Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

German Theologian Renounces Faith

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
A prominent German Protestant theologian has declared he is no longer Christian. In an interview with Idea Spektrum, the magazine for German evangelicals, Gerd Ludemann, professor of New Testament at the University of Gottingen, called liberal theology "contemptible." Since future pastors train at state universities, the Ludemann case has caused controversy. Two years ago he was removed as a church examiner for ministerial candidates after he called the process of ordination "Schizophrenic." However, Horst Hischler, the Lutheran bishop of Lower Saxony, said the churches have not decided to start proceedings against him. In an interview, Ludemann said that to be a Christian is to be a fundamentalist. "I don't think Christians know what they mean when they proclaim Christ as Lord of the world. That is a massive claim. If you took that seriously, you would probably have to be a fundamentalist. If you can't be a fundamentalist, then you should give up Christianity for the sake of honesty," he said. Professor Ludemann, who is also director of the Institute for Early Christian Studies at Gottingen, has previously caused controversy by refusing to believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus and suggesting that Jesus was born after Mary was raped. Professor Ludemann also criticized attempts by "liberal theologians" to re-interpret Christian doctrine so that they could continue to describe themselves, in good conscience, as Christians. "They don't really believe what the confession of faith says," he said, adding that he found liberal theology "contemptible." (From REC News Exchange and Christian Observer)

Of course, for a Protestant theological professor to renounce his faith is a recipe for disaster, but certain statements of Ludemann give cause for thought. If, by "fundamentalism" he means to be Scriptural and orthodox, he is correct when he says that to be a Christian one has to be a fundamentalist. Indeed, liberal theology is "contemptible," especially if Scriptural interpretation is left up to what the logic of man can make of it. Indeed, liberal theology is "contemptible" when the Protestant creeds and confessions are misunderstood or ignored, or (see next item) if they are changed. The sad part is that Ludemann himself has become "liberal," that is, allowing his own mind dictate how Scripture should be interpreted, instead of bowing to Scripture.

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