Uppsala, made the Swedish people the object of a national religious mission, summed up in the slogan 'the Swedish people a people of God'.
The difference between the Danish and Swedish concepts of a national church is an illustration of the problem of using the modern concepts of 'state church', 'folk church' and 'national church' to describe the Nordic churches. Their meaning and function differ in the various nations. The Church of Denmark may be called a state church, since the Danish parliament deals with ecclesiastical legislation and a government ministry takes care of the administration ofthe church. But the term 'state church' is also used to describe the Danish church before 1849, before the free constitution put an end to it. After 1849 it is preferable to use the expression the 'Danish folk church', although the content of this concept has been disputed. During the debate which preceded the 1849 constitution, 'folk church' was mainly used in a democratic sense. It was, in historical fact, the church of the Danish people, and therefore the people should govern it. At the same time 'folk church' was an important concept to the followers of Grundtvig, although, as already mentioned, they used it in the sense of a national church. Furthermore, their point was that the 'Danish folk church' was only an external civil institution, while the true faithful could reconcile themselves to it, if there was sufficient freedom for both laity and clergy.
In Norway the concept of a 'state church' was used to describe the state's government of the church, and the privileged position of the Church of Norway. The alternative was usually not a free church, but ecclesiastical self-determination within the boundaries of a state church. Yet the concept of a 'folk church' never had the same importance as in Denmark, and was often used synonymously with state church.
The idea of a national church was, however, rather weak in Norway during the nineteenth century. The reason was tension and conflict between confessional orthodox revivalism and the Norwegian followers of Grundtvig in the second half of the century. While the latter represented a liberal and national church ideology, a religious revival movement under the leadership of Gisle Johnson (1824-92), a professor of theology, represented political conservatism and traditional Lutheran loyalty to the authorities, which to Johnson meant loyalty to the Swedish-Norwegian king. On account of the Union, cultural nationalism could easily come into conflict with the authorities if it developed into a political nationalism with demands for national self-government. That was exactly what happened from the 1860s. During a constitutional battle in the 1870s and 1880s, where the issue was a parliamentary system, the king engaged himself on the conservative side and made plans for a coup d'etat. The
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