Does the Okumene extend to Seventh-day Adventists?
Ecclesiastical minorities in the shadow of the Lutheran Reformation before 1517 until after 2017
1648: ›No other creed should be accepted or tolerated‹
In the small German states until 1918/19, apart from the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, no other Protestant denominations and denominations had constitutionally secured rights. The author addresses the interchurch experiences of the non-tolerated churches in the course of history. Both state church traditions were under far-reaching influences from the political rulers. The lack of constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom in Germany until 1919 gave the privileged regional churches monopoly-like privileges, which they also protected from pre-Reformation movements (Waldensians and Bohemian Brothers) and from later minority churches (Baptists, Methodists, etc.). In the long term, this led to a one-sided understanding of the church and, due to national ties, initially to ecumenical restraint.
Until 1918/19, aside from Lutheran and Reformed traditions, no other Protestant confessions or denominations had constitutionally secured rights in the German small states. The author discusses inter-church experiences of churches that were not tolerated throughout history. Both state church traditions found themselves under the far-reaching influences of the political rulers. The lack of religious freedom secured under constitutional law in Germany until 1919 afforded to privileged state churches monopolistic preferential rights that also protected them from pre-reformation movements (such as the Waldenses and the Bohemian Brethren) and from later-appearing minority churches (such as Baptists and Methodists, among others). In the long term, this led to a one-sided understanding of the church and initially to ecumenical restraint by virtue of some national affiliation.
A book well worth reading
The internal relationship between Christians is presented in an unusual way by Karl Heinz Voigt. Voigt deals with the power and impotence of Protestant people in Germany in relation to one another; his presentation extends from Martin Luther's experience of God to the final chapters in which he explains "Missed Opportunities 2017" and draws his conclusion with the "Final Thoughts".
Voigt is concerned with the triangle of state church, state and free church. His core ideas are: “The early religious-political decisions of 1530 and 1555 in Augsburg and 1648 in the Peace of Westphalia show their effects to this day.” “One rarely realizes that the members of the erased churches were not religious weirdos or otherwise strange Christians. They were only made to do this and to become sectarians because their theological concepts of church and discipleship ... were made socially incapable for political reasons. "
There is a chapter on Waldensians and Hussites up to the Anabaptist communities, then Voigt discusses the state church relationship with Pietists; it is always about political decisions that caused exclusion. Persecutions in the 19th and 20th centuries are also comprehensibly presented, for example the “cemetery question”, in which one humiliation followed the other (p. 240) because a burial in the church cemetery, which was the only one on site, was carried out by the state church was denied to other Christians and therefore "the funeral procession stopped in front of the cemetery gate because the texts of the Bible were read there, the prayers and the Our Father were said and the blessing was given". "If the usual ringing of bells did not sound in a village, then it was the sign of a rift in the social community". Voigt also deals with church taxes for second generation Free Churches who had never belonged to any regional church. “As a rule, they were discriminated against as 'sects', but when it came to money they were 'Evangelical'” (p. 233). He explains: “These times are over” (p. 317). - On the other hand, there are current cases of people with a migration background. - In the Free Churches, his focus for the 19th and 20th centuries is on Methodists (Episcopal Methodist Church and Evangelical Community) and Baptists.
Voigt wrote legibly; his explanations require some background knowledge.
At the beginning of 2018, the book was published on time for the Reformation anniversary. It starts with a foreword by Hartmut Lehmann that is well worth reading. Karl Heinz Voigt is pastor of the United Methodist Church and is very active in retirement. 26 of his more recent publications from an active research life form a basis for important passages. In addition, there are contributions from him in the biographical-bibliographical church lexicon (e.g. note 463) as background knowledge. A detailed table of contents and the indices cover many aspects of this book.
- Karl Heinz Voigt
- Karl Heinz Voigt is pastor of the United Methodist Church. As an ecumenical commissioner, he has been involved in ecumenical bodies for decades. In 2007 he received the Distinguished Service Award in the USA for his historical research.
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