Global Christianity Confessionalism
Global Christianity

Movements in Europe and America which reasserted the authority of Protestant confessions to define the church.

C. F. W. Walther (1811-1887) was a champion of confessional Lutheranism in the United States, and founder of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

In 1817 King Frederick of Prussia called for Lutheran and Reformed Christians to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Reformation by holding a common service of worship in Berlin. This was the beginning of a structural merger, known as the "Prussian Union" church. In Prussia and elsewhere civil rulers attempted to combine Lutheran and Reformed churches into unified national churches. Several forces seemed to auger such a move: the Enlightenment emphasized moral aspects of the faith and disparaged doctrine; Pietism stressed spiritual experience which crossed over confessional lines; nationalism vested authority in the state; liberalism questioned and redefined religious authority. But plans to unify Protestant churches met with stiff resistance. At issue: who decides what the church is--the civil rulers, or the Scriptures and confessions? Some confessionalists suffered persecution. Many immigrated to the U.S., where confessionalism arose in various forms among Lutherans, Presbyterians, and others who perceived evangelicalism and liberalism as detrimental to theological identity.

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