Positive Judicial Meeting on Evangelicals in Austria

Yesterday, I was at an EVAK school leadership meeting, something like the acting board for the EVAK, and again was really encouraged about the things I was hearing.  One of the members was late because he had just come from a meeting that was discussing the legal status of the free churches in Austria. Right now (free) evangelicals are not recognized by the government.[1]  Reinhold said it was a positive meeting and we were making progress even though we are not recognized.

Reinhold said the subject of evangelical instruction in schools was mentioned.  This is a long way from 35 years ago when evangelicals were thought of as a cult. In elementary schools they still provide release time, an hour or two in the school week where religion is taught by an approved religion teacher.  In Kati’s school the only classes provided are for Catholic, Lutheran[2]  and Islamic instruction even though her particular class has at least five or six children who are being raised by evangelical families, which I am positive is the highest concentration in one class in Vienna in the public schools!   I was very encouraged to hear this. It also made me wonder if the EVAK could at some point in time help train people to teach these religion classes when the time comes.

I am almost always encouraged to hear what some of our students are involved in.  Right now we have a few students who are starting their thesis.  As their proposals are worked out and they conduct their studies and research I think what they are focusing on will help Austrian Evangelicals better understand where they have come from as well as help with the current church challenges.  In the next few years, we will have graduates and I am curious to see how God will use these men and women in Austria.


[1] There are a few factors that are needed for this to happen 1) there has to be a certain number of the population 2) they have to be around for a certain number of years and 3) “ the powers that be” will approve the status to name the three big criteria that need to be in place before that can take place.

[2] I do want to make a comment here for those evangelical Lutherans and Catholics in North America.  One thing I have learned by living in different cultures is many times the same words are used in two different cultures but have very different connotations.  In America there are so many flavors of Lutherans and Catholics that there are many that do understand the gospel and are genuine followers of Christ. This is not the case here in Austria and in most places in Europe.

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