1914-1933: The Baptist milieu of 1 World War, the Weimar Republic (4/12) Next episode in mid-July.

23/06/2009 06:58


"I know no parties, know only German!" With these words inspired Wilhelm II in August 1914, even many of the other opposition Workers for his war. Religious minorities such as Jews and Free Churches in the war saw a great opportunity to prove himself as a German among Germans and the stigma of being different whitewash. Many Baptists understood the war as an opportunity for mission and also coated with special treatises in the field. But instead of awakening to 1918 was followed by a series abject carnage. On the battlefields of Europe was under the old forever. The religious legitimacy systems Old Europe - the Habsburgs Catholicism, Protestantism Prussia and Russia Orthodoxy - went forth from the war morally discredited and lost with the collapse of the monarchies of their traditional functions.

In Germany 1919 began a battle for the public character of the large churches, they sought to ensure through their insistence on state canonical privileges. The new democratic government were most likely to have the Catholics towards constructive. They had learned in their long struggle with the Prussian-Protestant hegemony to appreciate the possibilities of parliamentary representation and possessed with a strong center People's Party. Many Protestants, on the other hand took the republic as an imposition and a true state without divine legitimacy. Tentative attempts to liberal and left-wing politicians who dismiss regional churches into a quasi-free-church autonomy from the state, the conservative-erweckliche camp responded with a smear campaign. The suggestively worded warnings against the "godless" politicians failed even with the Free Churches had their effect. Paradoxically, therefore, were politicians who called for a religiously neutral state, with many Baptists ineligible. The horror of the anti-Church terror in the Soviet Union fostered - although shared some concerns of social democracy - a blanket distrust of the Left. Political commentary in Baptist newspapers of the Weimar Republic reveal a longing for a God-sent leader. The reservations about democracy drove the Baptists, not in droves into the arms of Germany by drumming and stomping Nazis - party admissions of Baptists were rare - but seduced many to hopeful expectations when Hitler came to power.

While the opportunities offered by democracy, were not fully recognized by the Baptists, one saw the widely perceived religious uprooting after 1918 - once again - as a missionary task. The frequent community and found some cars evangelistic appeal. Really on the pulse of the communities were not yet. The "ideological" and cultural reform discourse of the Weimar period, the communities moved well, but ultimately found little resonance. As a member of the congregation was one fully loaded and was usually also one or several Baptist associations, because the communities offered no "Program", but other than the two to three weeks from the preacher conducted meetings all groups and activities were as associations with elected leaders organized. Who could abbonierte any one or more Baptist magazines - and therefore hardly moved other press products. New members have been integrated into a consolidated by kinship, values ​​and ways of life confessional milieu offered the identity and security, but not attractive to everyone was.

Transfers from the educated middle class remained isolated. On the other hand the social advancement of the communities became apparent. Carefully led the federal statistics on the gradually increasing number of students and academics. Who studied at a university as a Baptist heard, often in addition to his professional and theological lectures, in order to prepare for their work in the community. Conservative erweckliche University theologians such as Adolf Schlatter and Karl Heim enjoyed high prestige among the Baptists. The preacher came but still predominantly from the Hamburg seminar. Among the seminarians there were many German and Eastern European countries. Numerous graduates followed without hesitation vocations in the German-speaking communities in Eastern Europe. Also in North and South America, there were German-speaking associations were connected with the German federal government. The "Baptist milieu" may have been close in some ways. The missionary zeal of the Baptists opened but at the same time look at the world: "So was German Baptists no national narrowness, but christ contemporary Worldwide" (Max Slawinsky 1930).

Martin Rothkegel (ThS Elstal)