Guest / Limited Access /

Germans re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, keeping the Christian Democratic Union in power. But the name of her party might be confusing to some Americans: it's not a party limited to Christians and is not particularly devout. The party's documents say its "policies are based on the Christian view of Man and his responsibility before God," but it rarely articulates that basis in political debate.

If that name is confusing, however, consider the Evangelical Church in Germany (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland), which is not a church—it's a federation of Lutheran, Reformed, and United churches—and is generally what in the U.S. would be considered a mainline denomination rather than an evangelical one. (As in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the use of evangelical is more a reference to the Reformation than more recent evangelical developments.)

German Christians who share American evangelical emphases—the authority of Scripture, a commitment to evangelism, and a focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus and the need for personal conversion—are increasingly wary of the word evangelical. Hermann Gröhe, a minister of state in Merkel's administration, explained why in an interview in his office on Monday.

What can German evangelicals teach American evangelicals about the interplay between faith and politics?

I don't know if there is a specific evangelical approach to politics in Germany today. For a long time, German evangelicals made the mistake of keeping a distance from politics. They believed that social and political activities were typical for a church dominated by liberal theology, so they thought purifying the gospel meant to stay away from public life. That is not typically ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow Theologians Have Failed Asian Christians—and How They Can Do Better
How Theologians Have Failed Asian Christians—and How They Can Do Better
Rather than forcing “elite” agendas upon grassroots believers, says Simon Chan, we need to take their concerns seriously.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickDesire and Deliverance
Desire and Deliverance
Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
Comments
Christianity Today
Germany's Christian Democrats
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.