The majority of Germans above the age of 40 still consider themselves “Christian” in some way. This does not mean, however, that they ever attend church or make any meaningful connection between the Christian faith and their lives. In fact, it does not even mean that they so much as know the basic facts of Christianity. It is a cultural hangover of Germany’s “Christian phase.”
The reality looks much different. The more conservative estimates, adding together membership rolls of Evangelical denominations and to an estimated number of evangelicals within the state churches, usually list a number of around 1-2% of evangelicals. I am convinced that even that number is far too optimistic. Church attendance ranks higher, at about 7-8% of the total population. Most of these, however, are Roman Catholics, for whom – whether believers or not – church attendance traditionally is still is a high priority.
About 25% of all Germans are self-confessed Atheists. On top of that, Germany has a Muslim population of 7-8%, which is rising quickly.
At this point in the history of German Christianity, a truly confessional church would be a unique ministry. There is currently virtually no Reformed presence at present.
There is the old state church (Landeskirche) including both Lutheran or Reformed branches, but it is liberal to the core and shows barely any signs of life. And then there is broad “evangelicalism”, which has little time or respect for the confessions and for classic, biblical Protestantism. Evangelicalism in Germany is for the most part rather hostile towards Reformed theology in general, often denying its own history and rootedness in Reformed faith where there was one.
In addition, there are a few handfuls of “Reformed” churches – Reformed baptists, Reformed charismatics, Reformed dispensationalists plus one or two confessionally Reformed congregations which are not part of any denomination. Germany has yet to see a clear and winsome presentation of the Reformed faith – one that is engaging, evangelistic, Gospel-centered and therefore God-centered.
“The Reformed Church is still needed in Germany, that that great and noble land may be protected from Rationalism on the one hand and Romanism on the other, and be able to do greater things in the future for God than ever she has done in the past. We trust that she will yet exert a most benign influence on the future history of the fatherland.”
Thus wrote James I. Good in his 1894 History of the Reformed Church of Germany. May it be so!