Frédéric Horning (1809-1882)

Frederic Horning, Lutheran pastor, initially liberal, returned to the sources of Lutheranism and in 1848 successfully opposed union with the Reformed.

The founder of the Evangelical lutheran society

  • Frédéric Théodore Horning (1809-1882) © Gallica BnF / Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg,

After graduating in Strasbourg, Horning ministered there, at the church of Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune. At first a liberal, he became a strong advocate of a return to the roots of Lutheranism : Luther’s catechism, the old Lutheran hymns, and a renewed respect for the authority of the Lutheran confession of faith.

When in 1848 the Lutheran assembly showed itself to be favourable to a union with the Reformed Church, he uttered a « solemn warning » (mise en garde) and founded the Evangelical lutheran society the purpose of which was to encourage “greater faithfulness to traditional dogma, insisting that justification through faith must remain central, rather than the activism, the asceticism and the sentimentalism favoured by some Protestant circles of his time » (Les Protestants A. Encrevé). This remarkable preacher refocused attention on parish life at a time when some Protestants preferred to be involved with groups or movements. This, however, does not imply that he did not take part in the great social achievements of his time.


  • Books
    • MAYEUR Jean-Marie et HILAIRE Yves-Marie, Dictionnaire du monde religieux dans la France contemporaine, Beauchesne, Paris, 1985-, Tome 9

Associated notes