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Barmen Theses.

In harmony with the basic principle of the National* Socialism, as attempt was made by the Deutsche Christen to make the people's state central in religion. The 1st Deutsche Christen movement, a Kirchenbewegung (“ch. movement”) also called Thüringen Deutsche Christen, began 1927; the 2d, a Glaubensbewegung (“faith movement”), began 1932; for a time they were assoc. but separate again November 1933. They held that the Deutsche* Ev. Kirche should endorse the “social miracle” of the Volkswerden achieved through the nat. socialist revolution. They tried to express a new “Christ striving” in a “united people's community.” The basic principle of the movement, “die Vokskirche bekennt sich zu Blut und Rasse,” was stated in the 1st of the Twenty-Eight Theses of the Braune Synode, held in Saxony (prepared by Walter Grundmann-Dressden and others, 1933).

Various opposition fronts developed (e.g. the Pfarrernotbund of M. Niemöller*). The most important were the opposition Bekenntnissynoden. On January 3–4, 1934, 320 pastors gathered in the Ref. ch. in Barmen-Gemarke (Mittel-Barmen; Central, or Middle Barmen; originally an area discrete from Ober-Barmen [Upper Barmen] and Unter-Barmen [Lower Barmen]). There K. Barth's* Bekenntnis der freien Kirchensynode was accepted as an answer to the Twenty-Eight Theses. In 5 parts (I. The Church in the Present Time; II. The Church under the Word of God; III. The Church in the World; IV. The Message of the Church; V. The Power of the Church) this confession fought against the aggrandizement of humanity in the ch. and stressed the need of submission to, and dependence on, God. Similar synods were held in various places in Ger.; Barth became a prominent leader among Ger. opponents of the Deutsche Christen until stopped by Hitler. EL

See also Confessing Church; Germany, C 4; Immer, Karl; Kirchenkampf.

K. D. Schmidt, Die Bekenntnisse und grundsätzlichen Aeusserungen zur Kirchenfrage des Jahres 1933 (Vol. I). Vol. II: Das Jahr 1934. Vol. III: Das Jahr 1935 (Göttingen, 1934–36); S. Herman, It's Your Souls We Want (New York, 1943); G. Niemöller, Die erste Bekenntnissynode der Deutschen Evangelischen Kirche zu Barmen, in Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Kirchenkampfes, ed. K. D. Schmidt, Vols. 5–6 (Göttingen, 1959).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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