Yesterday marked the 499th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg church. They were an attack on the moral corruption and theological errors of the Catholic Church to which he belonged, and they touched off the Protestant Reformation. The anniversary marked the beginning of a year of celebrations and commemorations, leading up to the Reformation 500 events next year. It also saw Pope Francis sign a document with the President of the Lutheran World Federation in Lund, Sweden, at the end of a once-unthinkable joint prayer service. It expressed regret for past conflicts and determination to seek unity.
In other words, Catholics are still Catholics?
Quite, and Lutherans are still Lutherans. One of the difficulties for Protestants in the Independent tradition, which many evangelicals are, is that Luther wasn’t one of them (he believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the
Eucharist, for example) and the Lutheran Church is certainly way outside that tradition. So in spite of the debt evangelical Protestants owe to Luther, actual Lutherans find it easier to talk to Roman Catholics and find common ground than they do.
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