The church must affirm without reservation the German people’s community growing out of National Socialism, and at the same time must do everything it can to make up for what has been neglected or ignored in the past!
The church must affirm without reservation Adolf Hitler’s total state, the last bulwark against the Satan of Bolshevism. It should not be forgotten that, had it not been for Hitler, we would long since have sunk into Bolshevism, and probably would no longer have had churches and ministers.
The church must affirm without reservation the Führer of the National Socialists, Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of the German Reich. He expects the church to help build the Third Reich, and has proclaimed that National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which now forms the state, wants to stand on the foundation of positive Christianity. It is the task of the church to create and provide this foundation. It is the content of the absolute affirmation that the church has to make if it really wants to be a people’s church.
We “German Christians” were firmly resolved to work to see that the church makes this affirmation clearly and unambiguously (that means without reservation). We are also firmly resolved to hold to this affirmation, and transform it into action. We will not be diverted from this by anything, including the quarreling of the opposition of today which has still not understood, or does not want to understand, and least of all by the forces of Reaction (regardless of how they may conceal themselves). National Socialists in the province should and must know:
On 28 August 1933 and 25 October 1933, the church publicly and solemnly spoke its affirmation, and is determined to hold to this affirmation and to carry it out.
28 August 1933
The 4th provincial church council opened on 28 August 1933 at the Ständehaus in Hanover. In accordance with the wishes of the “German Christians,” it began with especially festive ceremonies and took on a unique stamp through the affirmation of the National Socialist people of the church and the affirmation of the church of the National Socialist people. In other words: The opening of the provincial church council became a new experience for church members, since for the first time on 28 August 1933, publicly and solemnly, the cross of Christ and the swastika were placed next to each other in a positive way.
The church council customarily opens with a public worship service, which took place this time in the Market Church, the biggest church in Hanover. The service began at noon; long before, the big church was filled to overflowing, so that many people’s comrades could not gain admittance (proof, by the way, that the new call of the church was understood by the new Germany). On both sides of the altar were the many flags of the S.A., the H.J., the Stahlhelm, and the youth federations. Besides the members of the provincial church council, the church senate, and church offices, the whole church council of Hanover participated in the service. Many government offices had representatives. The rest of the church was packed with many hundreds of people’s comrades from the city and countryside.
The church service began with the hymn “Praise the Lord, Oh My Soul” The general superintendent of the Stahlhelm led the liturgy. After the song “If God is for me, All Else May Be against Me,” Provincial Bishop D. Marahrens preached a sermon on these words of Jesus: “He who confesses me before men will I also confess before my heavenly father. He who denies me to men will I also deny before my heavenly father.” Referring to the extraordinarily large attendance at the service, the preacher asked if the joyful readiness of so many meant that that the powerful missionary urge of the church might meet a searching call of the nation in the new age. If that were to happen, it would require the efforts of many to rebuild the church in the right way. Only that rebuilding of the church with an unambiguous and clear foundation would meet the longings of our people and our fatherland. None other than Jesus Christ, the Savior who died for humanity, stands in the center of this confession. Referring to eternity and its just judgment, the sermon concluded that the church must be a “daring church”, daring in the sense that we, out of love for our people, and convinced of the truth of the Gospel, must put this complete and eternal message in support of the new age.
The organ thundered as the participants left the service and marched solemnly from the Market Church to the Ständehaus. The S.S. was at the head, followed by the S.A. band, then the banners. They were followed by the members of the church senate, the general superintendent, the representatives of government agencies, the members of the provincial church council, the members, officials, and employees of the provincial church administration the invited guests, the clergy and church officers of Hanover, the youth organizations with their banners, as well as units of the S.A. and the Stahlhelm. The bells of all the churches rang as the procession passed through Hanover’s streets. In honor of the church celebration, most buildings were decorated with the swastika flags of the National Socialist revolution. Behind the columns of the S.A. and S.S. that lined the streets, thousands of people saluted the procession with joyful shouts of “Heil!” And throughout the entire province of Hanover, bells tolled thanks and praise to the Lord God.
The Ständehaus was decorated with the church’s flags with the cross, Hitler’s swastika, and the glorious flags of black-white-red. A large crowd gathered of those who wanted to participate in the solemn ceremony. The S.A. band played the “Netherlands Hymn of Praise,” then the crowd sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Then Provincial Bishop D. Marahrens spoke. Among other things, he said: As never before in the history of the people, the individual is bound to the whole of the people, which the Lutheran provincial church in Hanover joyfully affirms. A full and strong affirmation of its ethnicity, of the purity and path it followed, an affirmation of the Reich and its freedom and honor, an affirmation of the state it serves loyally and with devotion. As part of the German Evangelical Church, the Lutheran Provincial Church in Hanover could demonstrate great service to the people. As the church of God, it had the best that the world has, it had what a people with deep roots must have for its life, and it had what the Führer of our people had to have for his people and his work. Unrestricted in its proclamation of the Gospel and unlimited in the freedom of its witness, it gave the people and its Führer the greatest possible gift, namely a firm conscience born from the forgiveness of sins. Under the authority of the holy and omnipotent God, under which the church stands and will forever stand — if it wants to remain serious Christians — the people and Reich have true support in the authority of this God. And the state has its deepest, strongest, and —from the human standpoint — indestructible roots in the church. With this certainty, the Hanoverian provincial church affirms our state absolutely. It believes that this state is the best one possible. The Evangelical Church has always given to the state what is its due. The church gives this state and its Führer what it has, joyfully and without reservation, with a thankful heart.
After thousands had sung “Now Thank We All our God,” District President Stapenhorst spoke in the name of the Prussian government and the Prussian president. The national revolution was total, and wanted to include the whole life of the people; no part of life could remain untouched by the great events of the age. The breakthrough of the new idea of the state wanted to transform the German and his thinking, and teach each individual to sacrifice for the good of the community. The people’s community should be founded on a united religious faith. The church could not remain untouched by the storm of the national uprising. The church must understand the call of the age. Churchmen who understand their people must so transform the church’s structure so that all people’s comrades can feel at home in the church. That great goal would be achieved when one affirmed Hitler’s liberating action, and fought side by side with him for the moral and religious renewal of our people. In this sense, he extended the greetings and best wishes of the Prussian government and its president, and at the same time called for everyone to join in a triple “Sieg Heil” to Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
Thousands of arms reached to heaven in the Hitler greeting, and thousands of people’s comrades praised the Führer with a triple “Sieg Heil.” The same thousands spontaneously sang the Horst Wessel song. Then Pastor Hahn-Elmlohe, the leader of the “German Christians” in Hanover, spoke on behalf of the provincial church council. Like many others, he was wearing a brown shirt:
28 August 1933 will go down in the history of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover — if God wills — as the day in which the clear will of the church members affirmed its people in a new way, stating:
The church stands here under the cross of Jesus Christ —
The German people stands there, which under the symbol of the swastika has awakened.
In past decades, the subversive powers of liberalism, materialism, and Bolshevism alienated millions of German people’s comrades from the German nation. It is doubtless God’s grace that our Führer Adolf Hitler has once again won back to the nation the German people’s comrade and the German worker. Hitler could and had to achieve his goal, because he broke totally from the past and followed the entirely different, yet ancient, path of National Socialism.
In past decades, these satanic powers alienated millions of our German people’s comrades from the Evangelical Church. It is the holy duty and solemn goal of our movement of faith, the “German Christians,” to win back the German people’s comrade and the German worker, with God’s help, to the Evangelical Church. To do that, we want to, and must, follow a different, yet ancient path in the church, namely the path of Martin Luther that leads to a deep connection of church and people, of Christianity and German nature.
The cross of Christ and the swastika should not and may not oppose each other; they belong together. One must make us look to eternity, and admonish us” Remember that you are a Christian! The other points us toward the present, and admonishes us: Remember that you are a German!
Both together should and do admonish us:
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