Thomas Schirrmacher

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Thomas Schirrmacher
Selfie am 82 Geburstag des Papstes 17 12 2017.jpg
Thomas Schirrmacher and Pope Francis on his 82th birthday (2017-12-17)
BornJune 25th, 1960
ResidenceBonn in Germany[1]
Other namesŠirmacher, Tomas (lit); Širmacheris, Tomas (lit); Širrmahers, Tomass (lit)[2]
EmployerMartin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes
Known forChristian moral philosophy, human rights, religious freedom
Spouse(s)Christine Schirrmacher

Thomas Schirrmacher is a Christian moral philosopher and a specialist in the Sociology of Religion and Religious freedom. He is known as a global human rights activist and holds a chair in Theology (Ethics, Missiology, World Religions).

Schirrmacher serves the World Evangelical Alliance as Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns (responsible for Theology, Intrafaith Relations, Inter-faith Religious Freedom) and as Chair of the Theological Commission. Since 2014 he is president of the International Society for Human Rights.[3]



Thomas Schirrmacher was born on June 25, 1960[4] to the german professor of Telecommunications engineering Bernd Schirrmacher and his wife Ingeborg. His great-grandfather was the historian Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher. Thomas Schirrmacher is married to Christine Schirrmacher who is professor of Islamic Studies in Bonn, Germany.


Thomas Schirrmacher studied theology from 1978 to 1982 at STH Basel (Switzerland) and since 1983 Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Religion at University of Bonn. He earned a Drs. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenism at Theological University (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1984, and a Dr. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenics at Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1985, a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Pacific Western University[5] (today: California Miramar University) in Los Angeles (CA) in 1989, a Th.D. in Ethics at Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland (FL) in 1996, and a Dr. phil. in Comparative Religion and Sociology of Religion at University of Bonn in 2007. In 1997 he got honorary doctorates (D.D.) from Cranmer Theological House and in 2006 from Acts University in Bangalore.


Schirrmacher at the President of Albania 2015

Between 1982 and 1986 Schirrmacher was pastor of several church communities in Bonn. Since 1996 he is the president of the Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes, a theological seminary seated in Bonn, Germany with campuses in several countries.[6] From 1994 to 1998 Schirrmacher was professor of missions at the Philadelphia Theological Seminary and since 1995 he is professor for systematic theology at the Whitefield Theological Seminary.[7] He is professor of the sociology of religion at the West University of Timişoara.[8]

Schirrmacher 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.[9] He is member of the commission for religious freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance and since 2008 president of the International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Brussels/Geneva, Cape Town, Colombo, Brasília).[10] He also is their speaker for human rights.[11] According to media he is one of the leading experts on the topic of persecution of christians.[12] Several times he was speaking as expert on human rights in the German Parliament.[13] In October 2015 he was the only evangelical member of the catholic synod on family lead by Pope Francis.[14] He is president of the International Society for Human Rights,[15] manager of the Religious Liberty Commission of the German and the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, and director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom with regional offices for most continents: Brasilia (Latin America), Brussels/Bonn (Europe), Cape Town (Africa), Colombo and Dehlki (Asia), which cooperates with the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief[16].

Another main focus of the work of Schirrmacher besides religious freedom in the area of human rights is the fight against Human trafficking.

He speaks with church leaders like Pope Benedict XVI,[17] Pope Francis,[18] and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and gives lectures all around the world. He is also consultant of the Faith and Order Commission, the Theological Commission of the World Council of Churches, Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany (ZOCD)[19], and Member of the International Committee of the Global Christian Forum[20].

He has authored and edited more than 90 books, which have been translated into 17 languages.[21][22]


Schirrmacher received the following honours:

  • Magister Praetor Order of merit for achievements relating to the planning of a civic central council of Christians in the Near East and Middle East (Oriental Christian Council) and for promoting the House of Ghassan, specifically noting “that he [enabled] the House’s personal contact to Pope Francis and to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”[23]
  • Knight Grand Cross the highest order of the knightly order “The Sacred Order of Michael Archangel” for his efforts in the cause of human rights and religious freedom in the Near and Middle East[24]


Books (Selection)[edit]

Articles (Selection)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Medical Killing – An Evangelical Perspectiv". Oxford Journals. Swets & Zeitlinger.
  2. ^ "Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek" (in German). DE: D-NB. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21.
  3. ^ "ISHR – At a glance". International Society for Human Rights..
  4. ^ Who is Who in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Wien, 1999.
  5. ^ "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". magazine.One UG (in German). Berlin: Scientific commons. 2000. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23..
  6. ^ "Dr. Schirrmacht at". Martin Bucer Seminary.
  7. ^ Administrative Bulletin of Whitefield Theological Seminary
  8. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher at
  9. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher at Gebende Hände.
  10. ^ "Dr. Schirrmacht at". International Institute for Religious Freedom.
  11. ^ An example of his lectures: Statement concern about muslim states actions regarding Religious Freedom.
  12. ^ So he is for example mentioned by the BBC concerning the question "Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year?“. In 2013 he was involved in a documentary on the Persecution of Christian of the second german TV-Channel ZDF: Gefährlicher Glaube. See also on this topic Schirrmachers book: The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All.
  13. ^ Events of Thomas Schirrmacher in the German Parliament.
  14. ^ Schirrmachers reports of the Synod were published by Christianity Today: Inside the Vatican Synod on Family. Another interview on the Synod with Thomas Schirrmacher was published on Rome Reports.
  15. ^ ISHR at a glance.
  16. ^ Freedom of Religion or Belief
  17. ^ The Pope’s Resignation Did Not Come as Such a Great Surprise - An Interview with Thomas Schirrmacher.
  18. ^ Schirrmacher: ‘Debating Catholic leaders with a Bible in your hand is much easier nowadays’.
  19. ^ Zentralrat Orientalischer Christen in Deutschland
  20. ^ Global Christian Forum News
  21. ^ "Books published by Dr Schirrmacher". Thomas Schirrmacher.
  22. ^ "Thmomas Schirrmacher im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". DNB.
  23. ^ Bonn Profiles – Press Reports: Thomas Schirrmacher receives the Order of Merit from the Royal House of Ghassan for his Activities relating to Human Rights in the Middle East
  24. ^ Thomas Schirrmacher listet at the Officers of Sacred Order of Saint Michael Archangel
  25. ^ "Katalog". D-NB. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  26. ^ Zander, Helmut (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.
  27. ^ Schirrmacher, Thomas. "Leopold von Ranke regarding my Grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher". Thomas Schirrmacher. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2012.

External links[edit]