The leader of the Baptist World Alliance has lauded the Evangelical Church in Germany for its courageous stance in sustaining and nurturing the Christian faith in the European nation that gave birth to the Reformation — and for denouncing the anti-Semitism of Protestantism’s founder.
Monday marked the beginning of a year of activities leading to the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s defiant posting of the Ninety-Five theses on the Wittenberg Church. The German government has declared Oct. 31, 2017, a national holiday.
“One of the important actions taken by the EKD as it prepared for the celebration was to issue … a declaration distancing itself from Luther’s anti-Jewish stance,” BWA General Secretary Neville Callam wrote in a blog posted today.
The Evangelical Church in Germany is known by its German acronym EKD. It is made up of Lutheran, Reformed and United Protestant regional and denominational groups whose memberships total more than 23 million.
Callam praised the German church for helping foster Christian unity and interfaith understanding. He said the EKD has maintained its continued opposition to any form of anti-Judaism.
EKD acknowledged that “‘Luther was a source for theological and ecclesiastical anti-Judaism, as well as political anti-Semitism,’” Callam said, quoting the church statement. “It admitted that ‘Luther’s view of Judaism and his invective against the Jews … contradict his faith in the one God who revealed himself in Jesus the Jew.’”