Lutherans have officially apologized for persecution of anabaptists

In the past, even shortly after the Reformation was kick-started by Luther, the Reformation period wasn’t all that rosy.  Followers of Luther’s doctrinal beliefs began to persecute the Anabaptists because they had other ideas of how far the Reformation should go.  This persecution in Lutheran lands lasted for many decades, if not centuries.  The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has made a courageous moved that required some humility.  The LWF has offered an official apology of the wrongs on behalf of Lutherans around the world.  Here’s the LWI Council Press Release:

GENEVA, 26 October 2009 (LWI) – The Council of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has approved a statement that prepares for a significant action of reconciliation with churches of the Anabaptist family.

With this endorsement, the statement “Action on the Legacy of Lutheran Persecution of ‘Anabaptists'” is recommended for adoption at the July 2010 LWF Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany. The statement expresses “deep regret and sorrow” for the legacy of violent persecution of Anabaptists, and especially for the ways in which Lutheran reformers supported this persecution with theological arguments. It asks forgiveness, “from God and from our Mennonite sisters and brothers,” for these past wrongs and also for the ways in which later Lutherans have forgotten or ignored this persecution and have continued to describe Anabaptists in misleading and damaging ways.  Read on…

While reading church history, I remember feeling how Anabaptists must have felt during the time of the Reformation. It was not necessarily a time of wonderful change but also a time of hurt and pain felt by many Anabaptists.  An apology is a bold move.  Way to go!

5 thoughts on “Lutherans have officially apologized for persecution of anabaptists

  1. LCMS did not apologize for Luther supporting the torture and killing of the Anabaptists.


  2. Hey Tim, Amen to that. So many of our younger generations have become so pessimistic and down on the Christian church that real humility, authenticity and transparency is the only way to go if we are to redeem the church and reach out to young people. Public confession is a good thing.


  3. Asking forgiveness in a genuine spirit of humility is a wonderful thing. I certainly commend the LWF for doing so. Although some people dislike public acts of forgiveness like this, I think it is needed remedy before healing can occur.

    I remember back in Jubilee year of 2000, when Pope John Paul II held a public “Confession of Sins and Asking for Forgiveness” prayer service. Some people didn’t like it, either thinking it wasn’t enough or that it was beneath the Pope to do this. I personally thought it was powerful and much needed. It is never wrong to bring past sins to the light and ask forgiveness. The Truth and Reconciliation program that was established in South Africa also shows that it can be a very healing process.


    1. Rod, I hope we can all come to a place where we truly understand “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s