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.


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

References in periodicals archive ?
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.
He compared the contemporary witness of these organizations to those of the Barmen synod, the German confessing church and the authors of the Belhar Confession in apartheid-era South Africa.
Referring to the theologian of the German Confessing Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sam Kobia underlined: as long as the churches do not know about their place in society, they will not be able to preach the gospel.

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