Perspectives 2017

Writings on the Reformation, EKD 2013


Perspectives 2017

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Dear Reader,Cover Perspectives 2017

Today, over 400 million people are brothers and sisters in our multi-branched global Protestant family. As we are characterized by a diversity both of confession and tradition, Protestantism has had to learn to appreciate this pluralism as an opportunity and not as a threat to its own identity. This is an ongoing process even in Germany, where we are thankful for a country without denominational strife. As tolerance is indeed never something we are born with, we need to continually relearn it and work together to strengthen it further.

It is my wish that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will serve to bring into focus what unites us and what we have in common. This publication thus showcases a wide variety of voices, inviting you to hear them in all of their diversity.

All of the articles have one thing in common: 1517 as a symbol of new beginnings and the ever fascinating narrative of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on penance to the door of Wittenberg's Castle Church. This was a new beginning for an entire generation of Reformation men and women, and one which continues to touch people today. Then, as now, the Reformation was anchored in faith; and it remains a matter of the heart. The Reformation changes people in the midst of their lives, leading people from fear to the freedom that Christians enjoy and to new beginnings as we go out into the world.

In 2017, we wish to be hosts in Germany and Europe to a gathering of people who have been touched by this Reformation message. And everyone is invited to join in: Brothers and sisters of other denominations and churches; societal groups that are aware of being inspired by the Reformation; but also skeptics and critics are invited to be a part of an expansive celebration of the Reformation in times of societal change. The 2017 anniversary will move beyond festivities that are exclusive to a particular church, and beyond movements that would depict Luther as the hero of a particular nation.

Let us join together in sharing this newly discovered freedom and responsibility of each individual person before God, regardless of any particular secular or church institutions, with the consolation and strength of the Gospel of a merciful God, and grounded in faith.

I am looking forward to it!

Nikolaus Schneider
Council Chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)



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