It has been over 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell, but the long shadow of communist secularism continues to hang over Germany’s capital. Few people know this better than Marius, the latest student to join Westminster.
“Young people have been completely cut off from Germany’s Christian heritage.”
Marius has spent over a decade working in secondary education in Berlin, where he has seen first-hand the spiritual illiteracy of a generation of young people. He vividly remembers asking a class of 14 year olds about the meaning of Christmas, only to find that the majority could not link it to the birth of Christ. The group became even more confused when he asked them about the significance of Easter. “Young people have been completely cut off from Germany’s Christian heritage”, he notes with sadness.
It was at the age of 16 that Marius knew he wanted to devote his life to the spread of the gospel. After finishing school he spent two years serving with Operation Mobilisation on their mission ship, the Doulos, taking Christian literature to over 30 countries around the globe. It was on the ship that Marius first came into contact with Reformed theology. “It was ironic”, he laughs, “that I had to first become a missionary in order to understand fully the grace of God in the gospel!” This God-centred understanding of the doctrines of grace became increasingly clear to Marius over two years of Bible studies in the book of Romans with other Christians onboard the Doulos.
“It was ironic that I had to first become a missionary in order to understand fully the grace of God in the gospel!”
On his return to Berlin at the age of 22, Marius enrolled at Berlin’s Freie Universität in preparation for secondary school teaching. “I already had a sense that I would not spend the rest of my life in education”, he notes, “but at the time I realised that it was the best match for my gifts.”
His intuition proved to be correct - Marius was not to remain a teacher. After a decade of shouldering increasing responsibility at a secondary school in Berlin, Marius faced an abrupt change.
“In March 2021 the Lord exceptionally blessed some of my efforts at work in school. During these days, completely unexpectedly while riding my bike to work, I experienced an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and love which words can hardly describe."
"I became convinced that in God’s providence I had been prepared not only to teach students, but to preach the gospel. Ever since then I have been gripped by an almost irresistible urgency to spend more time in the study of God’s truth so that I can win souls for Christ.”
So why choose to study at Westminster?
“It is a place where ministers are made,” observes Marius. “I share the vision of Westminster that theology is never to be studied in a vacuum.The lecturers are all pastors themselves, and from day one they encourage the students to use what they are learning for the good of the church. Westminster is not an end in itself - everything it does is about preparing men of God to go out as Christ’s ambassadors into the world.”
“It is a place where ministers are made. I share the vision of Westminster that theology is never to be studied in a vacuum."
As Marius looks to the future, he arguably has more questions than ever before. Providing for a family of four growing girls, serving as an elder in his local church, and completing a full course of theological study in his second language is no mean feat! But one thing is certain: Marius has received the call of God on his life and, having laid his hand to the plough, he will not look back.