October 13

Julius Kobner was the son of a Danish Jewish Rabbi. Following his training as an engraver he traveled from place to place plying his trade. While visiting in Hamburg, Germany he met the Baptist Johann Oncken when he came under conviction and was converted to Jesus Christ. In May, 1836 he was immersed. Soon he too was preaching the gospel – primarily among the Germans.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Lord began stirring the hearts of some in Denmark. A young Protestant minister in Copenhagen was brought by the Holy Spirit to understand salvation by grace. In Jutland the Lord stirred the hearts of several people. On the Island of Funen a poor shoemaker became a faithful witness for his Saviour, leading many to salvation by grace.

In 1839 Kobner heard what the Lord was doing in his homeland and decided to see it first hand, meeting a number of believers in Copenhagen. After returning to Germany he talked with Oncken, and the two men returned to baptize eleven believers and forming them into the first Baptist church in Denmark. One of the new believers became their teacher. A year later Oncken and Kobner returned and baptized ten more. Despite persecution the little Baptist congregation grew, scattering the seed of the Gospel. A group of believers started gathering in Jutland where the persecution was even more severe, and several of God’s saints were jailed. English Baptists sent a delegation to plead with the King of Denmark for leniency, but there was little respite. Then finally, in 1849 a new Danish constitution was secured, providing for religious liberty. Persecution became unlawful.

By 1864 there were nine Baptist churches in different parts of Denmark. The greatest need at the time was stronger spiritual leadership, and Julius Kobner returned from Germany to fill that need, pastoring the church he helped to establish in Copenhagen. The church continued to grow, until on this day in 1867 a new building, seating 400 was dedicated to the glory of God.

Tragically, since the middle of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century, Bible Christianity has declined in Europe. Today it is one of the greatest mission-fields in the world. Sadly, it appears that when a nation or region, having once been Christian, turns its back on the Lord, rarely does God return to it with great blessings.

And we are beginning to see that in North America today.