From the Worldwide Faith News archives

German Lutherans Require Critical Dialogue with Adventists

From APD <>
Date Sun, 16 Jun 2002 03:02:35 -0400

30. Juni 2002
Adventistischer Pressedienst (APD)
Christian B. Schaeffler, Chefredakteur
Fax +41-61-261 61 18
CH-4003 Basel, Schweiz

German Lutherans Require Critical Dialogue for Further 
Fellowship with Adventists -
Statement by the LWF German National Committee 

Hanover, Germany/Genava, Switzerland, 30.05.2002 
(LWI/APD) - The German National Committee (DNK) of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has responded to 
reactions to its commentary on the report concerning 
conversations between the LWF and the General Conference 
of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA).

In a May 16 statement on feedback to the DNK's December 
2001 remarks on the report "Adventists and Lutherans in 
Conversation," the committee said the SDA community in 
Germany had expressed several times its dismay that the
LWF national committee thought further clarification of 
basic theological issues would be necessary. 

Both the official reaction from Seventh-day Adventist 
Church in Germany and as well as some public declarations 
and some letters received by the German national committee 
spoke of the feeling that the DNK comments did not 
sufficiently take into account the greater openness 
toward inter-church relations which had been developed by 
the SDA community, pointing to its practical co-operation 
within the Council of Christian Churches in Germany 
(Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland 

In its recent response, the DNK recalled that the 
conversations in the international group had the character 
of exploratory conversations, "for the purpose of finding 
out how (the partners) relate to one another in terms of 
doctrine and practice." The group also had the task of
"discussing how this relationship might develop in future." 
Since for the LWF it is the member churches that are entitled 
to respond to dialogue results, it was the churches which 
were asked to react to the report from the international 
group. Only on the basis of their responses could the LWF, 
probably in autumn 2002, pass a resolution with regard to 
the reception of the results from these conversations. The
remarks of the DNK had therefore concentrated entirely on 
the text of the report and had - relating to the bilaterial 
SDA/LWF conversations - not made any assessment of the 
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany. 

Since the SDA had described themselves in the report, as 
"heirs of the Reformation and...descendants of Luther" 
(p. 41), their theological explanations had been examined 
according to the criteria  of Lutheran Reformation doctrine, 
said the LWF national committee. In  doing so, the DNK had 
seen both the necessity and possibility of reaching a better
mutual understanding through further conversations.

The statement noted that the German SDA reaction to the DNK 
observations further made it clear that even for the Adventist 
Church leaders in Germany clarifications on important 
theological issues are required.

The national committee welcomed the fact that conversations 
had been held between the SDA and LWF on the world level. 
The committee said that it was convinced, however, that 
"critical and questioning dialogue" would contribute "to 
strengthening co-operation between the partners in the 
dialogue." It supports the intention to hold further 
doctrinal conversations between the SDA and LWF in the near 

The German committee thinks direct conversations with the 
the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany would be
desirable and is open to such an exchange. The DNK member 
churches hope to be able to have a constructive dialogue 
on doctrinal issues at national level. The issue of the 
understanding of Scripture and how it is treated in the 
development of the churches' teachings would be a point 
of departure which could take the conversation further. 

The DNK emphasised that the good relationship between its 
member churches and the Free Churches in Germany was also 
the result of open dialogues, in which the partners had a 
common understanding when dealing with each other's 
questions. This openness was also the prevailing
attitude toward the the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 

The DNK represents 13 Lutheran churches. Besides the eight 
member churches of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of 
Germany, VELKD, - those in Bavaria, Brunswick and Thuringia, 
and of Hanover, Mecklenburg, Saxony, Schaumburg-Lippe, and 
the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church - the DNK 
includes the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Baden and
Oldenburg, Evangelical Church in W|rttemberg, Evangelical 
Church of Pomerania and Church of Lippe (Lutheran Section). 
It represents 14 million local church members.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany, a corporation 
under public law, organised in 569 local congregations, has 
a membership of 35 800 baptised, adult members. 


The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the 
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF 
now has 133 member churches in 73 countries representing over 
60.5 million of the 64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF 
acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common 
interest such as ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian 
assistance, human rights, communication, and the various 
aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is
located in Geneva, Switzerland.

The worldwide Seventh-day-Adventist Church (SDA) was born in 
the middle of the 19th century as part of a popular religious 
awakening. It has developed into one of the most widely spread 
protestant church in the world. This Christian World Communion 
has now more than 12 million baptised adult members in over 
200 countries. Its world church headquarters is located at 
Silver Spring, Maryland/USA, near the US capital of 
Washington D.C.

Editors: Pauline Mumia (LWI) and Christian B. Schdffler 

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