Prussian Union of Churches - Doctrinal Sources

Doctrinal Sources

Belief and teaching were based on a number of confessions accepted by the church. These were the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcaldic Articles, Luther's Large Catechism as well as his Small Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism. Some Lutheran congregations within the Church also accepted the Formula of Concord. Whereas congregations of French Reformed tradition agreed to teach in harmony with the Gallic Confession and the Discipline ecclésiastique. Through the Polish annexation and expulsion of parishioners the Pomeranian Evangelical Church had lost all its united Protestant and Reformed congregations, thus having become purely Lutheran. Among its accepted confessions of faith were only Lutheran ones.

After the ecclesiastical provinces had assumed independence between 1945 and 1950 they characterised themselves differently. Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony and Silesia conceived themselves as churches of the Lutheran Reformation, with the Saxon provincial church comprising core places of Luther's life and work (Wittenberg, Eisleben). The churches of Berlin-Brandenburg, Saxony and Silesia comprised mostly Lutheran congregations, some Reformed congregations (Silesia after the Polish annexation and expulsion of parishioners a single one) and few united Protestant congregations.

In Berlin-Brandenburg the Reformed congregations formed an own deanery (Kirchenkreis) not delineated along territorial boundaries but confessional differences. The Reformed deanery continued to exist after the merger of Berlin-Brandenburg with the church in Silesian Upper Lusatia now also including the Silesian Reformed congregation. The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and that of Westphalia are churches united in administration according to the self-conception. Whereas many Rhenish congregations are indeed united in confession, the Westphalian church sees Lutheran and Reformed traditions as equally ranked. The Evangelical State Church of Anhalt again is a church united in confession with all its congregations being united in confession too.

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