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Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig

1783-1872. Danish bishop and hymnwriter. In his youth he experienced a personal crisis that led him first to the Romantic view of nature and religion, later to a personal Christian faith and more clarified biblical convictions. Except for short periods of service as a pastor, he lived as an independent writer (1810-25), struggling for the reintroduction of an orthodox Lutheran Christianity. About 1824 he once more experienced a religious crisis, caused by biblical criticism, which seemed to him to make his former orthodox view of the Bible untenable. It was during this crisis that he made his “unique discovery.” This he published in 1825 in a pamphlet called Kirkens Genmaele (“The Church's Reply”), which argued that the sure foundation of faith is not to be found in the Bible, but in the living Word of God in his living congregation, i.e., in the risen Christ Himself, who lives and works in His congregation, when it gathers around the sacraments.