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 Lutherans Seek Forgiveness for Persecution of Anabaptists


The 11th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation approved a statement on Thursday calling on Lutherans to express their regret and sorrow for past actions against Anabaptists and asking for forgiveness.

Bishop Mark S. Hanson, president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), described the move as “the most significant legacy” that will be left by the assembly – the federation’s highest decision-making body.

“We will not just look back; we will also look towards together to God’s promised future,” he added. ...

read more: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100723/lutherans-seek-forgiveness-for-persecution-of-anabaptists/index.html


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/7/24 22:47Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re: Lutherans Seek Forgiveness for Persecution of Anabaptists


"the assembly repented for violent persecution of Anabaptists and for the ways in which Lutheran reformers supported persecutions with theological arguments."

May God bless the lutherans for this repentance!


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/7/24 22:49Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497
Mississippi

 Re: Lutherans Seek Forgiveness for Persecution of Anabaptists

Since I am a spiritual descendant of the Anabaptists, I find this report - I can't find the appropriate words to describe it - perhaps, unsettling?

I am well aware of the atrocities committed against the Anabaptists by the Reformers, the Lutherans and the Catholics beginning in 1425. However, this happened many years ago and I am not aware that there has been any active persecution against Mennonites by any of these groups in recent history.

Personally, I find this ceremony of asking for forgiveness revolting. For one reason, we are not responsible for another person's sin. Modern day Lutherans, Reformers, Catholics are not responsible for the persecution their ancestors inflicted upon others. Each man is to give account of himself and himself alone before God. So what good does this 'forgiveness' ceremony accomplish?

Personally, I have forgiven these people a lloonngg time ago. And I would think many moderns have as well. Since this is the case, what is the motive? THIS I find unnerving and suspect other ulterior motives - now maybe I am too suspicious? Is it a way of undermining the doctrinal differences that exist so there can be a unifying of these groups into one larger religious body? And what would happen if the conservative elements would refuse to go along? Would liberal Mennonites persecute the conservative groups? Of course, there already exists a fair amount of distrust between these two segments so what you have is the conservative groups fear the liberal Mennonite more then they do the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, et al.

SIGH

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2010/7/26 14:48Profile
ginnyrose
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 Re:

"the assembly repented for violent persecution of Anabaptists and for the ways in which Lutheran reformers supported persecutions with theological arguments."

I did not see this post when I posted by reply...

I do wonder how they will handle our differences today? Just downplay them saying that doctrine does not matter? that all one needs is Jesus? that doctrines of transubstantiation do not matter? that believer's baptism is Ok? how will they regard the insistence of a Believer's baptism vs infant baptism? or the need for holy living?

Personally, I have met people in all of these camps whom I appreciate, but we could never be part of the same church because we all are stuck in how we interpret the WORD. However, neither one of us would work to kill or work to undermine the faith that does exist in the other but work for mutual growth and edification on the personal level.

My opinion...

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2010/7/26 14:58Profile
StarofG0D
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 Re:

the praise of man, ginnyrose..the praise of man.. :)

or fear of man..whichever way you want to look at it..


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Michelle

 2010/7/26 20:42Profile
Matthew2323
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Joined: 2004/5/17
Posts: 235
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 Re: Corporate Repentance

Ginnyrose,

You stated, "For one reason, we are not responsible for another person's sin. Modern day Lutherans, Reformers, Catholics are not responsible for the persecution their ancestors inflicted upon others. Each man is to give account of himself and himself alone before God. So what good does this 'forgiveness' ceremony accomplish?"

I'd like to point out the difference between each entity in two of your sentences. First you speak of Lutherans, Reformers, Catholics (denominations) and then say that each "man" is accountable for his own actions. This is comparing apples and oranges. If an entity can sin, the entity needs to repent. All through Scripture we see God dealing with people individually and corporately; we see nations, churches, families, individuals and even the whole world encountering God's blessings and cursing.

It's been some time now, but the SBC issued a public apology for their corporate sin of owning slaves generations ago. The Biblical precedent would be Daniel chapter 9 where the prophet asks for forgiveness of sins he himself has not personally committed and even includes the sins of the "fathers" in verses 6 and 16.

Consider also the famine in David's day that was God's judgment for Saul's murder of the Gibeonites in 2 Samuel 21. God revealed the reason for the plague to David 3 years later, when David sought the Lord.

Corporate sins demand corporate repentance; when we heed God's call is another matter.

As to the Lutheran's motivation, it seems that they have declared it openly. If anyone is given to skepticism, then you must confess that you are in the realm of speculation (1 Corinthians 2:11) and you'd have a difficult time proving from the Scriptures that God wants you spending your time there.

Yours in Him,
Matthew


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Matthew

 2010/7/27 6:26Profile
ginnyrose
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Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497
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 Re:

Quote:
If anyone is given to skepticism, then you must confess that you are in the realm of speculation



My statement is not based on speculation, but more from the giving some the benefit of the doubt. I am trying to be generous.

There is a massive move among the liberal Mennonites to downplay the doctrines that have given them the distinctiveness among other religious bodies. There is a move towards ecumenicism. In doing so they have opened the door widely to practicing gays in their brotherhoods; socialism has replaced the preaching of the gospel; the doctrines of the virgin birth are dismissed as unbelievable - need I go on? How much worse can it get?

If you are a conservative Mennonite you will reap the scorn of these liberals. They can talk so nicely about how tolerant one should be towards gays, et al but allow a conservative Mennonite come along and lovingly challenge them, they bare their teeth.

Several years ago "Mennonite Weekly Review" printed articles about this gay issue. Simon Schrock, a writer of reknown ("One Anothering"), wrote the paper challenging them on this issue. The response his letter generated was anything but loving: they were virulent, nasty, ugly - anything but non-resistant as these 'loving' Mennonites claim to be.

Quote:
If an entity can sin, the entity needs to repent.



While this principle is true in the OT we do not read of it being done in the NT. Do you know of any incidence where this was done or where it was taught?

It might be of interest to you and give you insight why I take the position that I do on this issue.

Church historians agree that were it not for sympathetic Lutherans, Catholics towards the Anabaptists, the movement would not have survived. Anabaptists were hunted down like vermin and imprisoned, tortured and killed. They were banished from the city and countryside. There existed among the general population people who rendered aide to these persecuted brethren and they were Catholics, Lutherans et al. They did this at a risk to their own lives. This assistance was so appreciated by the Anabaptists that it created strife amongst them. The issue was that since these people were so kind, they must be Christians, too. Others said 'not'. (From my perspective it looks foolish, but we are inclined to make similar errors.) You see, not nearly all of the Lutherans, Catholics, et al were persecutors.

Does this explain a bit more of where I am coming from? why I regard this issue with caution, skepticism?

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2010/7/27 11:17Profile
ginnyrose
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 Re: Lutherans Seek Forgiveness for Persecution of Anabaptists

After posting what I did about my suspicions concerning the Lutherans purpose of apologizing to present day Anabaptists, I thought I may have been too harsh towards them.

I got to thinking that perhaps there are Lutherans who really hold a deep regret for what their ancestors in the faith did and wish to clear themselves with modern day descendants of this group. Perhaps there is an emotional need that needs to be satisfied by making this apology and if this is the case, I am sorry for questioning this motive.

Just before I came onsite here, I did some checking on the web about this incident which Greg posting in the lead post. There are a lot of websites that discuss this event and it is not an isolated one, at that. But I was disheartened when I read that this apology is directed to the Mennonite Church USA, which is the most liberal Mennonite conference in the USA.

Years ago there was a similar apology made at Zurich (I think it was), Switzerland. Mennonites, Amish of all stripes were invited to this event. The attendees were impressed with the prevailing spirit that permeated this event. The distractors later questioned the motive behind this event: is it a step towards undermining the convictions that are inherent in these people, working towards a one-world church/government?

I do not know. But I do know strange things are happening in the religious scene and I will back off from insisting I am totally right in my questioning. Perhaps I should keep my distrust to myself? In any case, if there one who is grieved for what happened years ago, I want to be the first in line to inform him that I do not hold him/her responsible for the atrocities committed against innocent people.

Blessings,
ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2010/7/27 17:19Profile
jlosinski
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Joined: 2006/9/11
Posts: 294
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 Re:

In regard to this thread, I submit this article on baptism from The Defense of the Augsburg Confession written by Philip Melanchthon in response to the Roman Catholic Church's response (the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession)..."pant" "pant"... to the original Augsburg Confession. It's interesting how a movement that brought so much light to the church also brought so much sectarianism, but that's the history of man, I suppose :)

"The Ninth Article has been approved, in which we confess that Baptism is necessary to salvation, and that children are to be baptized, and that the baptism of children is not in vain, but is necessary and effectual to salvation. 52] And since the Gospel is taught among us purely and diligently, by God's favor we receive also from it this fruit, that in our Churches no Anabaptists have arisen [have not gained ground in our Churches], because the people have been fortified by God's Word against the wicked and seditious faction of these robbers. And as we condemn quite a number of other errors of the Anabaptists, we condemn this also, that they dispute that the baptism of little children is unprofitable. For it is very certain that the promise of salvation pertains also to little children [that the divine promises of grace and of the Holy Ghost belong not alone to the old, but also to children]. It does not, however, pertain to those who are outside of Christ's Church, where there is neither Word nor Sacraments, because the kingdom of Christ exists only with the Word and Sacraments. Therefore it is necessary to baptize little children, that the promise of salvation may be applied to them, according to Christ's command, Matt. 28:19: Baptize all nations. Just as here salvation is offered to all, so Baptism is offered to all, to men, women, children, infants. It clearly follows, therefore, that infants are to be baptized, because with Baptism salvation [the universal grace and treasure of the Gospel] is offered. 53] Secondly, it is manifest that God approves of the baptism of little children. Therefore the Anabaptists, who condemn the baptism of little children, believe wickedly. That God, however, approves of the baptism of little children is shown by this, namely, that God gives the Holy Ghost to those thus baptized [to many who have been baptized in childhood]. For if this baptism would be in vain, the Holy Ghost would be given to none, none would be saved, and finally there would be no Church. [For there have been many holy men in the Church who have not been baptized otherwise.] This reason, even taken alone, can sufficiently establish good and godly minds against the godless and fanatical opinions of the Anabaptists."

 2010/7/29 15:22Profile
Matthew2323
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Joined: 2004/5/17
Posts: 235
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 Re:

Ginnyrose,

Thank you for sharing your heart. Life can certainly get complicated and the life of the Church is no exception. I can appreciate you approaching the subject with caution and concern.

I would like to answer your question about the examples of corporate repentance in the New Testament. The clearest examples would be found in Revelation 2 and 3. These seven churches are both praised and rebuked with warnings that are quite severe!

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:4, 5)

It is this warning, “I will remove your lampstand” which forms the basis of the teaching that corporate repentance is still required and that the neglect of such has dire consequences.

Ask yourself, “Do any of the churches in the New Testament exist today? If not, why not? Have their lampstands been removed?”

To the Nicolatians of Pergamum, this solemn warning, “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Revelation 2:17)

The Lord’s hatred of sin has not abated and He is still a warrior. (Exodus 15:3)

On a larger scale, the same truth can be applied to denominations. Consider how God used John and Charles Wesley but what is Methodism today? Consider Congregationalists like John Owen and Jonathan Edwards. How many modern Christians even know that this denomination still exists (and in a form radically different than it was a few hundred years ago)?

What church/denomination that was used mightily of God in the past is still a thriving center of spiritual zeal?

The principle applies to nations as well. What happened to the vast Roman Empire? How many nations that grew spiritually in seasons of revival have retained that same blessing and influence?

Lastly, consider America’s founding in comparison to her spiritual life today? Is corporate repentance required of this nation?

Isn’t that why we pray for revival?

Grace and peace,
Matthew


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Matthew

 2010/8/4 8:09Profile





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