Norway’s church denounces Luther’s anti-Semitic writings

Ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther and his writings, another church has denounced the anti-Semitic elements of his teachings.

Norway’s state Lutheran Church on Friday condemned the anti-Semitic teachings of Martin Luther, the 16th century German theologian who started the Protestant Reformation.

In a statement issued ahead of next year’s 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, the Church of Norway’s General Synod underscored that some of Luther’s writings were later used in anti-Semitic propaganda, including in Nazi Germany.

The synod said that “in the Reformation anniversary year of 2017, we as a church must clearly distance ourselves from the anti-Judaism that Luther left behind.”

Luther was hostile toward Jews and called for their persecution, and such notions were later adopted as anti-Semitic propaganda and acted upon, ideas also spread in Nazi-occupied Norway during World War II.

Next year, Protestant churches will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, which are widely regarded as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.

In this same venue, the Lutheran Church in Germany in November issued a declaration condemning the church founder’s anti-Semitism and recognizing “the part played by the Reformation tradition in the painful history between Christians and Jews,” while saying that now declared it rejects any efforts to convert Jews.

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In April, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) issued a declaration condemning anti-Semitic statements made by Luther.

The Vatican has also declared it does not support official efforts to convert Jews.

By: World Israel News
AP contributed to this report.