“Die Heiligungsbewegung” -- By: Benjamin B. Warfield

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:301 (Jan 1919)
Article: “Die Heiligungsbewegung”
Author: Benjamin B. Warfield


“Die Heiligungsbewegung”

Benjamin B. Warfield

A great religious movement has been going on in Germany during the last half-century, to which the attention of the outside world has been far too little directed.1 It is commonly spoken of as “The Fellowship Movement”; and the complex of phenomena which have resulted from its activities is summed up briefly as “Fellowship Christianity.”2 Paul Drews, in a few words of detailed description, written a decade ago, brings it rather clearly before us in its external manifestations. He says:3

“The so-called ‘Fellowship-Movement,’ which has existed now about a generation,, is a religious lay-movement, and that of a power and extension such as the Evangelical Church has not seen since the Reformation. There is no German-Evangelical National church into which it has not penetrated. It has thrust its plow-share even into the hard soil of the Mecklenburg Church, which is not so easy to break up. Its adherents are gathered by the Fellowship from the circles of the so-called ‘humble people,’4 — artisans, craftsmen, tradesmen, railway and postal employees, waiters, servant-girls, here and there (as for example in Hesse) even peasants, and also teachers. Added! to these there are — as will not surprise those who are acquainted with Church History — the nobility and that the high nobility. The academically educated and the industrial workers alone are wanting. Of course not altogether; but they form exceptions in these ranks, and do not affect the character of the whole. The Fellowship is extraordinarily thoroughly and compactly organized. The particular local Fellowships are united in Provincial associations, at the head of which stand ‘Councils of Brothers’ (Brüderräte). Over these associations there stands the German Association for Evangelical Fellowship-work and

Evangelization.’5 There exist, however, Fellowship-circles which have not connected themselves with this central Association. The individual associations not seldom possess their own assembly-houses which are sometimes so constructed that strangers attending the meetings can find lodging or entertainment in them. The associations employ also their own Professional-Workers,6 Bible-missionaries, colporteurs, and pay them. The Professional-Workers who lead the meetings have either received no special training or ...

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