Børre Knudsen


Børre Knudsen

Børre Knudsen (born September 24, 1937, in Vennesla) is a Norwegian Lutheran minister noted for his pro-life activism.

Knudsen completed his seminary education in 1966 and was ordained in the Church of Norway in 1967. He served as an assistant minister in Balsfjord from 1968 until 1971, when he was made minister of the parish there.

In 1979, when the Norwegian parliament finalized legislation allowing abortion on demand in the first trimester, Knudsen protested by refusing to perform any duties on behalf of the Norwegian state. He modelled his actions from the Norwegian bishops and majority of priests' opposition to the Nazi-friendly regime in Norway during occupation in World War II: He continued his duties as a minister of the church and pastor for his congregation, but did not report statistics to the state, issue birth certificates, open mail addressed to him as a civil servant, etc. He also did not accept his salary from the state.

Minister of Church and Education Einar Førde dismissed Knudsen from his post for neglecting his duties, but Knudsen refused to leave his pastoral duties. His active congregation insisted that he was still their pastor and urged him not to leave. Knudsen was sued by the state, but won the first round. He eventually lost the case on appeal to the Supreme Court of Norway in 1983. The Supreme Court decision held that the state part of the church office could not be separated from the ecclesial or spiritual part of it within a State Church. Knudsen was replaced as minister in Balsfjord, but most of his active congregation followed him in establishing an independent local congregation in the tradition of the Norwegian Lutheran church. He still serves as their pastor. Knudsen was finally defrocked in the Church of Norway in 2001.

Two other ministers, Ludvig Nessa and Per Kørner, joined him in his protest and were also terminated from their posts and defrocked. In 1987, these three started non-violent protests at abortion clinics, turning up in traditional ministerial robes and singing psalms. They would continue until they were brought in by the police and receiving fines. From October 4. to 24 1994, Knudsen was in jail for his protests at abortion clinics, having not paid the subsequential fines.

These activists and others established the deanery of Strandebarm, proclaiming it the "Old Norwegian church in exile." Knudsen was made bishop of this church on April 5, 1997, and immediately excommunicated from it all responsible for abortions, including Norwegian medical doctors, politicians and bishops of the state church; accepting the constitutional loyalty to the state. The deanery consists of seven clergy and about ten congregations in different parts of Norway, and focuses on reversing what it considers heresies in the Norwegian state church, including issues related to abortion, homosexuality, and the ordination of women.

Knudsen has written a lot of hymn poetry, and collections of some of his sermons have been printed in books and booklets. His hymns point to Chalcedonian Christology, and to a high interpretation of the sacraments. His hymns are mainly edited in Det Hellige Bryllup, (Oslo 1976) Sangverk for Den Norske kirke, (Oslo 1980), and may be found in the Norwegian 1998 Roman Catholic Hymn book as well as in other collections.

References

* [http://www.dagbladet.no/magasinet/2004/03/22/393867.html "En prest og en plage" article in Dagbladet about Knudsen]
* [http://www.labarnaleve.org/old/artikler/dagbok.html Excerpts from Knudsen's diary while imprisoned in 1994]


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