We’re focusing on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic conflict of the 16th century in our forthcoming pilgrimage (only 30 days away!!), but obviously enough there was quite a lot of other stuff going in Reformation-era Europe. One of the many tragic eruptions of violence in those days was the persecution of Anabaptists by pretty much everybody else. It seems that about 2500 Anabaptists altogether were executed for their religious “crimes” in all different confessional regions.
Today another great event toward the healing of the past happens at the assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart, Germany. Lutherans will offer a public apology and request for forgiveness from God and from their Mennonite sisters and brothers, who are the spiritual descendants of the Anabaptists. Forgiveness was central to Christ’s work and teaching, and it will have to be central to the healing of Christ’s splintered church.
If you’re interested to learn more, you can download two resources here: one is a survey of the work of The Lutheran-Mennonite Study Commission, which explains how it got to this point and why; the other is the official text of the LWF Statement to Mennonites that will be read on the afternoon of July 22.