Today in Christian History – April 22

1934 – Five thousand pastors and laypeople gather in Ulm where they create the “Confessing Church,” relying on the Reformation confessions in interpreting Scripture, rather than Nazi racial theories and propaganda.

The Confessing Church (also translated Confessional Church) (German: Bekennende Kirche) was a movement within the German Protestant Church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant Church.

In April 1934 Ludwig Müller actually deposed the heads of the Württembergian church (Bishop Theophil Wurm) and of the Bavarian church (Bishop Hans Meiser). They and the synodals of their church bodies continuously refused to declare the merger of their church bodies in the German Evangelical Church (DEK). The continuing aggressiveness of the DEK and Müller spurred the schismatic Confessing Church to further action.
Barmen Declaration of Faith

In May 1934 the opposition met in a Confessing Church synod in Barmen. The rebellious pastors denounced Müller and his leadership and declared that they and their congregations constituted the true Evangelical Church of Germany. The Barmen Declaration, primarily authored by Karl Barth, with the consultation and advice of other Confessing Church pastors like Martin Niemöller and individual congregations, re-affirmed that the German Church was not an „organ of the State” and that the concept of State control over the Church was doctrinally false. The Declaration stipulated, at its core, that any State — even the totalitarian one — necessarily encountered a limit when confronted with God’s commandments.

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