Protestants: A Defender of the Church

"I have lived my life for my church, not for any direction within the church, not for any theological school, not for any special task of the church, but for the church as a whole." Thus, in 1960, did Protestant Bishop Otto Dibelius sum up his career in what he called his ecclesiastical testament. For the longtime head of Germany's Evangelical (Lutheran) Church, who died after a stroke and erysipelas last week at 86, it was a fitting self-appraisal.

In the 20th century, no man spoke up more strongly for the freedom of the church than Otto Dibelius. A stern,...

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