Thomas Schirrmacher

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Thomas Schirrmacher
Selfie am 82 Geburstag des Papstes 17 12 2017.jpg
Thomas Schirrmacher and Pope Francis on his 82th birthday (2017-12-17)
BornJune 25th, 1960
Residence Bonn in Germany [1]
Nationality German
Other namesŠirmacher, Tomas (lit); Širmacheris, Tomas (lit); Širrmahers, Tomass (lit) [2]
Employer Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes
Known forChristian moral philosophy, human rights, religious freedom
Spouse(s) Christine Schirrmacher

Thomas Schirrmacher is a Christian moral philosopher and a specialist in the Sociology of Religion and Religious freedom. He is known as a global human rights activist and holds a chair in Theology (Ethics, Missiology, World Religions).

Human rights Inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled

Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being" and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin, or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution.

Ethics branch of philosophy that systematizes, defends, and recommends concepts of right and wrong conduct

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.

Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work. Missiology is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural field of study incorporating theology, anthropology, history, geography, theories and methods of communication, comparative religion, Christian apologetics, education methodology, and interdenominational relations. In European academia missiology recently has been renamed >intercultural theology<.


Schirrmacher serves the World Evangelical Alliance as Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns (responsible for Theology, Intrafaith Relations, Inter-faith Religious Freedom) and as Chair of the Theological Commission. Since 2014 he is president of the International Society for Human Rights. [3]

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is a global organization of evangelical Christian churches, serving more than 600 million evangelicals, founded in 1846 in London, England, United Kingdom to unite evangelicals worldwide. WEA is the largest international organization of evangelical churches, and is now headquartered in Chicago, Manila, and Bonn. It brings together 7 regional and 129 evangelical alliances of churches, and over 150 member organizations. Some of the national alliances include Protestant churches which are not traditional Evangelical churches in the strict sense. Moreover, the WEA includes a certain percentage of individual evangelical Christian churches. It is open for membership of individual evangelical Christians. The Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom, its founding member, is part of WEA.

The Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) was established in 1974 with Bruce Nicholls as director and John Langlois as administrator. It was built upon the Theological Assistance Program (TAP) which had been created following a decision of WEF in May 1968 to support and strengthen theological education in the Third World.

International Society for Human Rights voluntary association

The International Society for Human Rights is an international non-governmental, non-profit human rights organization with Participative Status with the Council of Europe and is a member of the Liaison Committee of the Non-Governmental Organisations at the Council of Europe. The ISHR has observer status with the African Commission of Human and Peoples' Rights. It has associate status with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations and Roster Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).



Thomas Schirrmacher was born on June 25, 1960 [4] to the german professor of Telecommunications engineering Bernd Schirrmacher and his wife Ingeborg. His great-grandfather was the historian Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher. Thomas Schirrmacher is married to Christine Schirrmacher who is professor of Islamic Studies in Bonn, Germany.

Telecommunications engineering engineering science that deals with the recording, transmission, processing and storage of messages

Telecommunications Engineering is an engineering discipline centered on electrical and computer engineering which seeks to support and enhance telecommunication systems. The work ranges from basic circuit design to strategic mass developments. A telecommunication engineer is responsible for designing and overseeing the installation of telecommunications equipment and facilities, such as complex electronic switching systems, and other plain old telephone service facilities, optical fiber cabling, IP networks, and microwave transmission systems. Telecommunication engineering also overlaps with broadcast engineering.

Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher was a German historian.

Christine Schirrmacher is a German academic who specialises in Islamic Studies. She is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn and at the Evangelical Theological Faculty (ETF), Leuven.


Thomas Schirrmacher studied theology from 1978 to 1982 at STH Basel (Switzerland) and since 1983 Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Religion at University of Bonn. He earned a Drs. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenism at Theological University (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1984, and a Dr. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenics at Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1985, a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Pacific Western University [5] (today: California Miramar University) in Los Angeles (CA) in 1989, a Th.D. in Ethics at Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland (FL) in 1996, and a Dr. phil. in Comparative Religion and Sociology of Religion at University of Bonn in 2007. In 1997 he got honorary doctorates (D.D.) from Cranmer Theological House and in 2006 from Acts University in Bangalore.

Basel Place in Basel-Stadt, Switzerland

Basel or Basle is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's third-most-populous city with about 180,000 inhabitants.

Switzerland Federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

University of Bonn public research university located in Bonn, Germany

The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein-Universität on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn which was founded in 1777. The University of Bonn offers many undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors and 32,500 students. Its library holds more than five million volumes.


Schirrmacher at the President of Albania 2015 Schirrmacher at the President of Albania 2015.jpg
Schirrmacher at the President of Albania 2015

Between 1982 and 1986 Schirrmacher was pastor of several church communities in Bonn. Since 1996 he is the president of the Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes, a theological seminary seated in Bonn, Germany with campuses in several countries. [6] From 1994 to 1998 Schirrmacher was professor of missions at the Philadelphia Theological Seminary and since 1995 he is professor for systematic theology at the Whitefield Theological Seminary. [7] He is professor of the sociology of religion at the West University of Timişoara. [8]

Bonn Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Federal City of Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About 24 km (15 mi) south-southeast of Cologne, Bonn is in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is famously known as the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven in 1770. Beethoven spent his childhood and teenage years in Bonn.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Whitefield Theological Seminary

Whitefield Theological Seminary is a Reformed theological seminary in Lakeland, Florida, United States. A conservative confessional institution, it teaches from the Reformed perspective of Protestant Christianity. The seminary holds to the Westminster Standards which includes the Confession of 1647, Larger and Shorter Catechism. Courses of study are offered on-site at the seminary's Lakeland offices but primarily through distance learning.

Schirrmacher is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gebende Hände gGmbH (German: Giving Hands charitable Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung), an internationally active relief organisation. [9] He is member of the commission for religious freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance and since 2008 president of the International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Brussels/Geneva, Cape Town, Colombo, Brasília). [10] He also is their speaker for human rights. [11] According to media he is one of the leading experts on the topic of persecution of christians. [12] Several times he was speaking as expert on human rights in the German Parliament. [13] In October 2015 he was the only evangelical member of the catholic synod on family lead by Pope Francis. [14] He is president of the International Society for Human Rights, [15] manager of the Religious Liberty Commission of the German and the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, and director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom with regional offices for most continents: Brasilia (Latin America), Brussels/Bonn (Europe), Cape Town (Africa), Colombo and Dehlki (Asia), which cooperates with the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief [16] .

<i>Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung</i> "Company with limited liability" in German-speaking countries

A Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, meaning "Company with limited liability", is a type of legal entity very common in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is an entity broadly equivalent with the private limited company in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries, and the limited liability company (LLC) in the United States. The name of the GmbH form emphasizes the fact that the owners of the entity are not personally liable or credible for the company's debts. GmbHs are considered legal persons under German, Swiss and Austrian law. Other variations include mbH, and gGmbH for non-profit companies.

Pope Francis 266th and current pope

Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.

Another main focus of the work of Schirrmacher besides religious freedom in the area of human rights is the fight against Human trafficking.

He speaks with church leaders like Pope Benedict XVI, [17] Pope Francis, [18] and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and gives lectures all around the world. He is also consultant of the Faith and Order Commission, the Theological Commission of the World Council of Churches, Chair of the Board of Advisors of the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany (ZOCD) [19] , and Member of the International Committee of the Global Christian Forum [20] .

He has authored and edited more than 90 books, which have been translated into 17 languages. [21] [22]


Schirrmacher received the following honours:


Books (Selection)

Articles (Selection)

See also

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  1. "Medical Killing – An Evangelical Perspectiv". Oxford Journals . Swets & Zeitlinger.
  2. "Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek" (in German). DE: D-NB. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21.
  3. "ISHR – At a glance". International Society for Human Rights..
  4. Who is Who in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Wien, 1999.
  5. "Publikationsansicht: "Der göttliche Volkstumsbegriff" und der "Glaube an Deutschlands Grösse und heilige Sendung": Hans Naumann als Volkskundler und Germanist im Nationalsozialismus; eine Materialsammlung mit Daten zur Geschichte der Volkskunde an den Universitäten Bonn und Köln". magazine.One UG (in German). Berlin: Scientific commons. 2000. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23..
  6. "Dr. Schirrmacht at". Martin Bucer Seminary.
  7. Administrative Bulletin of Whitefield Theological Seminary
  8. Thomas Schirrmacher at
  9. Thomas Schirrmacher at Gebende Hände.
  10. "Dr. Schirrmacht at". International Institute for Religious Freedom.
  11. An example of his lectures: Statement concern about muslim states actions regarding Religious Freedom.
  12. So he is for example mentioned by the BBC concerning the question "Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year?“. In 2013 he was involved in a documentary on the Persecution of Christian of the second german TV-Channel ZDF: Gefährlicher Glaube. See also on this topic Schirrmachers book: The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All.
  13. Events of Thomas Schirrmacher in the German Parliament.
  14. Schirrmachers reports of the Synod were published by Christianity Today: Inside the Vatican Synod on Family. Another interview on the Synod with Thomas Schirrmacher was published on Rome Reports.
  15. ISHR at a glance.
  16. Freedom of Religion or Belief
  17. The Pope’s Resignation Did Not Come as Such a Great Surprise - An Interview with Thomas Schirrmacher.
  18. Schirrmacher: ‘Debating Catholic leaders with a Bible in your hand is much easier nowadays’.
  19. Zentralrat Orientalischer Christen in Deutschland
  20. Global Christian Forum News
  21. "Books published by Dr Schirrmacher". Thomas Schirrmacher.
  22. "Thmomas Schirrmacher im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". DNB.
  23. Bonn Profiles – Press Reports: Thomas Schirrmacher receives the Order of Merit from the Royal House of Ghassan for his Activities relating to Human Rights in the Middle East
  24. Thomas Schirrmacher listet at the Officers of Sacred Order of Saint Michael Archangel
  25. "Katalog". D-NB. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  26. Zander, Helmut (2011-02-21). "Eine Studie von Thomas Schirrmacher" [Hitlers Religion] (in German). NZZ. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  27. Schirrmacher, Thomas. "Leopold von Ranke regarding my Grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Schirrmacher". Thomas Schirrmacher. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2012.