Luther’s influence on German culture

Luther-Catechism-1560-LeipzigThe Economist has a fascinating article on “How Martin Luther has shaped Germany for half a millennium.”

I’m not sure how accurate it is.  (Luther’s moralism?  For the person who insisted that salvation is by grace through faith, rather than good works?  Well, maybe so.  Maybe this is evidence that an emphasis on faith really does bear fruit in good works.  But “dour,” for the most uproarious of theologians?  “Lutheran socialism,” finding the origin of the northern European welfare state in Luther’s neighbor-centered view of vocation?)

But that Luther influenced Germany’s love of music, emphasis on education, love of books, work ethic, etc., rings true.

UPDATE:  Note the critique of this article by German journalist and confessional Lutheran Uwe Siemon-Netto in a recorded interview on Issues, Etc. (HT:  Jeremiah Oehlerlich & Carl Vehse)

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Profile of Muslim converts & their church

The Atlantic has a profile of Muslim converts in Germany, with special emphasis on the congregations they are attending.  The focus is on Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin, a SELK congregation in fellowship with the LCMS. The pastor, Gottfried Martens, studied at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

They have around 1,000 baptized members who are ex-Muslims, with 300 on a waiting list, apparently being catechized.  (The Atlantic reporter doesn’t quite understand Lutheranism.  It’s kind of amusing to see how she describes catechism and her confusion about crossing herself.  But kudos to her and also to her publication for significantly ramping up its religion coverage.)  The story describes Germans and ex-Muslims (who outnumber the former) having tea after service, their children playing together, all taking part in the normal workings of a congregation.
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More on Muslims converting to Christianity

International journalist Uwe Siemon-Netto, a confessional Lutheran, has more details about Muslims converting to Christianity.  He has published a compelling article in the Australian magazine Quadrant that you need to read for yourself.  Excerpt and link after the jump.  (Tomorrow we’ll post about the strange phenomenon of the Muslims dreaming about Jesus.) [Read more…]

Germany’s second thoughts on immigrants

No country has been more welcoming of Middle Eastern immigrants than Germany, which has looked to a influx of one million new residents a year as a solution to its demographic population implosion.  But now Germany, along with other European nations, is having second thoughts.

Even sympathizers of the refugees are having problems with what happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.  In the square between the train station and the magnificent cathedral (a place I’ve actually been to with my friends who live there, including at another crowded fire works night), around a thousand men of “Arab or Northern African appearance” sexually assaulted every non-hijab wearing woman in sight.  They crowded around women and groped and robbed them, with reports of at least two rapes.

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Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Time Magazine‘s Person of the Year is German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

Interesting choice:  Prime Minister Merkel is a Lutheran, a conservative (relatively speaking, for Germany), a woman, an economic hard-liner, by all accounts a skillful leader.  She has been compared to Margaret Thatcher, a formidable figure, though now she is being accused of being too generous when it comes to immigration.

Who would you have chosen for Person of the Year, the individual who has most impacted the world for better or for worse in 2015?

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Rebuilding the Lutheran Church of Our Lady in Dresden

Johann Sebastian Bach played the organ at the Lutheran Church of Our Lady in Dresden, which was destroyed in the allied bombing of that city during World War II.  Later, the ruins of that building became a center of protest against East German Communism.  Now the church has been rebuilt, using the rubble as well as new material.  Tomorrow it will be reconsecrated.

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story about the church and its reconstruction, including a good “reading” of the current architecture.  Excerpts and pictures after the jump.

Source:  Wikipedia, Creative Commons

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