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© Lowell Brown

An Action toward Reconciliation with Anabaptists

 The most prominent ecumenical action at the July 2010 Assembly will be the request for forgiveness—first from God, and then from Mennonite brothers and sisters from the Anabaptist tradition. With theological support from such leaders as Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, Lutherans in the 16th century violently persecuted and even executed Anabaptists. These actions remain vivid in Anabaptist memory.

Results of the Lutheran – Mennonite International Study Commission (2005-2008) provide common perspectives on this painful history and allow Lutherans to recognize not only past wrongs but also “inappropriate, misleading, and hurtful portraits” of Anabaptists to the present day. Based on this study, the LWF Council in October 2009 unanimously approved the request for forgiveness. While important theological differences remain, these can be explored in a new atmosphere when the legacy of the persecutions is addressed.

In this action, the LWF prays “that God may grant to our communities a healing of our memories and reconciliation.” Mennonites have indicated that they are eager to respond. This action by the Lutheran communion to address faithfully a sorrowful legacy has significance for the entire Body of Christ.

Action on the Legacy of Lutheran Persecution of “Anabaptists”


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