IVP - Strangely Dim - The Church's One Foundation

May 29, 2009

The Church's One Foundation

This year--appropriately on Pentecost--marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Barmen Declaration, a document drafted by theologian Karl Barth and adopted by the Confessing Churches of Germany in 1934 as a confrontation of accommodationist religion and totalitarian government in fledgling Nazi Germany. The document is short and inextricably linked to the details of the day, but it's nonetheless been embraced worldwide as a historic confessional statement, rightly establishing where the church's source of strength solely lies and the boundaries that God has ordained for human government. Here's an excerpt of this brief statement:

The Church of pardoned sinners . . . has to testify in the midst of a sinful world, with its faith as with its obedience, with its message as with its order, that it is solely his property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.

To a government and cultural movement that desired to be as totalizing in its worldview as it was in its claims to power, the confessing churches of Germany appropriately shouted "Nein!" We are not the property of governments even of our own making; we are children of the God who made us, and we're to live and move and have our being as such. It begs the question, Who needs to hear this from me today? Where do I need to testify this today?

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at May 29, 2009 7:16 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Strangely Dim

Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

Subscribe to Feeds