50 years ago the Associate Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Thomas Schirrmacher, who is responsible for theological concerns, decided to move Jesus Christ into the center of his life.

 Thomas Schirrmacher with both deaconesses through whom he came to faith © BQ / Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher with both deaconesses through whom he came to faith © BQ / Warnecke

The place where this happened was the diaconal facility Diakonissen-Mutterhaus in Lachen, Germany (in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany), and it is there that Schirrmacher gave a sermon in a worship service upon the anniversary of this occasion and thanked the two deaconesses who looked after him at that time and explained the gospel to him.

The congregation of the Diakonissenmutterhaus Lachen belongs to the Deutscher Gemeinschafts-Diakonieverband based in Marburg, Germany (German Fellowship – Diaconal Federation), which in turn belongs to the Evangelischen Gnadauer Gemeinschaftsverband based in Kassel, Germany (Evangelical Gnadauer Community).

In his sermon, Schirrmacher pointed out that his childlike faith, which was kindled and shaped by the deaconesses, splendidly abides with his scholarly tasks and research work in theology and the sociology of religion. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the New Testament requests us to become as children (Matthew 18:3). However, we are not to judge as children do but rather as adults, “who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish“ (Hebrews 5:14). Adults in the faith, through the renewing of the mind, should be in a position to test what God’s will is and to independently decide for what is right (Romans 12:1-2). This, Schirrmacher maintained, is simultaneously done in the childlike awareness that God’s peace stands protectively over our understanding (Philippians 4:7).

 

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