2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On 31stOctober 1517 Martin Luther hung the 95 thesis in Wittenberg and this action is symbolically considered as the watershed event that triggered the Reformation. The anniversary will be a great opportunity to historically review and theologically reassess what Protestantism stood for in the XVI century and what its significance is for us today. This is especially true for those who identify themselves as Protestant and cherish being called Protestant.
Commemoration, not Celebration
One entry point in reflecting on the upcoming anniversary is the recently released document entitled “From Conflict to Communion. Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017”. It is a 90 page, joint statement between the Vatican and the Lutheran Federation that attempts to summarize what happened in the XVI century, the controversies that arose, and the ecumenical re-interpretation of the whole in light of pressing ecumenical concerns. It is a detailed “state of the art” of present-day ecumenism, its patterns of thought, its language and agenda.
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