The document that helped lay the foundation for the historic reconciliation in July 2010 between Lutherans and Mennonites is now available as a downloadable document.
The 120-page Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ offers churches and individuals historical background on the early condemnations of Anabaptists by Lutherans, new perspectives on what that history means today, and next steps towards a future as reconciled communities of faith.
As the product of four years of work by the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission, the report was presented at the LWF eleventh assembly in Stuttgart Germany in connection with the July 22 “Mennonite Action” of repentance and forgiveness. The book is available in English, German, French and Spanish.
“Perhaps the biggest value of the book is to help break down false perceptions and stereotypes that Lutherans and Mennonites have had of each other—and especially of the 16th century relationship—up to the present,” said Mennonite World Conference General Secretary Larry Miller, who participated in the Study Commission. The book also calls for further work on continued theological differences, particularly over baptism and the relationship of the church and the state.
Already, several forums have taken place or are planned in Canada, Germany, Austria, India, the USA, and Argentina, in which Lutheran and Mennonite theologians, church leaders, and other church members meet to celebrate a new day in relationships. Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ is a key resource for such activities and will be available at the events.
The book and the July 22 reconciliation event in Stuttgart, Germany, come as both communions prepare for their 500th anniversaries. The Lutherans date their beginnings to 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Door, challenging the Catholic Church on practices he considered unbiblical. Anabaptist-related churches trace their history back to 1525, with the first Anabaptist baptisms in Zurich, Switzerland.
—Updated Nov. 5, 2016