Confessing Church


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Confessing Church,

Ger. Bekennende Kirche, German Protestant movement. It was founded in 1933 by Martin NiemoellerNiemoeller or Niemöller, Martin
, 1892–1984, German Protestant churchman. He studied theology after distinguishing himself as a submarine commander in World War I.
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 as the Pastors' Emergency League and was systematically opposed to the Nazi-sponsored German Christian Church. The immediate occasion for the opposition was the attempt by the Nazis soon after their rise to power to purge the German Evangelical Church of converted Jews and to make the church subservient to the state. At the Synod of Barmen (May, 1934) the Confessing Church set up an administration and proclaimed itself the true Protestant Church in Germany. After the arrest of many of its ministers the church was forced underground. Eventually the more moderate Lutheran Council replaced it as the most effective opponent to the Nazi regime. After the war Niemoeller and his followers continued as a separate group within the German Evangelical Church. The group is governed by representatives from each territorial church (the Council of Brethren) and its doctrines are based on the Barmen declaration and the Reformation creeds.

Bibliography

See A. C. Cochrane, The Church's Confession under Hitler (1962).

References in periodicals archive ?
When Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and leader of the Confessing Church in Germany during the Nazi period, was led away to be executed he is reported to have said, "This is the end.
Of course during these years he fulfilled several distinct roles: academic theologian and teacher, leading protagonist for the Confessing Church, pastor, seminary director, and most dramatically and controversially, a willing participant in the German resistance and the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler.
Of course during these years he fulfilled several distinct roles: academic theologian and teacher, leading protagonist for the Confessing Church, pastor, seminary director and--most dramatically and controversially willing participant in the German resistance and the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler.
The 1934 Barmen Declaration had ecumenical implications: It was not only a statement of faith but also an invitation to be identified with the Confessing Church.
Stroud's compendium includes sermons from famous Confessing Church leaders, such as Bonhoeffer and Barth, as well as the works of otherwise ordinary pastors who ministered in an extraordinary time.
The poetic form of Niemoller's words may be more elegant than those words that he spoke to the so-called Confessing Church in Frankfurt in January 1946.
Critics in the Nazi Party were scornful, arguing that Christianity was so intrinsically Jewish that it should be discarded altogether, while Confessing Church opponents argued that the Institute's commitment to "German Christianity" was heterodox.
While clearly speaking as a confessing church, that is, from an explicitly Catholic perspective, the public arguments of the USCCB lay a stress on reason rather than on Scripture.
Throughout the Nazi period, the Anglican Church reassured itself, was indeed fixated upon the sufferings of German Christians and particularly the "martyrdom" of Martin Niemoller, leader of the German Confessing Church.
At the other extreme, one finds the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), a splinter group led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, and Helmut Thielicke that repudiated the mongrelized fusion of Nazism and Protestantism.
The question he and others in the Confessing Church movement tried to answer--how are we to live faithfully as Christians today?
to Nazism and to counteract the tendency of the confessing church to believe that it could have the gospel without progressive politics.