Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Presbyterians Today and the "Confessing Church"

Reading a bit about Karl Barth and the situation in Germany, 1933, the term, "Confessing Church" tells a remarkable story of how some refused to erase the boundaries between church and state.

To read about the Confessing Church stirs my heart, and I wonder, "Would I have had the courage to stand, as Barth did, or would I have found ways to quietly compromise my status while telling myself that I was yet a man of integrity?"
The term, "Confessing Church" ought not to be ripped from its historical context in Germany, 1933, and co-opted to serve some smaller purpose.

Every time I read of the "Confessing Church" organization in the Presbyterian Church, my soul is shaken - that some would take virtually a holy-ground moment in time and claim it for their own to describe an in-house theological debate. Yes, a debate of genuine importance with long-lasting implications about the church and its life. But to call this group the "Confessing Church" is to misconstrue history.

The real Confessing Church stood its ground against the false gods of National Socialism. 

If there are any comparisons possible to the Confessing Church, it would be those who today protest the casual and careless mingling of church aims and national interests - the most current example of which is Glenn Beck and other lesser lights, who appeal to some of the very worst instincts in our national character.
Instincts found in every nation, and when times are troubled, such instincts rise to the surface, as they did in Germany after WW1, and by the time Hitler came along, he masterfully tapped into them and filled the cup of wrath that was poured out on Germany and the world. 

I respect my sisters and brothers on the issues, but I continue to regret their co-opting the title, "Confessing Church." 

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