Sunday, 4 January 2015

Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen

49. day of birth of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) :...
49. day of birth of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) :*Graphics by R. Klein :*Ausgabepreis: 12+38 Pfennig :*First Day of Issue / Erstausgabetag: 13. April 1938 :*Michel-Katalog-Nr: 664 (Deutsches Reich) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen - January 4, 1934
Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany was one of the most heinous in all history. However, when it first came to power, it was welcomed by many German church members. One church leader even said that Hitler's rise was a gift of mercy from God's hand. We can understand his thinking only if we remember that it was still early in Hitler's rule and that many Germans were afraid the Communists would take over their country if not opposed by the Nazis. 
The so-called "German Christians" elected Ludwig Müller, a fervent Nazi, to head it. In July, he placed two restrictions on the clergy. A clergyman (1) must be politically reliable and (2) must accept the superiority of the Aryan race. Hundreds of clergy accepted these demands. A small group of church leaders did not. They openly opposed those German Christians who did accept the government's terms. The dissidents insisted that the church must obey Christ apart from political influence. In September, 1933, Martin Niemoeller sent a letter to all German pastors, inviting them to join a Pastor's Emergency League to oppose the unified church. Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were among those who joined him. In October, Niemoeller asked pastors to bind themselves by the scripture and the old confessions of faith. They pledged themselves to protest certain violations of the faith, to stand with the persecuted, and to acknowledge that Aryanism (with its claim of racial superiority) was a violation of Reformation and Christian teaching.

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