We are a Baptist church (Evangelisch-Freikirchliche) The term “Evangelisch-Freikirchliche” (evangelical free church) exists only in Germany. We are known worldwide as “Baptists“. The fact that we are “evangelical” means that our roots lie in the Reformation, which began in Wittenberg in 1517 when Martin Luther published his 95 theses (Evangelical Lutheran Church). In 1523, the Protestant Reformed Church (Fulda-Reformierte Kirche) was founded in Geneva by Huldrich Zwingli in Zurich and Jean Calvin in Geneva. Then, as the third wing of the Reformation (also called the left or radical wing), the Baptist movement began with Balthasar Hubmaier as the leading theologian. At the beginning of 1525, the first Baptist church was founded in Zurich, which carried out baptism by full submersion, just as the first Christians did; for people who had chosen faith for themselves and without coercion. Later those critical of the movement gave us the name “Baptists”, derived from the term “baptism”. Resistance and persecution not only scattered the Baptists, but also spread them around the world. After 1609 the first Baptist congregations formed in England.
The “sola scriptura”, or “only the Holy Scripture”, is common to the various branches of the Reformed Church. The Bible alone is the foundation and standard for faith and life. This includes the belief in Jesus Christ as “the only Redeemer” and the justification of the sinner through faith and grace.
And what does “freikirchlich” mean? The term “Freikirche” was first encountered in 1843 in the “Free Church of Scotland”, a separation from the Scottish state church. Against the background of the state church, (Staatskirche, Volkskirche and Landeskirche), the free church movement split away. The Baptists understanding of “free-church”, on the basis of the “sola scriptura”, can also be understood as “voluntarily” instead of “free”.
Separation of State and Church: The separation of state and church means being consciously independent and free from any state influence on ecclesiastical affairs, and free from privileges on the part of the state. This is particularly true in the area of training and finance. In Germany most churches are financed by church taxes, which are administered by the government. Instead of church taxes, the Baptist church deals with all money matters through voluntary donations. Advocating freedom of conscience and religion as an elementary human right is part of this ethos.
Federation of Evangelical-Free Church Communities: As Baptist churches, we are united in a covenant. While the autonomy of the individual community is preserved, major tasks such as education, training, and social work are managed together. This includes relations within the Baptist World Federation (BWA) as well as to other churches (Evangelical Alliance, Ecumenism). In Germany the first Baptist community was founded in 1834 in Hamburg. Our branch in Daimlerstraße was founded in 1902. In the “Federation of Protestant Churches in Germany (BEFG)”, approximately 900 branches are affiliated with approximately 87,000 members. The Baptist World Federation currently represents about 42 million members in more than 200 countries with more than 100 million church attendants. Federation of Evangelical-Free Church Communities Germany (KdöR)