The Church Association for the Inner Mission in Denmark

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This article is about the Danish religious movement. For the German movement, see Inner Mission.

The Churchly Association for the Inner Mission in Denmark (Danish: Kirkelig Forening for den Indre Mission i Danmark), or in short Inner Mission (Danish: Indre Mission) is a conservative Lutheran Christian organisation in Denmark. It is the largest revival movement within the Danish National Church. Despite its name, people do not belong to the Inner Mission as members separate from other congregations. Instead the group is organised as a foundation to support congregational activities and is led by a self-supplying board.

History[edit]

The movement was founded 13 September 1861 in the village of Stenlille on Zealand. The movement had its background in pietist and Lutheran orthodox traditions. The term Inner Mission in the name implied domestic mission, directed at Christened people, as opposed to the many organisations dedicated to mission in foreign countries and among pagans.

The movement was influential in temperance work, various collective initiatives in rural communities, and otherwise efforts to 'civilise' the people of the 19th century. Many poor people found in the movement a community where they could be on equal terms with more wealthy members of society, as it stressed the creation of Christian fellowship through a variety of group activities. As a movement within the National Church, the Inner Mission is believed to have halted the outflow of church members to charismatic free churches and sects. In Denmark, these never got the following they did in other countries, for example Sweden.

The founding family of the LEGO company and many of its workers in the central Jutland village of Billund were adherents of the Inner Mission movement. In 1952 the company produced a glow in the dark cross, one of its only known religious artifacts.

Contemporary movement[edit]

A substantial number of adherents, but not all, can be described as Bible fundamentalists. It also stressed Lutheran teachings, so was not an ecumenical movement. In recent years less uniform doctrines have emerged. Traditional dogmas were opposition to drinking, dancing, card play, swearing and Sunday work.

Traditionally, Inner Mission had its stronghold in rural western Jutland, but many communities elsewhere in Denmark, such as Haslev on Zealand and some towns, have been influenced by the movement. It is now a minority in most parishes where it is represented. Once it had about 1,000 so-called mission houses around Denmark, of which about 400 remain in use. These were (and are) meeting houses for Sunday school, prayer, spiritual and revivalist lectures, etc. Today the headquarters is in Fredericia.

In fiction[edit]

The earlier part of Ken Follett's novel Hornet Flight, taking place in World War II Nazi-occupied Denmark, is set in West Jutland community dominated by the Inner Mission. The protagonist - a rebellious young man - comes into a head-on conflict with his father, a strict clergyman. In later parts of the book, the conflict is resolved when the protagonist becomes involved in the anti-Nazi resistance and is supported by his father.

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