Friday, July 9, 2021

Barth on Barmen: Miracle and Enduring Significance

In the first article of the Barmen Declaration (1934), representatives of the Confessing Church in Germany publicly declared:

1. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (Jn 14.6) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber... I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved." (Jn 10.1, 9)

Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in holy scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death. 

We reject the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God's revelation.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Barmen Declaration (May 1934)

 The Barmen Declaration

An appeal to the Evangelical congregations and Christians in Germany

The Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church met in Barmen, May 29-31 1934. Here representatives from all the German confessional churches met with one accord in a confession of the one Lord of the one, holy, apostolic church.

In fidelity to their confession of faith, members of Lutheran, Reformed, and United churches sought a common message for the need and temptation of the church in our day. With gratitude to God they are convinced that they have been given a common word to utter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Barmen (1934): Religious and Political Context

May 1934: Protestant leaders from churches throughout Germany gathered in the northwest German city of Barmen. Their purpose was to publicly declare their shared loyalty to Jesus Christ as sole head of the Church and the Bible as their normative rule for that loyalty. They also gathered to reject together any powerful popular leader as a substitute for Jesus Christ and all ideologies as the normative rule for Church faith and practice.

In 1933, about 60% of Germans were Protestant, 40% were Roman Catholic, and less than 1% were Jewish.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

The Gradual Awakening of Martin Niemöller

 1. Unified Loyalties
Martin Niemöller was born on January 14, 1892 in municipality of Lippstadt, Province of Westphalia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire. His father was a Lutheran pastor. Martin was raised in the parsonage to be a good German, obedient to the Kaiser and loyal to the German nation; and a good Christian, obedient to Jesus and loyal to the Kingdom of God.

Martin would learn, in time, that being a good nationalist and a good Christian were not the same. There would be times when he would have to choose either one or the other. He would have to choose, like all of us, whether to be loyal either to national leader and nation or to Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.