This article examines sermons delivered by Confessing Church pastors in the Nazi dictatorship during World War II, and specifically explores the messages of opposition against the regime. The approach of most historians has focused on the history of the Christian institutions, its leaders, and its persecution by the Nazi regime, leaving the most elemental task of the pastor - that is, preaching - largely unexamined. To understand Confessing Church opposition during World War II, I have analyzed 255 sermons delivered in pulpits, published in pamphlets, and broadcast over the airwaves. Furthermore, I have examined sermons delivered "out in the open" in German society, in an underground seminary, over British Broadcasting Corporation radio programming, in concentration camps, and in lands of exile. I argue that the Confessing Church opposed the Nazi regime on three fronts during wartime: the Nazi persecution of the German churches and Christians; the contradictions between National Socialism as a "false ideology" and Christianity; and the Nazi persecutions of Jews and Judaism, with the underlying assertion that Jews are God's people and the Hebrew Bible is a foundation of Christianity. My research demonstrates that the German churches were in fact places to offer criticism of the Nazi regime, even in wartime, which was often veiled through biblical references and imagery.
Skiles, William S.. "Protests from the Pulpit: The Confessing Church and the Sermons of World War II." Sermon Studies (Journal) 1.1 (2017) : 1-23. https://mds.marshall.edu/sermonstudies/vol1/iss1/1