1884-1909: Baptist churches in the German Empire (episode 3/12). Next episode in mid-June.

15/05/2009 17:33

 The constitution of 1871 had not brought the Baptist churches uniform status (Religious Affairs countries remained thing), but the scope for the municipalities and the federal facilities expanded noticeably. It was visible to the outside. Thanks to the sacrifices of the communities began representative chapels. In Gelsenkirchen, a community worker with many Polish members and bilingual community life, contributed to even a high steeple. As 1880, the Federal Work Seminary was founded in Hamburg in 1888, it moved with the support of the American Baptists, John D. Rockefeller, the building in Hamburg-Horn.

Many seminary teacher in the first decades were influenced by their studies or stays abroad by the American Baptists. At the community level, the American influence in the songs of the revival movement was present, which was translated and eagerly enjoyed great popularity. "Typically German" were against the deaconess homes that were inspired by the Protestant and mother now houses founded by Baptists (1887 Bethel-Berlin, 1899 Tabea-Altona, 1907 Siloam-Hamburg). Decisive impetus for diaconal commitment of the German Baptists were by the Berlin preacher Edward Scheve from (1836-1909). Scheve prevailed and that the German Baptists 1886, a missionary in Cameroon took over (in 1884 German colony). The African people formed initially from Scheve personally by recorded gifted chieftain sons in his home. "Our black brothers already consider us as belonging to German Baptists, and so they do right" (Scheve 1890).

If one wants to characterize the social role of the German Baptist, then a comparative look to the UK is helpful. There the Freikirchentum experienced in the second half of the 19th Century heyday one. Due to their long conflict with the state church had the "nonconformists" (Baptists, Quakers, Methodists), a deep-rooted sense of freedom, which was combined with a quest for practical sanctification. Both drew circles, who sought political emancipation, social advancement and moral orientation. The "non-conformists" were at the head of the great social reform movements. As progressive and disproportionately influential minority which included Free Kirchler to core voters of the left "Liberal Party", for the way the Baptist Charles H. Spurgeon, the famous preacher of his time, operating openly campaigning. After 1880 began the free church camp in the dispute about the inspiration of the Bible and the teaching of evolution to split and lost, internally divided, within the following decades his role as the "conscience" of British society gradually.

Compared to their Anglo-Saxon fellow believers defeated the contemporary German Baptists in socially rather quiet sounds. They did not want to be perceived as confident nonconformists, but as exemplary subjects - behind liked the fear after renewed repression stand. Upon major societal issues, for example the demands for improving the situation of industrial workers and after the introduction of women's suffrage, were occupied by Germany in the predominantly unchurched social democracy. Like the revivalist circles of the Evangelical Alliance, the German Baptists saw the social reform movements are not allies but rivals, sometimes even a threat to the divinely ordained order. And including one understood especially the monarchy with a pious emperor as principal. Sun thanked the National Conference in 1888 the new Kaiser Wilhelm II with genuine enthusiasm that he is the "sublime, sanctioned by God's word the principles" of the "illustrious dynasty of Hohenzollern" known. Criticism of the state church bigoted the Wilhelmine period, the final act of that centuries of "marriage of throne and altar," was the most German Baptists away. Their "pious" emperor they remained faithful even then, when he was about to tear the country into World War II.

Martin Rothkegel (ThS Elstal / municipality Berlin-Wedding)