The Lutheran World Federation is preparing to formally ask forgiveness from Anabaptists—Mennonites, Amish and similar believers—for 16th-century persecution, including torture and killings.
The decision to prepare the statement was made by the LWF Council, the world body’s main governing agency, which met in Arusha, Tanzania, June 24-30.
Anabaptists, whose name means “rebaptizers,” were the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation and were persecuted by both Lutherans and Catholics. They emphasized believer’s, or adult, baptism, even for those who had been baptized as infants.
Much of the Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists was based on writings by key figures in the Lutheran movement such as Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, as well as condemnations in Lutheran confessional documents such as the Formula of Concord and the Augsburg Confession, which are still considered authoritative for Lutherans today.