Reading Hermann Sasse on Church and Churches.

Lonely way 1Read what Hermann Sasse wrote in 1930 about the great changes in the world and the resurgence of the faith in the one holy Christian Church: “In view of the world history which we experience we begin again to have an inkling that the meaning of all history is not to be sought in the Volk, in the “state”, or in “humanity”, not in “culture” nor even in “Christian culture”, not in “personality”, rather only in the church of God. As the church as historical reality once obtained immeasurable meaning for life during the demise of ancient culture, so in this day and age of disintegration, in which all human communities are affected and in which all orders of life threaten to go under, the church appears to be winning an entirely new meaning for all of our lives. What is the demise of ancient culture – a historical experience limited to a small area – in comparison to the revolutionary changes which find consummation in our day? … In view of this world situation Christianity awoke from its comfortable church sleep of religious individualism. It came to realize that God did not send his Son into the world that we might have beautiful religious experiences, but rather “that the world be redeemed by him” (Joh 3:17). Those who for a century had lived in the narrow boundaries of national church fellowships and in the limited horizon of solidly defined confessions began to understand anew the universality of the church. With new eyes they read the great Word of the NT concerning the church, which is the body of Christ, the struggling multitude of God in this world (Eph.6:10ff), and with new faith they spoke at their altars the old confession which is inseperably bound to the confession of faith in the Triune God: Credo unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam ecclessiam (I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church).” (Quoted from “Church and Churches. Concerning the doctrine of the unity of the church” in The Lonely Way. Selected Essays and letters. Vol.1. 1927-1939 transl. M.C. Harrison et al. CPH St.Louis: 2002. Pg. 74)

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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