Thomas Schirrmacher

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Thomas Schirrmacher
Schirrmacher and Ecumenical Patriarch.jpg
Thomas Schirrmacher in discussion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Churches Bartholomäus I. in Istanbul
Born June 25th, 1960
Schwelm in Germany
Residence Bonn in Germany[1]
Nationality German
Other names Širmacher, Tomas (lit); Širmacheris, Tomas (lit); Širrmahers, Tomass (lit)[2]
Citizenship German
Employer Martin Bucer Seminary
Known for Christian moral philosophy
Religion Christian
Denomination Reformed
Spouse(s) Christine Schirrmacher
Children Two
Thomas Schirrmacher, 2011

Thomas Schirrmacher (born June 25, 1960[3][4]) holds a chair in theology (ethics, missions, world religions),[5] is a Christian moral philosopher and a specialist in the sociology of religion.

He is professor of the sociology of religion at the West University of Timişoara[6] and university lecturer in systematic theology at the Freie Theologische Hochschule Gießen[7][8][9][10] and Chairman of the theological commission of the World Evangelical Alliance.[10][11]

Since 1996 he is the rector of the Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes, a theological seminary seated in Bonn, Germany with campuses in several European countries.[5][7][12] Since 2008 he is the director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom[5] with offices in Bonn, Cape Town and Colombo.


Academic and pastoral career[edit]

Thomas Schirrmacher holds chairs in ethics, in world religions and in international development in Germany, Romania, USA and India. He holds the following degrees: M.Th. (Staatsunabhängige Theologische Hochschule Basel (FETA), Switzerland), Dr.theol. (Ecumenical Theology & Missiology, TU Kampen, Netherlands), Ph. D. (Cultural Anthropology, PWU,[13] Los Angeles - unaccredited), Th. D. (Ethics, WTS, Lakeland, Florida), Dr. phil. (Sociology of Religion, State University, Bonn, Germany), honorary doctorates: D.D. (Cranmer Theological House, Shreveport), D.D. (Acts University, Bangalore,. India).[7][14]

Schirrmacher graduated from the FETA Basel in 1982[5] and earned his doctorates in theology (missiology and Ecumenics) from the Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Dutch: Theologische Universiteit Kampen voor de Gereformeerde Kerken)[relevant? ] in Kampen (Netherlands) in 1985,[5] a Phd in Cultural Anthropology from the Pacific Western University, LA in 1989 and in theology (Ethics) from the Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL in 1996. He earned an honorary doctorate from the Cranmer Theological House in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1997.[7] 2007 he earned a PhD in Comparative Religions / Sociologiy of Religion at State University of Bonn in 2007. He got honorary doctorates form the Cranmer Theological House and the Acts University in Bangalore.[5]

From 1982 to 1986 he was pastor in Bonn and Erftstadt, Germany. Later he was Theologian of the Evangelical Free Church in Bonn. From 1998 to 2000 pastor of the Free Reformed Church in the same town.[5]

From 1994 to 1998 he was professor of missions[5] at the Philadelphia Theological Seminary and since 1995 he is professor for systematic theology at the Whitefield Theological Seminary.[7]

Since 1996 he has been rector of Martin Bucer Theological Seminary, which has 11 campuses in Europe.[12] There he also is professor for systematic theology, missiology and religious studies.[7]

He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gebende Hände gGmbH (German: Giving Hands charitable Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung), an internationally active relief organisation.[15][16][17]

He has authored and edited 74 books, which have been translated into 14 languages.[2][18][19] He is especially known for his works on religion in Nazi-Germany.[20][21]

He is on the board of the German section of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR)[10][22] since 2005. He is manager of the Religious Liberty Commission of the German and the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, and director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance.[10] He was elected president in 2014.[23]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Christine Schirrmacher who holds a doctorate in Islamic Studies from the State University of Bonn, Germany, and is professor of Islamic Studies in Belgium. They have two children together.[7][24][25]



Schirrmacher rejects the Adiaphorists, who accept every state authority without exception, and derives from Romans 13 that Christians should only elect representatives who have proved that they themselves act according to God's law and apply it to others. Christians have to obey to the authority of the state only as long as it is a Rechtsstaat (a 'legal state', compare rule of law).[26] He also wrote about Precarity (existence without predictability or security) in Germany.[27][28]

Schirrmacher states that liturgy invariably expresses doctrine, even if a congregation states not to have a liturgy at all. He approves every form of arts, including music in church service, because God gave man the ability to create and adore arts. According to him every art is Christian art.[29][30]

In the field of pastoral care, Schirrmacher advocates being very careful in telling someone God's will, because in many situations there are no divine orders which are applicable every time and on every place.[31]

Schirrmacher views Marxism as a secular form of the Judeochristian religion.[clarification needed][32][33]

Schirrmacher scrutinised the Old Testament for statements on Missiology and states that God not only speaks to pagans with judgement but also provides them with salvation through conversion and the promise of the Messiah. He predominantly is interested in the arguments of the Old Testament for the mission in the New Testament.[34]


In Hitlers Kriegsreligion ('Hitler's War Religion'), Schirrmacher wrote about Adolf Hitler's religious self-perception and his loss of his Catholic faith. He combines the theories of intentionalism, the view that Hitler's program was expression of his inner conviction and of functionalism, that Hitler wrote his program only to maintain his power. For Schirrmacher both answers are correct: one answers to the How? and the other to the Why?.[35][36] He holds Hans Naumann not for a racist but for a propagandist of the Nazis.[37][38][importance?]


Books (Selection)[edit]

  • Thomas Schirrmacher: Human Rights Threatened in Europe.
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: Hitlers Kriegsreligion: [die Verankerung der Weltanschauung Hitlers in seiner religiösen Begrifflichkeit und seinem Gottesbild]. Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, 2007. 3 Volumes, ISBN 978-3-938116-31-9 (German)
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: Anwalt der Liebe: Martin Bucer als Theologe und Seelsorger : Beiträge zum 450. Todestag des Reformators. Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, 2002, ISBN 9783932829338 (German)
  • Thomas Schirrmacher (ed.): Calvin and World Mission: Essays. Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft 2009, ISBN 978-3938116845[39]
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: The persecution of Christians concerns us all : towards a theology of martyrdom ; [70 biblical theological theses written for the German Evangelical Alliance]. erl. für Kultur und Wiss. Bonn 2001. 3-932829-41-7 (English), 978-3-928936-62-0 (Swahili))
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: World mission: Heart of Christianity. (PDF) RVB, Hamburg 2008. ISBN 978-3-928936-37-8
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: Hope for Europe : 66 propositions. VTR Nürnberg 2002 (in 14 languages[40])
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: Theodor Christlieb und seine Missionstheologie. Dissertation. Verlag und Schriftenmission der Evangelischen Gesellschaft für Deutschland, 1985, ISBN 3878572093[41]

Articles (Selection)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Medical Killing – An Evangelical Perspectiv". Oxford Journals: Swets & Zeitlinger. 
  2. ^ a b "DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. 
  3. ^ "Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. h.c. Thomas Paul Schirrmacher". Professorenforum: Campus Crusade for Christ, Germany. 
  4. ^ Who is Who in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 6 (1999), Wien.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biographie of Thomas Schirrmacher". Contra Mundum. p. rear flap text. 
  6. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher (2011-05-16). "Positions". Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Personal- und Vorlesungsverzeichnis". FTH Gießen. 2010-08-17. p. 10. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  8. ^ "Thomas Schirrmacher (West University of Timisoara) Books". 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  9. ^ "Wissenschaftlicher Beirat des DIJG". German Institute for Youth and Society. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Schirrmacher, Prof. Dr. Thomas". Deutsche Welle. 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  11. ^ "Dozenten Freie Theologische Hochschule Gießen". 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  12. ^ a b "Martin Bucer Seminar: Akademische Vita". Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  13. ^ "Publikationsansicht: "Der göttliche Volkstumsbegriff" und der "Glaube an Deutschlands Grösse und heilige Sendung": Hans Naumann als Volkskundler und Germanist im Nationalsozialismus; eine Materialsammlung mit Daten zur Geschichte der Volkskunde an den Universitäten Bonn und Köln / (2000)". magazine.One UG, Berlin. 
  14. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher with additional essays by Dr. Susanne Lux and Dr. Christine Schirrmacher. "Human Rights Threatened in Europe". Contra Mundum. p. rear flap text. 
  15. ^ "Kuratioriumsvorsitzender von Gebende Hände". 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  16. ^ Karl Farmer Individuelle Freiheit oder staatliche Lenkung?: Markt und Staat im Lichte christlicher Wirtschaftsethik. LIT Verlag Münster, 2000. ISBN 3825850749, page 255.
  17. ^ South African Missiological Society: Missionalia. The Society, 2005. Volume 33, page 193.
  18. ^ "Bücher nach Erscheindungsjahr von Christina und Thomas Schirrmacher verfasst oder herausgegeben". Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft. April 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. 
  19. ^ "Prof. Dr. mult. Thomas Schirrmacher, D.D.". Freie Theologische Hochschule Gießen. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  20. ^ Holger Dainat, Lutz Danneberg: Literaturwissenschaft und Nationalsozialismus. M. Niemeyer, 2003, ISBN 9783484350991, p. 429.
  21. ^ Christiaan Janssen: Abgrenzung und Anpassung: deutsche Kultur zwischen 1930 und 1945 im Spiegel der Referatenorgane Het Duitsche Boek und De Weegschaal. Waxmann Verlag, 2003, ISBN 9783830913351, p. 184-186.
  22. ^ ""Wer" ist die IGFM". (in German). International Society for Human Rights (ISHR). 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  23. ^ "German expert on human trafficking and freedom of religion elected as President of the International Society for Human Rights". 26 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "ISLAM – Religion of Violence or Peace?: Reflections concerning the events of September 11th, 2001". Dr. Christine Schirrmacher.
  25. ^ "Neu im Hauptvorstand: Dr. Christine Schirrmacher und Ekkehart Vetter - Deutsche Evangelische Allianz". 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  26. ^ Michael Hausin: Staat, Verfassung und Politik aus der Sicht der Evangelikalen Bewegung innerhalb des deutschen Protestantismus. 2010, ISBN 9783640709601, p. 98.
  27. ^ Daniel Rahn, Svenja Christ: Die Neue Unterschicht. GRIN Verlag, 2010, ISBN 9783640737567, pp. 2, 5, 9. 16.
  28. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher: "Die neue Unterschicht -Armut in Deutschland." Hänssler, 2007, ISBN 9783775146746.
  29. ^ Friedhelm Haas: Gottesdienst im Spannungsfeld zwischen Liberalität und Orthodoxie 2007, ISBN 9783638796088, pp. 31, 71.
  30. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher: Gottesdienst ist mehr: Plädoyer für eine liturgische Gottesdienstgestaltung. Bonn: Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft 1998, ISBN 393282900X.
  31. ^ Reinhard Scheerer: Seelsorge und/oder Psychotherapie?: Eine(Er)Klärung. 2010, ISBN 9783839180921, p. 76.
  32. ^ Klaus Hildebrand: Zwischen Politik und Religion: Studien zur Entstehung, Existenz und Wirkung des Totalitarismus. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2003, ISBN 3486567489, p. 121.
  33. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher: Säkulare Religionen. Aufsätze zum religiösen Charakter von Nationalsozialismus und Kommunismus. Bonn 2002, pp. 45 ff.
  34. ^ Siegbert Riecker: Mission im Alten Testament? Ein Forschungsüberblick mit Auswertung. Verlag Otto Lembeck, 2008, ISBN 9783874765695, p. 118 f.
  35. ^ Mark Bothe: Adolf Hitler – eine religiöse Figur?: Über Religiöses Selbstbild und Fremdwahrnehmung Adolf Hitlers. GRIN Verlag, 2009, ISBN 9783640291748, p. 4.
  36. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher: Hitlers Kriegsreligion. Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, 2007, ISBN 9783938116319.
  37. ^ Christiaan Janssen: Abgrenzung und Anpassung: deutsche Kultur zwischen 1930 und 1945 im Spiegel der Referatenorgane Het Duitsche Boek und De Weegschaal. Waxmann Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3830913354, p. 184.
  38. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher: ‘Der göttliche Volkstumsbegriff’ und der ‘Glaube an Deutschalnds Größe und heilige Sendung’. Hans Nauman als Volkskundler und Germanist im Nationalsozialismus. Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, Bonn 1992, ISBN 3932829166, p. 26.
  39. ^ Helmut Zander (2011-02-21). "Eine Studie von Thomas Schirrmacher" [Hitlers Religion]. (in German). NZZ. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  40. ^ "DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  41. ^ Is cited in: Victor Herdt; Dietmar Neutatz: Gemeinsam getrennt. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009, ISBN 9783447058339, p. 165.
  42. ^ Schirrmacher, Thomas. "Leopold von Ranke regarding my Grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher". Thomas Schirrmacher. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 

External links[edit]