Resolution on Interreligious Relations

1) The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and its member churches witness to the liberating Gospel of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ in a multi-religious world. Recalling the action of the 1984 LWF Assembly meeting in Budapest to establish a desk for “The Church and People of Other Faiths”, we give thanks for the interreligious work and witness carried out through the communion over the past thirty-three years, and in the local contexts of our churches. The 1984 Assembly statement, “Luther, Lutheranism and Jews”, repudiating Luther’s anti-Judaic writings, has been an important step in reaching out in right relationship to our Jewish neighbors. We recognize and give thanks for the fact that many of our churches in clear statements of repentance have taken up the painful aspect of our heritage regarding Luther’s harsh and terrible statement on the Jewish people and Judaism. Several study processes with representatives from other religions, among them Muslims, Buddhists and representatives of local religious traditions, have helped to deepen mutual understanding and to strengthen joint engagement in areas of common concern. 

2) Today, our multi-religious contexts are undergoing rapid and radical changes as the world’s religions and Christianity come into increasing contact through global migration, immigration, and forced displacement. While there are many powerful examples of peaceful co-existence, there are also complex realities of religious bigotry, extremism and interreligious conflict, as well as violence, discrimination and persecution in the name of religion. The persecution of people because of their faith is a uniquely challenging and urgent concern of the LWF and its member churches. The LWF strongly affirms freedom of religion or belief for everyone and advocates for those whose basic rights are violated.

3) On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the LWF and its member churches must discern anew our Christian vocation in the midst of religious plurality. Interreligious competencies, dialogue, engagement, and cooperation for the common good through diakonia and public witness are an increasingly important dimension of our Christian witness in a multi-religious world. We are encouraged by new projects, including the Ingage Program for youth in Indonesia, organized jointly by the LWF and the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) that draws upon the wisdom of young people who have come of age in this new reality. We are all called to love our neighbor and to work with our sisters and brothers of other religions and those non-religious to build bridges of hope, love, peace, and justice in this deeply divided world. 

4) The Assembly calls upon the LWF to:

  • Strengthen interreligious relations through its member churches, the communion office and with ecumenical partners by engaging in dialogue and cooperation.
  • Encourage its members in their own contextual work in interreligious relations, especially at the congregational level. 
  • Member churches participate actively in the LWF interreligious network for sharing of resources, best practices, theological reflection and building support across the communion. 
  • Develop educational programs and capacity building through its member churches and the communion office to strengthen interreligious literacy.
  • Continue to strengthen its partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) guided by the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Communion Office involve women and youth according to the 40/40/20 principle in all of its interreligious work.