Shepherds of the Empire
Germany's Conservative Protestant Leadership--1888-1919
Publication Year: 2014
The late nineteenth century was a time of rapid industrialization, mass politicization, and modern philosophy. The resulting political and cultural upheaval confronted the German Protestant church with deep questions of identity.
On the one side sat an educated academic guild whose explorations of history, philology, and emerging social scientific disciplines gave rise to serious questions about the Christian faith and its meaning for today.
On the other sat parish clergy faced with the complexities of daily life and leadership in common communities. For these parish clergy the pressure was great to support and bolster people not only in their life as Christians, but in their life as Germans.
<.i>Shepherds of the Empireengages timeless questions of identity and faith through the time-bound work of four key thinkers who attempted, and ultimately failed, to carve a middle way for the German parish clergy in that environment.
The volume focuses on the life and work of Adolf Stoecker (1835–1909), Martin Kähler (1835–1912), Adolf Schlatter (1852–1938), and Christoph Blumhardt (1842–1919).
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Many have helped bring this project to fruition over the past decade, and all deserve my thanks. Spring Arbor University has given me enormous opportunities to craft my role as a historian, professor, and administrator. This community has proved everything I hoped for when I first arrived. I am thankful to my colleagues...
1. Introduction: The Connection between the Theology of the Word of God and the Moral Leadership of the Church in Wilhelmine Germany
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On July 23, 1900, leaders of the parish in the Brandenburg village of Neu- Trebbin wrote to the province’s church-governing consistory. In the letter, they asked for the appointment of “an appropriate man to follow [their longstanding retired pastor], who is a proper messenger of the Gospel, who speaks from God’s truth and love and who...
2. Christianity, Political Conservatism,and the Community of Believers: Adolf Stoecker and the Organization of the Believing Community
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For someone raised within the church in mid-nineteenth-century Germany, the end of the century certainly appeared menacing. While challenges to the authority of Protestant Christianity were not unheard of before midcentury, they were growing every year at an accelerating pace. Challenges appeared everywhere. The traditional authority...
3. How to Honor the Bible: Martin Kähler’s Theological Views of the Bible and Ethics
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In his identification of the Bibelverehrer, those who honor the Bible, Adolf Stoecker’s brother-in-law and Halle systematic theologian Martin Kähler tried to find a unifying concept for orthodox Christianity. Nineteenth-century German Christians experienced a confusing proliferation of conflicting voices. Kähler believed that the appropriate interpretation of the Bible was being attacked from two...
4. Receiving the Ancient Beliefs in the Modern Day: Adolf Schlatter’s Life and Work
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In 1885, the relatively obscure Bern theologian Adolf Schlatter burst onto the wider theological landscape with an encyclopedic study of the New Testament’s use of the word belief. From this point on, Schlatter became the most esteemed and prolific believing theologian of his generation. The great neo-orthodox voices...
5. Views from the Kingdom of God: The Life and Preaching of Christoph Blumhardt
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In 1899, at a meeting of workers in the industrial town of Göppingen in Württemberg, Pastor Christoph Blumhardt openly expressed his support of the workers’ social democratic ideals and demands. As he was a well-known local religious figure, Blumhardt’s attestation was a sensation. The Social Democrats realized the potential of tapping Blumhardt’s renown...
6. The Friends of Job: German Sermons, 1888–1914
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By the beginning of the First World War, the believing theologians developed an effective community and apparatus for political influence through the work of Adolf Stoecker and the other court preachers. Through Kähler, Schlatter, and their ally Hermann Cremer, the believing theologians had a plastic, able theology that responded creatively...
7. Confident in Jesus’ Victory: Germany’s Protestant Clergy’s Spiritual Guidance during the First World War
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Beginning in 1730, the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeinde (better known to English speakers as the Moravians) published a yearly devotional with short excerpts from the Bible for every day of the year. They produced the book so that their members throughout the world could daily read and contemplate the same Bible passages. The regular reading of this little...
8. Conclusion: The Relics of the First Modern Believing Theology
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The effects of the First World War on theological currents were immense. Some intellectual historians like to find proto-twentieth-century thought before the war to diminish the thesis that the war changed Europe’s character of thought. Undoubtedly, such early precursors of the new century’s leading ideas were to be found in the nineteenth...
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Page Count: 276
Publication Year: 2014