DUNKERS (DUNSARDS, TUNKERS).
The Dunkers are a denomination of Christian Reformers which originated in Germany in 1708, and in 1719 and following years emigrated to America. The name is from the German tunlcen, "to dip," signifying their method of baptizing. Among themselves they are known as Brethren. The corporate and official name is German Baptist Brethren. Since 1882 there have been three branches: the Conservative bunkers, Progressive bunkers, and Old Order Brethren. For the Seventh-day Baptists, German, who were originally a secession from the bunkers, see Communism , II., b.I. History to the Separation of:88a and the Main Body or Conservative buskers since that Date: Prior to 1708 there was a religious awakening in Europe, many earnest and pious people be lieving that the Lutheran Reformation did not reproduce the ideal Christianity demanded by the New Testament Scriptures. This condition prompted Alexander Mack (b. in Schriesheim-in Baden, 6 m. n.n.w. of Heidelberg-Germany, 1879; d. at Germantown, Pa., Jan. 18, 1735) and several others of like convictions, residing at Sohwarzensu in Wittgenstein, Westphalia, to study the Scriptures independent of all creeds and to submit themselves wholly to the guidance of the Word. Mack was a Calvinist, and well-to-do miller at this time. Knowing of no religious body, accepting the teaching of the New Testament as it appealed to them, they agreed to enter upon a life of obedience to I' ~ the Word as they understood it, form Germany, a society of religious believers, and trust the Lord for future developments. They accepted the Bible as the inspired Word of God and agreed to recognize the New Testament as their guide, but to accept new light as it came to them. Desiring to enter the covenant relation with Christ, they recognized that they must be baptized as he directed. This they understood to be trine immersion for penitent believers only. There were eight of them with Mack as their leader.
The seven desired their leader to baptise them, but, as he believed he had never been baptized aright himself, he declined to baptize others. It was then decided that one, to be selected by lot, should baptize Mack, and he the rest of them, which was done in 1708 in the river Eder. The eight then organised themselves into a society, chose Mack for their preacher, and commenced active work. The services clustering around the Last Supper became their model for the love-feast, hence they observed the rite of foot-washing, followed by an evening meal, and that by the loaf and cup; greeted each other with the kiss of charity; anointed their sick with oil; refused to take oaths or engage in lawsuits; held to the doctrine of non-resistance; became earnest advocates of plain attire; and refrained from attending places of amusement. Because of their claims of conformity to New Testament ideals, their zeal, and their simplicity, many were drawn to their ranks, and in the course of a few yearn there were hundreds of members, a number of ministers, and several churches in Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, the congregation at Schwarzenau being much the strongest.
Though they were a peaceable and harmless people, persecutions soon arose and scattered and disheartened them, and they began emigrating to America, settling first at Germantown, Pa., where denominational headquarters were established. The first company, headed by Peter Becker, a minister of great piety, came over in 1719. A second and larger company, accompanied by Alexander Mack, landed at Philadelphia in 1729. In the course of a few years the entire membership found its way to the Western world, largely through the instrumentality of William Penn,8' 31ml- who offered the persecutzd of Europe aratioa cheap lands in Pennsylvania, with per to America. mission to worship God as their conscience dictated. The first congregation in America was organized at Germantown Dec. 25, 1723, with Peter Becker in charge. Several settlements had already been formed in the vicinity of Germantown and Philadelphia, and some meetings held. Mack visited these communities with a view of promoting harmony, encouraging the Brethren, and confirming them in their faith and practise. John Conrad Beieeel, a man of considerable ability and influence, holding mystical views, occasioned much trouble. He became convinced that the seventh day should be observed as the Christian Sabbath, that there should be community of goods, and that the celibate life was most pleasing to the Lord. He secured a considerable following and, notwithstanding Mack's earnest efforts to heal the breach, withdrew with his adherents and established the Ephrata Community (see Communism , II., b). Mack died in 1735 and was buried in the Germantown cemetery. The small communities grew into large congregations, and these gave rise to other settlements in Virginia, Maryland, and other parts of Pennsylvania. Christopher Sower (or Saur) established a large printing plant is Germantown, published a weekly paper, printed many books, and brought out the celebrated Sower Bible (see Sowes, Christopher); he oleo aided in establish-
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