A Church Divided: German Protestants Confront the Nazi Past by Matthew D. Hockenos

By Matthew D. Hockenos

This ebook heavily examines the turmoil within the German Protestant church buildings within the fast postwar years as they tried to return to phrases with the hot earlier. Reeling from the influence of battle, the church buildings addressed the implications of cooperation with the regime and the therapy of Jews. In Germany, the Protestant Church consisted of 28 self reliant nearby church buildings. in the course of the Nazi years, those church buildings shaped into a number of alliances. One crew, the German Christian Church, overtly aligned itself with the Nazis. the remaining have been carefully against the regime or attempted to stay noncommittal. the interior debates, despite the fact that, concerned each staff and headquartered on problems with trust that have been very important to all. very important theologians similar to Karl Barth have been instrumental in urgent those matters ahead. whereas now not an exhaustive examine of Protestantism throughout the Nazi years, A Church Divided breaks new flooring within the dialogue of accountability, guilt, and the Nazi previous.

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Several highly respected Lutheran theologians, including Paul Althaus, Werner Elert, Friedrich Gogarten, Emanuel Hirsch, and Hermann Sasse, to name a few, maintained a twofold revelation of God: in Jesus Christ, and in the divine orders (family, state, and Volk). They did not, of course, maintain that the two revelations were of equal importance to Christians. The revelation of God in Jesus Christ was always given priority. But the very fact that they took a second revelation in the divine orders with resolute seriousness meant that it was highly unlikely that they could support the Barmen declaration unconditionally.

But in contrast to the first few years of Nazi rule, after 1937 the regime sought total control over individuals and groups in the public sphere and hence also sought to quash even the smallest signs of public dissent. Thus, despite their professed allegiance to the fatherland, pastors from the Dahlem wing who strove to preach according to the dictates set down in the Barmen declaration—which clearly limited the role of the state—were considered enemies of the Reich. Niemöller was the quintessential example of a churchman who struggled simultaneously to remain true to his nationalist and to his religious convictions, and as a consequence, he spent eight years in concentration camps.

The Dahlemites, on the one hand, argued that the Dahlem resolutions were the logical outcome of the theological declaration made at Barmen. Barmen, they argued, laid out the Confessing Church’s theology, and Dahlem its praxis. The authors of the Barmen declaration asserted that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the one word that the church must hear and obey. The Dahlemites put this into practice by contending that the basis of the Reich church was something other than the gospel and that therefore it was their duty as true Christians to sever ties with the leadership of the Reich church and to erect new laws and bodies that corresponded with the gospel.

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