September 27, 1817, Frederick* William III announced the union of the Luths. and Ref. into 1 ev. Christian cong. at the court and among the military in Potsdam in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Reformation and appealed for voluntary union of Luths. and Ref. in all of Prussia and elsewhere. Several smaller Ger. states followed suit. But Luths., led by C. Harms,* objected. In the resulting controversy the issues were muddied and compulsory measures adopted: in 1821 candidates were required at their examination to pledge loyalty to the union; the Kirchenagende für die Hofund Domkirche in Berlin (drawn up 1821, pub. 1822 on personal initiative of the king) gave rise to the Agenda* Controversy (F. D. E. Schleiermacher* was among those who challenged the right of the king to act with authority in the area of liturgics); in 1823 ministers were pledged to the confessional writings of the united ev. ch. insofar as these confessions were in harmony; in 1830 it was decreed that Evangelical be substituted for the distinctive names Luth. and Ref.; in 1832 the union was enforced in the army and the Bonn faculty; the new agenda was prescribed 1834.
Reaction against the union had found practical expression beginning 1830 in formation of the Ev. Luth (Old Luth.) Ch. (see Germany, Lutheran Free Churches in, 1), which led to an 1834 cabinet order recognizing both Luth. and Ref. confessions and to Frederick* William IV's Generalkonzession 1845; an 1852 cabinet order said the union was not doctrinal but administrative. But enactments 1853 and later reenforced the Prussian Union so as to make it practically also doctrinal.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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