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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…