A study tour to Leipzig in the former East Germany (GDR) raised new questions for Roger Newell about the long struggle of the Protestant church with the German state in the twentieth century. How was it possible that a church, unable to stop the Nazis, helped bring a totalitarian government to its knees fifty years later? How did an institution marginalized in every way possible by the state education system, stripped of its traditional privileges, ridiculed by the government and the media as a dinosaur, become the catalyst for a transformation that enabled a great but troubled nation to be peacefully reunited--something unprecedented in German history? What were the connecting relationships and theological struggles that joined the church's failed resistance to Hitler with the peaceful revolution of 1989?
The chapters that follow tell the backstory of the theological debates and personal acts of faith and courage leading to the moment when the church became the cradle for Germany's only nonviolent revolution. The themes that emerge remain relevant for our own era of seemingly endless conflict.