The pioneer of the German Baptists: 1834-1859 (series 1/12)

16/04/2009 09:54

Johann Gerhard Oncken (born 1800 in Varel, died in 1884 in Zurich) was born in modest circumstances. Coined by the time he spent in the UK as a merchant's assistant. Between 1814 and 1823 he studied as a teenager at that time the most advanced country in the world to know. Trade and industry were in full bloom. Civil and religious liberties had reached a level that was still not in sight in Germany. The downside of this development was the mass poverty and the moral squalor among industrial workers. Given these contradictions in society Oncken interior orientation found in the Calvinistic piety influenced the Scottish and English revivalism and discovered his personal calling. Conversion, rebirth and sanctification, consistent emphasis on the Bible and tireless missionary zeal since then were the cornerstones of its identity. After returning to Germany Oncken was since 1828 in Hamburg as representatives of British missionary societies font. From the Hamburg petty bourgeois and working-class, he gathered around him a group of believers to regular meetings. Having been in this county since 1829, the biblical authority of infant baptism was denied could "Oncken and Company" (said so at the time the Hamburg) on ​​22 April 1834, from traveling through American Baptist theologian Barnard Sears baptized. For the Hamburg authorities and the state church of the proud merchant republic, in its religious and political development 17 Century was stopped, Oncken church planting was a highly suspicious matter that they tried to suppress the beginning by the police and judiciary. More remarkable is the fact that the small community was the starting point of a successful missionary work, especially through Bible and Scripture distribution, preaching tours and contact with like-minded groups in other locations. Soon church plants followed in Berlin and Oldenburg (1837), Stuttgart (1838), Copenhagen (1839), Jever, Bitterfeld, Bayreuth and Marburg (1840). 1847 took the churches to a confession of faith, which shows a clear influence of the Calvinistic Baptists dominated Anglo-Saxon, the Oncken felt a lifelong. In 1849, the "Confederation of the united congregations of baptized Christians in Germany and Denmark" was founded in the same year appeared the first hymnbook, edited by Julius Koebner "voice of faith." In 1859, the Baptist mission had been accomplished except Germans and Danes believers Polish nationality. Mission to fight for religious freedom and overcoming linguistic and national differences for the early Baptists were one and the same concerns - namely the issue of the Gospel.