Power, Institutions and Factions in German Protestantism

Around 1830 German Protestantism saw the emergence of two schools that would leave their imprint on the religious landscape during the next several decades: first, the Vermittlungstheologie with its strong program for the reconciliation of faith and reason; and, second, Neo-Lutheranism which demanded allegiance to the confessions as a bulwark against the destructive forces of modernity. Especially in Prussia the conflicts surrounding the Union and confession were at the centre of many church-political debates, as Lutheran opposition impeded every efforts towards a greater intra-Protestant community. On the church-political level, aspirations for the greater independence of the Protestant churches were not fulfilled, until the synods were granted the right to participate in decision-making, first in Baden and then around 1873-1876 in Prussia. In the synods, the so-called Positive Union emerged as the new dominant party within the church, until the disempowerment of the Hofpredigerpartei in the final decade of the century ended its hegemony.