From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
German Lutherans Require Critical Dialogue with Adventists
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
Editors: Pauline Mumia (LWI) and Christian B. Schdffler
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