Further deterioration in Germany over 2017

on July 18th, 2014 by admin | No Comments »

2017 is proving a problem in Germany.  You can see matters deteriorating here.  My sense from a quick glance at the Evangelical Church in Germany’s “Reformation” document is that it pursues a line that has been typical of material from the EKD and its leaders in recent years: the Reformation laid the foundation for the modern understanding of freedom and the modern liberal (in the Lockean sense) social order.  This is not a new line and has generally intended an unflattering contrast with Catholicism just below the surface.  If the Protestants constitute the “Church of Freedom,” you can easily guess who is supposed to be the “Church of Unfreedom.”  There is also a Catholic mirror image of this argument, as can be seen in books such as Brad Gregory’s “The Unintended Reformation” which  blame the Reformation as an at least partial cause of the ills of modernity (secularism, relativism, individualism, etc.).  Both versions of this argument tie the Reformation to modernity and then either blame or praise it for this tie.

There is a real issue here, one deserving careful discussion, but the Germans are not showing us how to have such a discussion.

A side note: in the argument over the EKD “Reformation” document not mentioning the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, it should remembered that the JDDJ was an agreement between the Catholic Church and the churches of the Lutheran World Federation.  The EKD is made up of regional churches (“Landeskirchen”), about half of which belong to the LWF and half don’t.  The EKD thus played no role in the JDDJ, which was part of the problem the JDDJ had in Germany.  The structure of German Protestantism derives from a set of historical compromises and presents a set of both theoretical and practical problems for others (Is the EKD itself a church?  Good question).

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