What we do

Encountering, monitoring, describing, understanding, interpreting and taking a stance from a Christian faith perspective – such are the key elements of apologetic work. In practice this translates into a wide range of activities for EZW, including academic research, practical advice, publishing and pastoral counselling.

We usually conduct our research on New Religious Movements and contemporary religious and spiritual culture, including New Atheism, in encounters and dialogue with the people and groups concerned. We provide information, advice, and counselling to the churches, media, individuals, church and political leaders and the general public. Our perspective is Protestant and Christian and as such we are not "neutral". But we strive to be fair and accurate when describing other faiths and religious phenomena. We attempt to distinguish between the descriptive part and the Christian perspective (“How do we as Christians relate to this?”. Thus the main task of EZW is to provide Christian orientation in the modern pluralistic world and to meet its challenge with a combination of dialogue and apologetics (“dialogical apologetics”).

We present our research results to the churches, the academic world and to a wider public, i.e. our research is made available at academic consultations, via a variety of publications and to the media. We work closely with regional advisors on apologetics of the German Protestant Landeskirchen (federated in EKD) as well as in Switzerland and Austria. We also co-operate closely with our Roman Catholic colleagues in our field of work. The apologetic remit resonates strongly in many Free Churches, too.

In view of the size of our field of study, we also co-operate with other academic and ecclesiastical institution as well as citizens’ and parents’ initiatives. New Religious Movements and ideological trends are international. Hence, we increasingly broaden the scope of our research to include academic and practical findings and insights from other countries, particularly in the light of the process of European integration. EZW is financed by EKD and by donations.

Remit of EZW

The EKD Institute for Research on Religious and Ideological Issues (EZW) is EKD’s central academic institution for documenting and advising on all issues pertaining to the religious and ideological currents of our time. It monitors the developments of the religious and ideological sphere and evaluates their meaning and implications for the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD). It contributes to a presentation of the Christian faith and world view in relation to other faiths and world views for our time (protestant apologetics). It also strives to co-ordinate the regional secretaries involved in this field of work within the member churches of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD).