Preaching in Hitler's Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich

By Bernauer, James | Theological Studies, December 2014 | Go to article overview

Preaching in Hitler's Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich


Bernauer, James, Theological Studies


Preaching in Hitler's Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich. Edited by Dean G. Stroud. Grand Rapids, Ml: Eerdmans, 2013. Pp. xiii + 203. $20.

The centennial anniversary of World War I has brought fresh awareness of how the religious nationalisms of the fighting powers fueled the carnage and devastated Christian faith in its wake. The conflict of 1914 to 1918 opened the gates of Europe to ideological frenzies that were to bring even greater destruction. Stroud's volume is a fine, moving collection of German sermons that witness both to the evangelical strength of some preaching during the Nazi years and to the risks that preachers were willing to run.

The book's very helpful introduction informs the reader of the specific force of the Christian rhetoric of the day as, for example, when christological formulations emphasized Jesus as the "authentic Fiihrer." Courageous claims are to be encountered in this volume. On the very day of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, Rudolf Bultmann declared, "Who feels bound today by Christian morality? We all know that Germany today is no longer a Christian country, that church life is only a remnant, and that many wish and hope that even this remnant will disappear" (149). …

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