Eduard Wüst (1818-1859), a Lutheran pietistic evangelist in Germany and Russia, was born at Murrhardt, Württemberg, Germany, 23 February 1818, the son of Johann J. Wüst, an innkeeper and baker. In 1832 he attended the Gymnasium of Stuttgart. From his early youth he was torn between study and prayer and wasting his time in bad company. In 1835 he entered the University of Tübingen. Because he could not give up associating with bad influences, his brother, a minister at Mergentheim, took him into his home after two and one-half years. A year later he returned to Tübingen to continue his studies. After this had been repeated a number of times he finally passed his theological examination in Tübingen and in the fall of 1841 became assistant pastor at Neuenkirchen. Now a complete change took place. He devoted his time to serious study and the preparation of sermons. In the fall of 1843 he became assistant in Murrhardt, where he began to associate with the Württemberg Pietists. A succession of religious experiences deepened his convictions. In 1844 he became assistant minister at Riedenau near Backnang. By now he had developed into a fiery preacher of repentance, opposing the amusements that had done so much harm to his own life. His pietistic zeal, in opposition to some of the practices in the church, made it impossible for him to continue his service. He was dismissed, and moved to his mother's home in Stuttgart. All attempts to have him reinstated failed. He now occasionally served pietistic circles in the vicinity, whereby he met Wilhelm Nast, a Methodist minister of Cincinnati, Ohio.
For a while Wüst worked among the Pietists of Württemberg who had separated from the state church. Some of them had moved to the Ukraine in 1816-1822, settling along the Berda River near the Sea of Azov and establishing the villages of Neuhoffnung, Neuhofmungstal, NeuStuttgart, and Rosenfeld. This migration to Russia was due partly to religious oppression and partly to their expectation that the second coming of the Lord was at hand, based on the teachings of Bengel and Oetinger. Neuhoffnung extended a call to Wüst in January 1845, which he accepted. From his first to his last sermon he preached repentance and caused a revival. Soon not only his congregation, but also the neighboring churches, including Mennonites, came to listen. He introduced rigid church discipline but maintained the confidence and loyalty of his church members. Wüst's direct influence on the Mennonites was exercised in two ways. One was through addresses given at the missionary meetings at Gnadenfeld in the Molotschna. He spoke by invitation at such a meeting in 1846. Another was through his devotional addresses and Bible expositions given at the Saturday evening meetings held by the Mennonites of Berdyansk in their homes. Two preachers in the Berdyansk Mennonite congregation, Jacob Buhler and Leonhard Sudermann, were close friends of Wüst's and greatly influenced by him. Unruh (p. 29) attributes to Wüst "a mighty stimulus to new life in Mennonite circles," but states also that "opposition to the new movement was caused by his activity."
The great revival, in which the free grace of God was emphasized, caused a group of brethren to express the newly found, emotionally experienced salvation in great joy similar to the manner of the later Pentecostal groups. Kappes became the leader of this wing, which separated from Wüst in the fall of 1858. Unfortunately Wüst died at this crucial moment, on 13 July 1859. This was also the time when some of the Mennonites under his influence were promoting views that were not accepted by the elders, and caused the founding of the Mennonite Brethren Church and the Templer Church. Wüst had a considerable influence in this matter, although he cannot be held responsible for all the positive and negative aspects that resulted from his work. He remained a friend of such Mennonite leaders as August Lenzmann and Cornelius Jansen. People who came in touch with Wüst either accepted his views or became his opponents. A more gentle spirit with the same positive influence might have prevented the splits that took place in the Mennonite brotherhood as a result of his preaching.
Eisenach, George. Pietism and the Russian Germans in the United States. Berne, 1948.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 168-86.
Kröker, A. Pfarrer Eduard Wüst, der grosse Erweckungsprediger in den deutschen Kolonien Sudrusslands. Hillsboro, KS.: Central Publishing Company, 1903.
Unruh, A. H. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brüdergemeinde. Winnipeg, MB.: General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1954: 28-32.
Wüst, Eduard. Antritts-Predigt des Eduard Hugo Otto Wüst. Moscow, 1850.
Wüst, Eduard. Die Herzen iiberwaltigende Liehe. Moscow, 1851.
Wüst, Eduard. Zehn Passions-Predigten. Reval: Lindfors Erben, 1853.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Wüst, Eduard (1818-1859)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Oct 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=W%C3%BCst,_Eduard_(1818-1859)&oldid=86280.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Wüst, Eduard (1818-1859). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 October 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=W%C3%BCst,_Eduard_(1818-1859)&oldid=86280.
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