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Barth, Karl

(936 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard
Karl Barth, who was born on May 10, 1886, at Basel and who died there 82 years later (on December 10, 1968), was one of the most important Protestant theologians of the 20th century. His father, Fritz, was a disciple of A. Schlatter at Bern, his mother a descendant of H. Bullinger and a relative of J. Burckhardt. The philosopher Heinrich Barth and the Calvin ¶ scholar Peter Barth were his brothers. In 1913 he married Nelly Hoffmann, and they had five children, of whom Markus became a NT scholar and Christoph an OT scholar. Studying theology at Bern, Berlin, Tübingen, and Marburg, Barth br…

Darmstadt Declaration

(305 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard
The Darmstadt Declaration was issued on August 8, 1947, by the Bruderrat (leaders of the Confessing Church), concerning “the political path of our people.” It was based on drafts by H. J. Iwand (1899–1960), M. Niemöller (1892–1984), and K. Barth (1886–1968). It followed up on the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt (1945) but dealt with the causes of the guilt of church and people in the time of National Socialist rule (Fascism; Church Struggle). It found these in the older political mistakes of acce…

Barmen Declaration

(1,138 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard
1. The “Theological Declaration on the Present State of the German Evangelical Church,” or Barmen Declaration, was formulated by K. Barth (1886–1968), H. Asmussen (1898–1968), and T. Breit (1880–1966). Barth was its theological father. At the first confessing synod of the church at Barmen-Gemarke on May 31, 1934, it was unanimously adopted by 139 delegates from 25 state and provincial churches. The boldness of the synod in rejecting the legitimacy of the church government and regarding itself as…

Confessing Church

(1,152 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard
1. The Confessing Church arose in the 1930s in the Deutsche Evangelische Kirche, or German Evangelical Church (GEC), as various church groups opposed the penetration of the church by the spirit of National Socialism (Fascism). The Confessing Church made the claim that it alone was the true GEC. On May 9, 1933, the Young Reformation Movement (under H. Lilje et al.) demanded the freedom of the church from all political influence but politically accepted the new German state. In the elections of July 23, 1933, the German Christians (GC) won a major victory…

Kingly Reign of Christ

(1,395 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard | Wannenwetsch, Bernd
[German Version] I. Theology – II. Ethics I. Theology The kingship of Christ means the dawning of the kingdom of God in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, in which he has been given power over all powers. His dominion over all areas of life – still latent, still contested – is proclaimed in his community. The Roman Church observes the last Sunday of the church year as the Feast of Christ the King (Christ the King, Feast of; DS 3675–3679). 1. In the New Testament, the earliest Christian confession of faith, “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Rom 1:4; 10:9; Jesus Christ: I; Ky…

Reformed Churches

(9,343 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard | Plasger, Georg | Strohm, Christoph | Guder, Darrell | Veddeler, Berend | Et al.
[German Version] I. History and Theology 1. Terminology. For programmatic theological reasons, the Reformed churches rejected the exonym Calvinist churches. They referred to themselves as Reformed churches because they did not think of themselves as new churchdoms alongside the one holy church but as a part of that church, albeit as part of it renewed according to God’s Word in Holy Scripture. In speaking of themselves, therefore, they eschewed references to a theological founder or a particular place of origin. The 17th-century formula ecclesia reformata semper reformanda means …


(10,176 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Nocke, Franz-Josef | Felmy, Karl Christian | Kandler, Karl-Hermann | Busch, Eberhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Church History In Christian usage, the term sacrament has two meanings: a broad meaning corresponding to the New Testament term μυστήριον/ mystḗrion (“mystery”), used as a term for mysteries of the faith in general, and a narrower meaning in the sense of certain liturgical actions that enable believers to share in the salvific grace effected by Christ. While medieval Scholastic theology in the West developed the narrower understanding of sacraments with increasingly precise and subtle definitions, …

Reformierte Kirchen

(8,355 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard | Plasger, Georg | Strohm, Christoph | Guder, Darrell | Veddeler, Berend | Et al.
[English Version] I. Geschichtlich und konfessionskundlich 1.Begriff Aus programmatischen theol. Gründen lehnten die ref. K. die Fremdbez. »calvinistische Kirchen« ab. Sie bezeichneten sich selbst als ref. K., weil sie sich nicht als neue Kirchentümer neben der einen, hl. Kirche verstanden, sondern als deren Glied, aber als Glied einer nach dem Gotteswort der Hl. Schrift erneuerten Kirche. Darum vermieden sie in ihrer Selbstbez. Bezüge auf einen theol. Stifter oder einen bestimmten Entstehungsort. Di…


(9,159 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Nocke, Franz-Josef | Felmy, Karl Christian | Kandler, Karl-Hermann | Busch, Eberhard | Et al.
[English Version] I. Kirchengeschichtlich Der Begriff S. hat im christl. Sprachgebrauch eine doppelte Bedeutung: eine weite, die dem ntl. Begriff μυστη´ριοn̆/mystē´rion (»Geheimnis«) entspricht und sich als Bez. von Glaubensgeheimnissen allg. behauptet hat, und eine engere im Sinne bestimmter gottesdienstlicher Handlungen, die dem Gläubigen Anteil an der von Christus bewirkten heilbringenden Gnade geben. Während die ma. Schultheol. des Abendlandes das engere Verständnis der S. in wachsender Präzisierung und Differ…