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists, Brethren Historical Library & Archives, and the Brethren Life Series.
- BRETHREN GROUPS
- Outline form detailing the numerous denominations that contain the word Brethren in their denominational label. Most of which originated from either the Anabaptist or Pietist movements of 16th century Europe. There are so many Christian groups using the term Brethren, that questions frequently arise concerning their relationship with each other. Five main groups have now diverged from the original Schwarzenau Brethren: Church of the Brethren, The Brethren Church, Fellowship of Grace Brethren, Old German Baptist Brethren, and Dunkard Brethren. Additionally there are:
Moravian Brethren -
United Brethren -
Evangelical United Brethren -
Hutterite Brethren -
River Brethren -
Yorker Brethren -
Brethren in Christ -
Mennonite Brethren -
Plymouth Brethren -
with many other sub-groups within each larger body. When possible, links are included to other web sites that offer additional material to hopefully increase the understanding of a specific group. Reasonable consideration should therefore be exercised that opinions expressed are solely the responsibility of the editors of that web site, and may not, in some cases, represent an official position of the governing denominational body.
- BRETHREN IN AMERICA, THE MIGRATION & EXPANSION OF
- COB-NET historical resource of the immigration of the Church of the Brethren from their European origin to Pennsylvania, where they socially established themselves as a German sub-culture, and records their congregational expansion into other states. Included is a description of their social hardships and inner struggles in the New World, and their doctrinal conflict, as pacifists, with the Revolutionary War.
- BRETHREN IN COLONIAL AMERICA, THE
- Donald Durnbaugh, Brethren Press, 1967. This volume covers the Brethren story, internal strife and schism, and their beliefs during the colonial period until the end of the Revolutionary War.
- BRETHREN IN THE NEW NATION
- Roger Sappington, Brethren Press, 1976. This book is the classic resource in Brethren history of that period when the church moved west between 1785 and 1865.
- BRETHREN LIFE
- Merle Rummel, COB-NET. Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and experience life in a typical Brethren farming community? When life was at a much slower pace, without the vibration of noisy over crowded highways, and the word filth referred to something in a barnyard. Here is at least one opportunity to discover what simple family life was like during the 1840-1850's, in and around the small farming community of Boston, Indiana.
- BRETHREN NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY
- “This commentary is part of a new series of studies that will feature a number of volumes covering all of the New Testament books. There will be reliable expositions of the Bible text, a careful analysis of key words, easy outlines to follow, and helpful material to aid serious Bible students. The explanations are written from a conservative evangelical Brethren and Anabaptist point of view. The goal is to expound the Bible text accurately, and to produce a readable explanation of God's truth.”
- BRETHREN SOCIETY
- Carl Bowman, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995. Reflects the culture of the Brethren in past years, and explores the progressive transformation of the Church of the Brethren, and endeavors to answer why the COB changed it's identity much faster then other Anabaptist or similar groups, such as the Mennonites, Quakers, and Amish. Contains 491 pages, pictures, illustrations, charts, extensive footnotes, and nice index.
- CHARISMA AND HISTORY: THE CASE OF MÜNSTER, WESTPHALIA, 1534-1535
- The violent attempt by the Melchiorite Anabaptists in 1534/35 to establish the "New Jerusalem" in the city of Münster represents one of the most bizarre events of the Reformation. The whole crisis is often construed as an extreme outworking of some latent tendencies within Reformation thought. Luther's widespread influence had greatly diminished the role of the priest as a mediator between the layman and God, thereby increasing the importance of the Bible and personal conscience in directing the layman's spiritual journey. The outcome of this change was that many laymen gave birth to radical interpretations of scripture -- interpretations which often carried dangerous political implications.
- CHRISTOPHER SAUERS, THE
- Stephen Longenecker, Brethren Press, 1981. A popular written account of an influential father and son whose printing business and religious faith had a profound impact upon the social and political life of 18th-century America.
- COMMUNION - See also The Love Feast by Frank Ramirez
- CONCISE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMISH, BRETHREN, HUTTERITES, AND MENNONITES
- Donald B. Kraybill, 2010. There are 340 entries about these various groups that explain customs, theology, social practices, and related issues. It also contains a topical finder, index of names, and provision for cross-referencing.
- EPHRATA CLOISTER
- COB-NET resource portraying the life of the mystic Conrad Beissel from his birth in Europe to his arrival in central Pennsylvania, with a chronicle of his visionary social experiment involving communal living, following his break with the German Baptist Brethren (Church of the Brethren). His charismatic success in drawing members from established congregations, often resulted in conflict, especially his relationship with the Brethren, whose congregations he persistantly raided for converts.
- EUROPEAN ORIGIN ~ CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
- COB-NET resource detailing the historical and theological European setting, prior to the founding of the Schwarzenau Brethren in 1708. Explores the many contributing influences that helped to shape their beginnings and mold their doctrines, such as the Reformation, subsequent founding of Anabaptism, rise of Pietism, and their frequent struggles to avoid persecution from the big three state religions. Chronicles their early congregational history in different regions of Germany, and their emigration to America where they experienced their dream of self-determination.
- EUROPEAN ORIGINS OF THE BRETHREN
- "A Source Book on the Beginnings of the Church of the Brethren in the Early Eighteenth Century" - Donald Durnbaugh, Brethren Press, Elgin, Illinois, 1958. A very scrupulous investigation and documentation of Brethren activity in Europe. Contains 463 pages, complete with many illustrations, reproductions, letters, plus an extensive index.
- FRUIT OF THE VINE: A HISTORY OF THE BRETHREN, 1708-1995
- Donald Durnbaugh, Brethren Press, 1997. Fresh look at Church of the Brethren history with special emphasis on interpretation. Whereas other historians have painted either a wider brush on Brethren history which could easily apply to other denominations, or a more narrow brush through individual themes; Durnbaugh has re-examined our heritage, only as it applies to the Church of the Brethren. Analysis of diverse subjects is admirable, with in depth treatment of each topic. Contains 665 pages, numerous photographs, index, epilogue, and copious endnotes.
- GENEALOGY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF CHRISTOPHER SAUER OF GERMANTOWN, PHILADELPHIA
- Care Sower, Potts & Co., 1887. [ need description ]
- HERITAGE AND PROMISE
- Emmert Bittinger, Brethren Press, 1970. Impressive presentation of commentary about Brethren heritage through a generous examination of our beliefs, practices, and history. Leaping beyond the usual transmission of history, this work pleasingly attempts to explain why Brethren believe as they do. Major themes are: "Family Life Patterns, Life Styles, Developing Character, Foreign Missions, Numerical Growth, Spiritual & Intellectual Needs, and Identity Crisis." Contains 158 pages, some illustrations, modest index.
- HISTORY OF THE GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN
- Martin G. Brumbaugh, Brethren Publishing House, 1899 and reprinted in 1961. Well researched history of the Brethren from Schwarzenau to the Westward Movement in America. Contains list of Sauer publications, illustrations, baptism & marriage lists. Contains 550 pages, no index.
- HOCHMANN VON HOCHENAU
- Heinz Renkewitz, (Translated by William G. Willoughby), Philadelphia, PA: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1993, $35.00. This is the definitive biography of Alexander Mack’s mentor, and according to Renkewitz “the spiritual father” of the Brethren movement.
- LITERARY ACTIVITY OF THE GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN IN THE EIGHTEENTH
- John Flory, Brethren Publish House, 1908. A professor of English and Literature at Bridgewater College, Flory skillfully explains the emphasis of many Brethren writers and their compositions. Contains 335 pages, brief index, no table of contents or illustrations.
- LOVE FEAST, THE
- Frank Ramirez, Brethren Press, 2000. A treasure of Brethren history and photographs depicting the observance of the Eucharist or Communion. Included are testimonial stories about Love Feast experiences with interpretation and many rich illustrations of utensils that were used during the service. Contains 164 pages, small bibliography, no index.
- MARTYRS MIRROR
- Thieleman J. van Braght, Herald Press, 1938. A well-documented record of Christian persecution from the first century until the rise of Anabaptism in the Sixteenth Century. A compelling account of men and women who gave their lives for what they believed. Contains 1,157 pages.
- MENNO SIMON, COMPLETE WORKS OF
- Translated by John Funk and originally published in 1871, with a Pathway Pub. 1983 reprint. Menno Simon, founder of the Mennonite movement, was a Dutch Catholic priest who broke with Rome and embraced anabaptist teachings, especially after one Sicke Freerks was executed at Leeuwarden in 1531, and particularly following the death of his anabaptist brother. Contains 740 pages.
- NEW TESTAMENT BELIEFS AND PRACTICES: A BRETHREN UNDERSTANDING
- Harold S. Martin, co-published by Brethren Press and the Brethren Revival Fellowship, 1989. Explores the beliefs and practices of groups whose Christian roots extend beyond the Reformation to the early Anabaptist and Pietist movements. A nice tool for questioning the biblical validity of ideas and measure the progress of discipleship. Contains 123 pages.
- OLD BRETHREN, THE
- James Lehman, Brethren Press, 1976. Interesting treatment of Brethren history in text-book fashion, but yet easily understandable. Contains 384 pages, wood block illustrations, and index.
- PIETISM IN 17TH CENTURY GERMANY
- COB-NET resource which is an extraction of the section on Pietism from the much larger European Origin of the Church of the Brethren. Designed with a minimum of graphical downloading, this resource should enable researchers to more quickly investigate the origin, history, personages, and legacy of Pietism.
- SIMONS, MENNO: BEGINNINGS OF DUTCH ANABAPTISM
- Abraham Friesen. Detailed examination of the beginnings and migration of Anabaptism in Switzerland, and how it became a religious theme in Holland after being espoused by the Dutch Catholic priest Menno Simons. Especially highlights the numerous historical events that influenced Simons and helped to mold his faith.
- SPENER'S (PHILIP JACOB): RADICAL PIETISM
- In 1666 a young pastor was called to become the head Lutheran pastor in Frankfurt am Main. He was well educated, holding the Doctor of Theology from the University of Strassbourg, and he had some strong notions that would soon galvanize Europe into another surge of reforming zeal--eventually reaching millions in every corner of the globe. Contents: the Pietist Revolt, Gottfried Arnold, Ernst Christoph Hochmann, Alexander Mack, and Historical Legacy.
- STORIES FROM BRETHREN LIFE
- J.E. Miller, Brethren Publishing House, 1942. Enjoyable reading of 137 stories on themes such as Early Leaders, The Dunker Way, Preachers & Sermons, Sisters Too, Following the Prince of Peace, Deacons in Action, Tabacco, Handicaps, and more. Contains 224 pages, Table of Content, no illustrations or index.
- STUDIES IN BRETHREN HISTORY
- Floyd Mallot, Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, 1954. A concise history of the COB from its beginnings in Germany to its rebirth in America with Brethren affiliated colleges. Contains charts, maps, illustrations, photocopies, and a rich appendix.
- LEST WE FORGET AND TALES OF YESTER YEARS
- Rolland Flory, Golden Rule Press, Orlando, 1973. Nice preservation of stories concerning our Brethren heritage. Memories grow dim after only a few generations and Flory has pleasingly collected many: "Perilous Journey, Open Letters, Doctrines, Buddies in War and Peace, Dunker Boy, Stowaway, Bark Cradle, and the Layman Pioneer." Contains 229 pages, no illustrations or index.