The German-Speaking Church
What Is the Opportunity?
Germany today faces similar challenges to those it faced five centuries ago. The land of Martin Luther largely lives in ignorance or outright rejection of the truth of the gospel. But now, the fog of Roman Catholicism has been replaced by the bleakness of secularism. Liberal theology has emptied the churches, leaving behind a largely nominal Christianity. Today, it is estimated that only about two percent of Germany’s population may be evangelical.1
Yet, our sovereign God still rules. There are faithful congregations scattered across the country, church planting efforts are underway, and trustworthy books are being published in German—including the Reformation Study Bible.
Over 120 million people speak German, making it the eleventh most spoken language in the world and influential globally in business and academic fields.2
In Austria, the Roman Catholic Church remains strong, and it is estimated that only 0.5 percent of the population there is evangelical.3 Switzerland (where German is the most spoken language) is an increasingly secular country, with almost a quarter of the population claiming no religious affiliation.4
Ligonier Ministries is seeking to serve German-speaking Christians with reliable teaching in print, online, and by participating in conferences in Germany.
How Is Ligonier Meeting These Needs?
We strive to reach German-speaking pastors, laypeople, and unbelievers from all walks of life through the following outreach efforts.
The Reformation Study Bible
As with the English edition, the German Reformation Study Bible has more than 1.1 million words of verse-by-verse commentary and topical explanations; maps and visual aids; trusted contributions from seventy-five distinguished scholars; theological summaries from Dr. R.C. Sproul; and nearly two thousand years of creeds, confessions, and catechisms. As Dr. Sproul said, “The light of the Reformation was the light of the Bible.” The same is true today.
The Ligonier Statement on Christology
Confusion abounds regarding Christology—the doctrine Christ—around the German-speaking world. As the church continues to grow, it is imperative that believers learn the truths of Scripture as summarized in the great confessions of faith. We produced The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology to help Christians know what the church has historically taught and regain clarity regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to distribute this statement worldwide, and it has already been translated into numerous languages, including German.
There have been over two thousand views on our short video Worum ging es bei der Reformation? (What Was the Reformation All About?), which was released online for the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. Social media is spreading biblical truth far and wide, as the printing press did for the Reformers, and it is equipping German-speaking Christians around the world.
Growing interest in Reformed theology has sparked an eagerness for more teaching resources from Dr. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. Our plans include translating, printing, and distributing the following titles from Reformation Trust:
- Baptism: Answers to Common Questions by Guy Richards
- Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology by R.C. Sproul
- The Crucial Questions booklet series by R.C. Sproul
Recently Published Books in German
- Are We Together?: A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism by R.C. Sproul
- The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul
- The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven Lawson
- The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther by Steven Lawson
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
- Justified by Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul
- Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul
- The Legacy of Luther edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols
- None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible by John MacArthur
- Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification by R.C. Sproul
- The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul
- Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible by various authors
- Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life by R.C. Sproul
- The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul
- Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons by R.C. Sproul
- What Is the Trinity? by R.C. Sproul
Recently Translated Teaching Series
- The Holiness of God (subtitled) with R.C. Sproul
What Is Needed?
- Digital outreach — $18,720 USD (annually)
- Translating and publishing four Crucial Questions titles — $13,080 USD (annually)
Funding needs reflect quoted estimates based on June 2020 foreign exchange rates and current translation fees.
How Do Your Gifts Help?
These are a few of many international outreach projects underway, and we ask you to prayerfully consider supporting this effort through financially giving or simply through praying for the German-speaking and global church. Your generosity helps us translate, print, and distribute trustworthy resources, providing countless opportunities to reach people of varying ages and callings.
Our policy is to apply gifts given toward a specific program. If we receive more contributions than can be wisely used for a given project, we apply these funds to meet other pressing needs in our outreach efforts. We are committed to stewarding all gifts wisely toward the goal of proclaiming the holiness of God to as many people as possible. Ligonier Ministries is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
1See https://germany.team.org/ as at May 8, 2020
2See https://www.rocketlanguages.com/blog/the-15-most-spoken-languages-in-the-world/ as at May 8, 2020
3See https://www.omusa.org/areas/country/austria and https://joshuaproject.net/countries/AU as at May 8, 2020
4See http://lenews.ch/2016/12/30/swiss-fact-more-than-40-of-the-population-is-not-religious-in-some-swiss-cantons/ as at May 8, 2020