It was his hope that the CI would become the South African equivalent of the Confessing Church
in Nazi Germany, but this was not feasible.
And in the twentieth century, Protestantism animated a series of radical, antifascist, antiracist, and anti-imperial movements: from the May First movement in post-World War I Korea, through the 1934 Barmen Declaration of the Confessing Church
during the Third Reich, to the Reverend Dr.
However, in the section on Neo-orthodoxy Early identifies Barth's turn from liberal theology, along with his involvement in the Confessing Church
and his role in the drafting of the Barmen Declaration, but he neglects to note that Barth turned from liberal theology in large part because of his disenchantment with the professors he had studied under in Berlin, such as Adolph von Harnack, and their wholehearted support of the German war cause during World War I.
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.
In 1935, as the Nazis tightened their grip on Germany, Martin Niemoller asked Bonhoefferto take a small group of theological students and form an underground seminary for the Confessing Church
. By its very nature, the enterprise was illegal, as nothing but the state-controlled Reich Church was permitted to train ordinands.
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.
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
. The last section, "The Dynamic Continued," looks to the future, one not dominated by ecclesial structures but with less-clericalized communities such as Taize, the Bruderhof, Focolare, Iona, and Corrymeela.
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.
His most basic argument is that the churches--Protestant and Catholic--even the much-celebrated Confessing Church
, were complicit in the rise of the Nazis to power in the rapid erosion of democratic norms and in the unrelenting unhindered progress of German policy toward the Jews that resulted in the death camps.
After the war, however, the institute's members had few problems surviving de-Nazification, either because of the help they received from pastors who had belonged to their bitterest opponents, the Confessing Church
, who for a variety of motives went to bat for them, or because of their ability to use the spurious distinction between theological anti-Judaism and racial anti-Semitism to distance themselves from Nazism.
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.