World War II Reparations

World War II Reparations

When Poland’s nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party took power in 2015, it began calling for reparations to be paid by Germany for World War II. The most recent effort to begin talks on reparations was in October of 2022 and was quickly dismissed by Germany, with the foreign minister stating that the issue had already been decided. Poland’s deputy foreign minister claimed that Germany’s response showed disrespect for Poles. The estimated devastation caused to Poland was approximately $1.4 trillion, however, in 1953 Poland’s government declined all rights to claim reparations. Only when PiS took power in 2015 did the issue of reparations become a major talking point and a political platform spurring the constituents towards nationalism.

Both Poland and Germany are in need of church planters and missionaries to share with the citizens the hope and peace found in Jesus Christ. Germany is a multicultural nation with large numbers of immigrants, and Poland is recovering from years of poverty under communism. In Germany, 2% of the population is evangelical while in Poland the percentage is 0.3. The unreached in Poland is 1% and in Germany is 4%. What unites both countries is the fact the God loves each and every individual and cares about their wellbeing in this life and the next. Please pray for more workers to take the gospel to the people of Poland and Germany.

A Bold Message

A Bold Message

In recent weeks, climate activists have organized numerous protests throughout European cities to draw attention to their cause. Although based in different countries, the groups are affiliated with one another and have coordinated similar demonstrations. In the UK, protestors dumped soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; at the Louvre, cake was smeared on the Mona Lisa; in The Hague, an attack was also made on Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. In Potsdam, Germany, the activists threw mashed potatoes on Monet’s Haystack painting. In addition to the artwork, the Natural History Museum in Berlin saw an attack on a dinosaur skeleton. Many environmentalists do not agree with the attacks as the artwork does not increase or promote the climate crisis. Museums across Europe are currently increasing security and putting measures in place to protect the art and prevent further demonstrations.

The climate activists have most recently been accused of causing a traffic jam in Berlin that resulted in a cyclist being declared brain dead. Protestors blockaded a road, which prohibited emergency services from reaching the scene of the cyclist’s accident in time to offer valuable assistance. Two of the activists have been charged with a criminal offense due to obstructing emergency services. This tragic accident has turned more members of the public against the actions of environmental protestors.

Germany is in desperate need of Christians who are as bold and assertive in their message as the climate activists are in theirs. While it is a very diverse nation due to the rapid influx of immigrants beginning in 1989, some Germans resent the presence of so many foreigners and harbor bitterness toward immigrants. This bitterness and occasional violence directed towards immigrants are more pronounced in the eastern part of the country. Of the nearly 84 million people in Germany, 2% claim to be evangelical Christians. This nation has a rich and colorful culture, as well as a dark and troubled recent past, and is in need of missionaries and church planters to take the Gospel to the millions unreached.

Restriction of Pastor’s Free Speech in Bremen, Germany

Restriction of Pastor’s Free Speech in Bremen, Germany

In late 2020, a pastor in Bremen, Germany, was fined for “inciting hatred” against homosexuals in a highly publicized trial. The pastor, Olaf Latzel, addressed the biblical definition of marriage in a private Bible study group for couples in his church. The court system’s decision to fine Mr. Latzel for his remarks at a private event serves as a stern warning to other pastors and believers who would criticize a life style promoted by culture, but contrary to the Bible.

According to Latzel’s defense attorney, this decision sets a precedent for the suppression of free speech in Germany. From a Christian perspective, it also highlights the degradation of society and the desperate need for the gospel. Germany, although a Christianized nation, contains only 2% evangelical Christians. In a country of over 82 million people, there are only approximately 60 Baptist missionaries as of 2019. Please pray for more laborers for Germany, and strength and boldness for the Christians there taking a firm stand on the Bible.

Who Will Go to Germany? 83 Million People in Need of the Gospel

Who Will Go to Germany? 83 Million People in Need of the Gospel

There is much to love about Germany – great German engineering, beautiful castles, Bratwursts, football! But the primary concern of every Christian ought to be the 83 million people who live in Germany.

Though many Germans would claim to be “Christian,” very few would understand and believe the Biblical gospel. Operation World estimates that only 2.1% of the population are evangelicals, which would mean the number of born-again Christians is very low.

Despite periods of remarkable spiritual activity such as the Protestant Reformation, Germany is predominately a secular, materialistic society focused on education, work, wealth, and pleasure. Like all people, the Germans need the gospel.

Here are some interesting facts about Germany (source):

  • The second-most populous country in Europe.
  • The largest economy in Europe and the fourth-largest economy in the world.
  • Shares borders with 9 other European countries: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands
  • 22.5% of the population is of immigrant or partially immigrant descent.
  • Largest Urban Areas:
    1. Essen-Dusseldorf – 6,675,000
    2. Berlin – 4,085,000
    3. Cologne-Bonn – 2,115,000
    4. Hamburg – 2,095,000
    5. Munich – 2,000,000
    6. Frankfurt – 1,930,000
    7. Stuttgart – 1,385,000
    8. Dresde – 735,000
    9. Hannover – 715,000
    10. Nuremberg – 675,000

There are good German Christians and churches, but, no doubt, there are many areas of the country in dire need of evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting. And the number of missionaries to Germany is declining, at least from a North American mission standpoint.

A recent study of North American mission boards, showed that Baptist missionaries to Germany had declined from 111 in 1995 to 89 in 2003, and then to only 60 in 2019. That is a reduction of 46% in 24 years!

So, who will go the German people? Who will reach the urban areas with the gospel? Who will care for their souls? Who will reap the harvest that is there amongst the Germany people as well as the many immigrants from around the world? Will you?

To discuss ministry in Europe or anywhere else around the world, feel free to contact Vision Baptist Missions. We’d love to help you find your place in missions!

97th Largest City in the World: Cologne, Germany

97th Largest City in the World: Cologne, Germany

An Overview of Cologne

Cologne is the centre of the Cologne/Bonn Region with around 3 million inhabitants (including the neighboring cities of Bonn, Hürth, Leverkusen, and Bergisch Gladbach). According to local statistics, in 2006 the population density in the city was 2,528 inhabitants per square kilometre. 31.4 percent of the population has migrated there, and 17.2 percent of Cologne’s population is non-German. The largest group, comprising 6.3 percent of the total population, is Turkish. As of September 2007, there are about 120,000 Muslims living in Cologne, mostly of Turkish origin. Cologne also has the oldest and one of the largest Jewish communities in Germany. In the city, the population was spread out with 15.5% under the age of 18, 67.0% from 18 to 64 and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older (source).

Cologne (German: Köln) is Germany’s fourth largest city and the largest city in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC. Cologne lies on the River Rhine and is regularly affected by flooding from the river and is considered the most flood-prone European city. The University of Cologne is one of Europe’s oldest universities and the largest in Germany. Cologne’s international airport is Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN). The airport is shared with the neighbouring city of Bonn.

The city’s famous landmark and unofficial symbol is the Köln Cathedral, a Gothic church, started in 1248, and completed in 1880. It is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. Cologne also has twelve Romanesque Churches, illustrating examples of medieval sacral architecture. The roots of some of the churches date back as far as Roman times, and all the churches, with the exception of St. Maria Lyskirchen, were very badly damaged during World War II. Reconstruction was only finished in the 1990s. Other tourist attractions in the city are the Farina Fragrance museum (the birthplace of Eau de Cologne) and the Chocolate museum officially called Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (source).

Religion in Germany

Roman Catholicism, one of Germany’s two principal religions, traces its origins to the eighth-century missionary work of Saint Boniface. In the next centuries, Roman Catholicism made more converts and spread eastward. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Knights of the Teutonic Order spread German and Roman Catholic influence by force of arms along the southern Baltic Coast and into Russia. In 1517, however, Martin Luther challenged papal authority and what he saw as the commercialization of his faith. In the process, Luther changed the course of European and world history and established the second major faith in Germany–Protestantism (source).

The second largest religion is Islam with 3.3 million adherents (4%) followed by Buddhism and Judaism. During the last few decades, the two largest churches in Germany (the Protestant Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Roman Catholic Church), have lost significant number of adherents; both are down to roughly 30% (by the end of 2008). With 30.7 % as per the end of 2008, the Catholic Church is still close to its pre–World War II 1939 percentage of 33%.

The most notable losses occurred in the Protestant churches in East Germany largely owing to the atheistic policy under the communistic regime. However, since the fall of the communistic regime two decades ago, the EKD continued losing members, to just below 30% by the end of 2008. Other churches in Germany are all rather small (equal or less than 0.5%). As a result of re-unification (of East and West Germany), the number of Germans without a religion has grown, especially owing to the addition of the eastern states with their large non-religious majority. Due to losses of both the Protestant churches and the Catholic Church in Hamburg, this state has also joined the group of Bundesländer with a non-religious majority.

Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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