Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
Church Government, appealing to the Führer and using and getting the co-operation of political forces, has continued ruthlessly its work of destroying the Church.
2. The violent measures adopted against the South German Churches have destroyed all possibility of retaining what has come from the past in the renewal of Church organization.
3. This has necessitated the Church emergency legislation, which we are compelled to proclaim to-day.

III
1. We assert: The Constitution of the G[erman] E[vangelical] C[hurch] is shattered. Its legitimate organs no longer exist. The men who have usurped Church Government in the Reich and in the Regions have, by their actions, divorced themselves from the Christian Church.
2. The Confessional Synod of the GEC creates new organs of government by virtue of the Church Emergency legislation of those Churches, congregations and clerical office-bearers who are bound by Scripture and Confession. For the work of governing and representing the GEC as a federation of Confessionally ordered Churches it appoints the Council of Brethren of the GEC and from that body the Council of the GEC to act as executive. Both organs are formed and organized in accord with the Confessions.
3. We urge congregations, their Ministers and Elders not to take any directions from the hitherto existing Reich Church Government or its officials, and to withdraw from co-operation with those who are willing to remain obedient to this Church Government. We urge them to hold to the instructions of the Confessional Synod of the GEC and of the organs recognized by it.

IV

We transmit this our Declaration to the Reich Government begging it to note the decision taken in it, and asking it to recognize that in matters concerning the Church, its doctrine and organization, the Church, without prejudice to the State's right of oversight [i.e., in financial matters], is alone called to judge and decide.

Source: Arthur Frey, Cross and Swastika ( London, 1938), pp. 179-183. German text in Joachim Beckmann (ed.), Evangelische Kirche im Dritten Reich (Gütersloh, Germany, 1948), pp. 76-77.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 145.

-385-

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