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Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
  • A pastor who hated religiosity
  • An evangelist who rejected proselytism
  • A politician who lost faith in politics
  • Plough is the primary source for Blumhardt’s writings in English translation
Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842–1919) was born in Möttlingen, Germany, at the very time his father, Johann Christoph Blumhardt, was engaged in the amazing events recounted in Plough’s book The Awakening. The younger Blumhardt was raised in an atmosphere of the reality of the presence of God, where faith was lived out practically and miracles came naturally. As his father had done before him, he began training for the ministry, studying theology at Tübingen. However, he became disillusioned with theology and decided, in 1869, to return home to Bad Boll to support his father in his healing ministry. In 1880 the elder Blumhardt died, and the son carried on his father’s work.  Read Full Biography

Like his father, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt soon became renowned as an evangelist and faith healer. But after a successful “crusade” in Berlin in 1888, he drastically cut back both activities, saying, “I do not want to suggest that it is of little importance for God to heal the sick; actually, it is now happening more and more often, although very much in quiet. However, things should not be promoted as though God’s kingdom consists in the healing of sick people. To be cleansed is more important than to be healed. It is more important to have a heart for God’s cause.”

Blumhardt’s interest gradually took “a turn to the world,” focusing upon the great socioeconomic issues of his day. He chose to cast his lot with Democratic Socialism, the much-maligned workers’ movement. Although it brought on the wrath of both civil and ecclesiastical establishments, he addressed protest rallies, ran for office, and was elected to a six-year term in the Württemberg legislature. Blumhardt began as an energetic legislator but soon became disillusioned with party politics and declined to stand for a second term of office, resuming his pastorate at Bad Boll until his death in 1919.

Blumhardt believed one of the greatest dangers to human progress was “Christianity” – Sunday religion that separated material existence from the spiritual and that erected rituals and practices of self-seeking, self-satisfying, otherworldly piousness instead of practical works and righteous living. His witness profoundly influenced theological giants like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Emil Brunner, Oscar Cullman, and Karl Barth, yet is still waiting to be discovered in much of the English-speaking world. To that end, Plough has published several collections of Blumhardt’s writings, including Everyone Belongs to God, Action in Waiting, and Evening Prayers.

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