Introduction To The Volume -- By: STR. Editor

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 05:2 (Winter 2014)
Article: Introduction To The Volume
Author: STR. Editor


Introduction To The Volume

STR. Editor

In 1841, a resident of the German village of Möttlingen approached her pastor and complained of struggles that she faced. The struggles were spiritual, or so the villager said, and they terrorized her. The pastor, Johann Blumhardt, was initially put off by the woman, but over the course of two years invested in helping her through the struggles. Through the course of his work with this certain villager, Blumhardt became convinced the woman was wrestling with demonic affliction or possession. The climax of the pastor’s work with this woman came two years later, in 1843, when the struggles came to an end. In a moment of spiritual battle between the demonic power and the woman, Blumhardt purportedly heard the evil power cry out, “Jesus is the victor!” The woman was afflicted no more.

This moment profoundly shaped the theology and praxis of Blumhardt and his son, Christoph. Christoph grew up and joined the ranks of the pastorate as well. Together, they embraced a theology that understood that in that room that night, Jesus defeated the powers of Satan…he had literally reigned victorious in the life of that afflicted woman. After that moment, a revival broke out in 1844, which spread throughout the surrounding area. The cry “Jesus is the victor!” shaped what would become a fully-orbed ministry and teaching of the Blumhardts. Johann (Blumhardt the Elder) and Christoph (Blumhardt the Younger) would preach and teach a distinctive faith in the gospel of the Kingdom of God with this cry echoing in their hearts and minds. Christian T. Collins Winn describes it in this way: “That faith, as expressed especially by the elder Blumhardt and summed up in the phrase ‘Jesus is the victor!’ centered on the conviction that the kingdom of God, identified with the person of Jesus and the ministry of the Spirit, was a dynamic and living power that broke into history to set humanity free from spiritual and physical bondage.”1

The influence of the Blumhardts extends beyond that revival. Their thought and ministry impacted many and developed into the Bruderhof movement that survives today. They influenced the theology of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Emil Brunner, each of whom find stimulus and provocation from the thought of the Blumhardts.2 Jürgen Moltmann draws upon their work to understand the place of humanity and the remainder of the created order in God’s kingdom.3 The Blumhardts, with their emphasis upon the work of the Spirit, have influenced Pentecostal and Charismatic the...

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