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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Saying sorry is hard to do ...

Lutherans and Anabaptists in July this year took a big step towards tidying up some unfinished and deeply painful business from the Reformation. (I know, its October now but I only just got my head up from trying to put together a PhD proposal.)

Representatives from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) asked forgiveness for the violent persecution of the Anabaptists in the 16th century and the negative portrayal of these Christian groups in their churches and theological institutions.

The interesting thing about the service of repentance and forgiveness was that it involved the Lutherans having to begin a process of teaching and re-interpreting their confessional documents, particularly the Augsburg Confession in the light of their seeking forgiveness for this violence. If you know how attached Lutherans are to their confessions you will realise what a big step this is.

The joint study report from the LWF and the Mennonite World Conference opens up the issue of how the story of that sixteenth century encounter in its violence and condemnation can now be retold.

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