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Kyrklig förnyelse (name translates "church revival" or "churchly renewal", published in 1935) is a manifesto of the Scandinavian Lutheran High Church movement, written by Swedish priest Gunnar Rosendal.

"Kyrklig förnyelse" was the first of many books by Rosendal that would advocate High Church theology and Catholic liturgical renewal of the worship within the Church of Sweden. It was soon followed by "Kyrklig förnyelse i församlinskyrkan" (church revival in parish church), where he answers to the discussion aroused by the book. Both these books were written, when Rosendal already had practised his reform in his own parish.

Content of the book

"Kyrklig förnyelse" has a comprehensive vision of what was needed for the Church. Rosendal proposed four features as basic to the Church: its confessional, sacramental, hierarchical and liturgical character: Book of Concord, sacraments, holy orders and liturgy. These four features each have their own chapter. Preaching of the Word and the Sacrament of the Altar must be the center of Christian life. Baptism must be more than a rite at birth; it must set its mark on the Christian life. The pastoral leadership of the hierarchy needed to be revitalized. The liturgy must be a witness to heavenly beauty and also to give expression to the whole meaning of the sacraments. The last chapter includes a warning. For those who see "danger of Roman Catholicism" in the revival, Rosendal points out that there is indeed a Roman danger, but it comes, if Catholic renewal is not carried through. In that case people will find One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church from the Church of Rome instead of State Church.

Estimate

"Kyrklig förnyelse" has become a classic. It has been inspiring especially to them, who have background in Pietist revival movements within Lutheran State Churches, but realize the problems of Pietism. Rosendal also challenges German liberal Neo-Protestantism and pointing the problems and fruit in parishes using his sense of humour. Rosendal is able to give a new, third, alternative for reform.

Rosendal's manifesto has had huge influence in Scandinavian Lutheranism, especially in Sweden, where it eventually inspired the foundation of the Swedish Church Union, Arbetsgemenskapen Kyrklig Förnyelse.

Rosendal's prophecy about growth of Roman Catholic Church in Sweden has become true, while liberal Church of Sweden has given less and less room for theologically orthodox High Church movement.

References

  • A High Church Pioneer. article in St. Ansgar’s Bulletin No. 101 March 2005. (published by St. Ansgar’s Scandinavian Catholic League, New York NY)
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