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Willibald Beyschlag

1823-1900. German Evangelical Church leader and publicist. He fought for a broadminded biblical Christianity, much concerned with national questions and living piety. He asked why the return to the traditional confessions had done so little to renew the spiritual life in the church. As a mediating theologian, he rejected both the Chalcedonian Christology and the rationalism of Strauss's* and Renan's* presentations of Jesus. Active as a religious journalist, he also founded the Evangelischen Vereinigung in 1876, an organization for the middle party in the church. He was always concerned about the problem of Roman Catholicism, having met it in aggressive form when in Trier (1850-56); he welcomed the Old Catholics, supported the Kulturkampf,* and in 1886 founded the Evangelischen Bundes zur Wahrung deutsch-protestanten Interessen to counter catholicizing influences within the Evangelical Church. Beyschlag was a strong supporter of the rights of the laity and of the autonomy of the church. In his day he had great power.