Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reformation in Germany #1

The bulk of my 2 month sabbatical was spent in Germany , the land of my fathers . My father was born in Hamburg and my mother was born in Ansbach. They emigrated to Namibia ( Walvis Bay)  in the 50's ,  after WW II .
Although I had been in Germany twice before , I had never actually  lived there -  I never had  developed a feeling for the place .
This time it felt actually as if I had lived there.

Gemeinde Freier Evangelischer Christ - Biskirchen

I was very warmly received by the " Gemeinde Freier Evangelischer Christen" in a little village called Biskirchen . Biskirchen is  situated  on the B49  between Wetzlar and Limburg  along the river Lahn  - indeed  a beautiful part of Germany .
The  church in Biskirchen  is   doctrinally   a 'Reformed Baptist  Church'  .  It is a lively and loving little congregation led by two capable elders  , Henrik Riesen and Tobias Glaum . These two men are both teachers at local schools  , fathers of a young family , good  preachers and  highly committed to their  local church .
This church has only been existence for about 5 years , but it already bears the marks of a sound  church .
Through this  church's hospitality and goodwill I was able  to explore the spiritual scene  in Germany somewhat.

It is clear that the land of the Reformation  has fallen prey to the common pitfalls  so well described in the Bible . Spiritual  prosperity   is  frequently followed by material prosperity , and this in turn , if not carefully checked , leads so easily  to spiritual apostasy and various forms of idolatry .
The  spiritual gains made  during and after the 16th  Century  Reformation are still  clearly visible . Germany is a land sown through with church buildings -  many impressive church buildings , may I add .
Berliner Dom - A Lutheran Church

The  evidence of  churches and cathedrals , all built in a  bygone era,   testifies that this is indeed a bygone era . Such buildings  are no longer built in our day . The  cathedral of the modern man is the shopping center and the sports stadium ! 
The Germans are generally very proud of their church buildings, even though few will actually attend services there on a Lord's day .  Much money is poured into the maintenance  and upkeep of these  splendid edifices . Some of this money comes from the  German tax payer  and other money comes from entrance fees  and music concerts  that are being regularly held  in these churches . An average  German congregation  that meets in these buildings would hardly be able to maintain  such  buildings  with their own means .
The lack of spiritual vitality and life is evident  .  A visit to  the church  in Wittenberg , where Luther penned his 95 theses on the door  of the castle church ,  and  a visit to the Wartburg in Eisenach where he translated  the Scriptures , confirms  that . At the Wartburg  for instance,  far less prominence was given  to  Luther  than to a woman called 'Elizabeth ' canonized by the  Catholic church as a saint . I will write more about this experience in my next blog .

The land of the Reformation is  evidently sorely in need of  another  Reformation . Thank God then that there is a  very small  movement of  Reformed Baptists  at work . We do not despise  the day of small things . We must encourage these churches  to persevere . Pray for them ! Biskirchen  is perhaps  a drop in the bucket - but they are already doing much to reach out   to  find like minded  churches  who will perhaps one day band themselves together  for greater  unity and prayer  for Germany !   I for one am praying and am  looking  forward  to such  possibilities.


Lauralea said...

It's amazing to see how God uses others across the globe!

T L said...

Eagerly awaiting part 2 :)

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