The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
The German Evangelical Alliance considered that the article of well-known magazine is poor journalism and contradicts reality.
Members of evangelical churches in Germany are “ultraconservative”, according to an article published by the well-known News magazine Der Spiegel. German’s Evangelical Alliance’s secretary general Hartmut Steeb said that the author did his job poorly.
The article was published in the latest edition (16 May) of the weekly magazine, under the title: “Evil spirits are a reality”, arguably quoting an evangelical church leader.
The opening paragraph reads: “Evangelical churches experience a rise in attendace to their services. This conservative Christians annoy the state Church – and delight the populists of Pegida and AfD.”
The report is three pages long and is announced on the front site of the magazine under another title: “Conservative Christians conquer Germany”.
“BIBLE BELT” IN DRESDEN REGION
According to the author, evangelicals in Germany have “ultraconservative values in the areas of sex, marriage and education.”
The author claims that the region around the city of Dresden (east of the country) has become “a type of Bible belt, which recalls the Bible-belt in the south of the USA, because the region is influenced both in the religious and political area by conservative, and sometimes fundamentalist attitudes.”
Evangelical leaders, always according to the article, have a “condescending view” on traditional Reformed theology, the author adds, because believers take the verses of the Bible “as the Word dictated by God.”
The article also claims that evangelical churches have links to nationalist and far-right movements like Pegida.
DEA REACTION: ARTICLE IS ILL RESEARCHED
Hartmut Steeb, secretary general of the German Evangelical Alliance (DEA), commented about the obscure evangelical portrait drawn by Der Spiegel (the alliance is described in the article as a kind of “evangelical central authority”).
In an interview with German agency Idea, Steeb questioned the “ability to research and the desire to tell the truth of the journalist”, and wondered if “the standards of journalism are still being used”.
Steeb said that the Evangelical Alliance has not its roots in the United States, but in London, where it was founded in 1846.
Also the claim that independent evangelical churches are seen as a problem by the German Protestant churches is not true, Steeb argued. The relationship between the German Evangelical Alliance and the Protestant Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) is good, as the member of the national board of the EKD Heinrich Bedford-Strohm said recently.
Other details like the alleged relationship between him or the evangelical movement with far right groups are fallacies or outright false. The article could not be taken seriously because many of the major claims in the article were baseless and no sources were provided, he concluded.