|Church||Schwarzenau Brethren (German Baptist)|
|Born||27 July 1679
Schriesheim, Palatinate, Germany
|Died||19 January 1735
Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Buried||Upper Burying Ground, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Denomination||Protestant Christian, Pietist Anabaptist|
|Residence||Schriesheim, Palatinate; East Friesland; and Schwarzenau, Bad Berleburg, Germany and Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Parents||Johann Phillip Mack (father) and Christina Fillbrun Mack (mother)|
|Spouse||Anna Margarethe Kling|
|Children||Johann Valentine, Johannes, and Alexander Mack, Jr. (sons) and Christina and unnamed infant (daughters)|
|Occupation||Composer, elder and minister, philanthropist, theologian|
|Part of a series on the|
(the German Baptists or Dunkers)
|Christianity · Protestantism · Anabaptism · Radical Pietism · Radical Reformation|
|Non-creedalism · Trine baptism · Love feast · Feet washing · Holy kiss · Free church · Anointing with oil · Non-resistance · Pacifism · The Brethren Card|
|Alexander Mack · Louis Bauman · Conrad Beissel · Donald F. Durnbaugh · Vernard Eller · Christoph Sauer · John C. Whitcomb|
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Alexander Mack (c. 27 July 1679[a] – 19 January 1735) was the leader and first minister of the Schwarzenau Brethren (or German Baptists) in the Schwarzenau, Wittgenstein community of modern-day Bad Berleburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Mack founded the Brethren along with seven other Radical Pietists in Schwarzenau in 1708. Mack and the rest of the early Brethren emigrated to the United States in the mid-18th century, where he continued to minister to the Brethren community until his death.
Early life and founding of the Brethren
Mack was born in Schriesheim, Palatinate in contemporary Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where he worked as a miller. He was born the third son to miller Johann Phillip Mack and his wife Christina Fillbrun Mack and baptized into the local Reformed church on 27 July 1679. The Macks remained in Schriesheim throughout the Nine Years' War, intermittently seeking refuge in the hill country due to violence. Upon finishing his studies, Mack took over the family mill and married socialite Anna Margarethe Kling on 18 January 1701. By 1705, the Macks became moved by the Pietist movement locally led by Ernst Christoph Hochmann von Hochnau and started to host an illegal Bible study and prayer group at their home.
In the early 1700s, Graf (Count) Henrich Albrecht Sayn-Wittgenstein provided refuge to religious dissenters from other German states and elsewhere. Many were settled around the small village of Schwarzenau, including Mack and his followers. The era of toleration for radical Pietism lasted only until ~1740, but had few precedents at the time and was denounced by the rulers of most other German states. Schwarzenau is now part of the town of Bad Berleburg in the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein in the state of Nord Rhein Westfalen. The school (now closed) in Schwarzenau was named in honor of Alexander Mack.
The initial group that became known as the Schwarzenau Brethren were inaugurated by Mack as a Bible study with four other men and three women. In 1708—having become convinced of the necessity of Believer's baptism—the group decided to baptize themselves, using a lottery system to choose who would baptize one another in the Eder.
Emigration to the United States
Mack and several other Brethren emigrated to East Friesland due to pressure within the interfaith community in Schwarzenau in 1720. They stayed until 1729, when the impoverished community found it impossible to sustain itself. In 1719, a different Brethren group led by Peter Becker had already emigrated to Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States for religious freedom. Mack and his followers sailed for Germantown to establish a community in the New World.
Teachings and writings
Prior to the formation of any strict doctrine, the Schwarzenau Brethren espoused several fundamental tenets that would define the Brethren movement, including a rejection of any coercion in religion (such as infant baptism), viewing Christian rites and ordinances as a means of grace, and the New Testament as the only creed and Rule of Faith. Mack was a Universalist and strict pacifist.
- ^ Some sources (e.g. Schulz) cite this as Mack's birthday, others (e.g. Eberly) refer to this as his date of baptism.
- Grebe, Ursula (1965) "Warum Alexander-Mack-Schule?" in Wittgenstein Volume II. Pages 36–41. Fritz Krämer (editor). Balve, Germany.
- Lückel, Ulf (2009) "Die Anfänge des radikalen Pietismus in Wittgenstein" in Von Wittgenstein in die Welt: Radikale Frömmigkeit und religiöse Toleranz. Pages 41–68. Johannes Burkardt and Bernd Hey (editors). Bielefeld, Germany. ISBN 978-3-7858-0452-0.
- Mack, Alexander (1991) [1708–1720], William R. Eberly, ed., The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack (HARDBACK) (in English and [translated from the German]) (1st ed.), Winona Lake, Indiana, United States: BMH Books, ISBN 0-936693-12-6
- "The Life of Alexander Mack" by William G. Willoughby, from The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack, pp. 1–6
- Schulz, Lawrence W. (1954), Schwarzenau Yesterday and Today (HARDBACK) (1st ed.), Winona Lake, Indiana, United States: Light and Life Press
- Stoffer, Dale R. (1989), William R. Eberly, ed., Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650–1987 (HARDBACK), Brethren Encyclopedia Monograph Series 2 (1st ed.), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., ISBN 0-936693-22-3
- Willoughby, p. 1
- Schulz, p. 21
- Schulz, p. 31
- Counting the Cost: The Life of Alexander Mack, 1679–1735, William G. Willougby (1979), Brethren Press ISBN 087178159X