The following report was prepared forCHRISTIANITY TODAYby Dr. Harold B. Kuhn, professor of philosophy of religion, Asbury Theological Seminary:
Meeting in Dortmund July 24–28, the eleventh Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag (All-German Protestant Congress) continued the eighteen-year attempt by German Protestantism to make itself vitally effective in the life of the German Federal Republic. To a significant degree, the tone of the congress was set by its location. Reminded by Dortmund of the energetic quality of life in the massive industrial complex of the Ruhr valley, the Kirchentag was led to an emphasis upon the practical qualities of Christian living and of Christian responsibility within the Church.
In addition to the standing issues which face the German Protestant church, this year’s congress faced some specific issues with a new vigor. The problems of life in the industrialized society were far more urgent this year than at Munich (1959) or Berlin (1961). The complexities of life for the “industrial man” have brought German Protestantism face to face with the question: Will Christianity continue to exist as a force in German life in the half-century ahead? Many church leaders fear that Christianity may become little more than a pious hobby of the very young and the very old. This sombre possibility entered in some way or other into most of the discussions.
At a time when the chairman of the Montreal Faith and Order Conference of the WCC was calling for increased attention to the Bultmannian theology, surprisingly little was said about “demythologizing” or “communication.” Instead, emphasis lay on the quality of Christian life which will make the Gospel relevant to the complexities of the modern age. In this connection, ...1
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