The Protestant Reich Church was formed by Adolf Hitler in 1933, by merging 28 regional churches into one church. The founding of the church was the result of work by the German Christians, who had gained a large majority at the 1933 church elections.It was based on Nazi ideas of creating a “positive Christianity”, namely purifying Christianity of any Jewish elements including even the Old Testament, an idea which had existed in a small minority of Christian groups since the time of Marcion of Sinope, but the Protestant Reich Church did so for racial more than theological reasons. Ludwig Müller was elected “Reich Bishop”.
Although initially supported by the regime, the Nazis eventually lost interest in the experiment after it failed to supplant or absorb traditional Christianity. After 1937, relations between the Reich Church and the Nazi government began to sour.
The German Christian (Deutsche Christen) group was formed in 1932 and led by Ludwig Müller. The group were supportive of the Nazi ideas about race. They issued public statements that those Christians in Germany who had Jewish ancestors “remain Christians in a New Testament sense, but are not German Christians.” Also they supported the call from the Nazi party platform for a “positive Christianity” that does not stress human sinfulness. Some went so far as to call for removal of the “Jewish” Old Testament from the Bible. The group wanted to form a Reich Church which would bring together all Protestants in Germany. Their symbol was a traditional Christian cross with a swastika in the middle and the group’s German initials “D” and “C”. The Nazis found the group useful during their initial consolidation of power, it was claimed and remembered as a fact that the Jews had killed Christ, thus appealing to and actively encouraging anti-Semitic sentiment among Christians in Germany. The Nazis found the group useful during their initial consolidation of power, but removed most of its leaders from their posts shortly afterwards; from about 1935 it ceased being a significant factor.