Dale over at Theoblogical is discussing David Hilfiker’s points on the need for some sort of Confessing Church here in America like the one in Germany prior to WWII which Dietrich Bonhoeffer served in, you know, the guy I been blogging about for so long. These guys are from the Church of the Saviour in Washington DC, a decidedly ecumenical church with an inspiring history.
I have a couple comments I’d like to make here regarding this discussion. First, in his essay “Protestantism Without Reformation” Bonhoeffer tries to come to terms with the non-confessional nature of church in America. Whereas in Germany the church found strength in its Confession, and called the national Lutheran church back to its creed, I wonder whether Americans can identify with creedal unity at all. Just because we make statements to agree on, does not mean these statements will influence us away from identifying ourselves with nationalism as the German Christians did.
Secondly, we should look at where the Confessing Church ended up. When the screws tightened and pastors were forced into the front lines of war, pensions were cut, and pastors like Paul Schneider were ripped from the pulpit and executed, the church itself became seeds of renewal for the postwar generation rather than an expression of the True church witnessing against Nazism. Bonhoeffer and Bethge knew that the witness against Christian Nationalism failed much in part because of the failure to cry out in behalf of the Jews.