Fred Witzig


It is difficult to say how much the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation stirred up interest in the groundbreaking event, even among church-going Americans. Many in my own denomination, the Apostolic Christian Church of America, reported being unaware of the anniversary, although a few friends did think to buy me a Playmobil Luther, a bobblehead Luther, and a pair of socks imprinted with “Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders.” There were enough of us interested folks to fill a “Reformation Tour” of central Europe in 2017, and there it was clear that Germans had no intention of forgetting the event, even if they appropriated it for such modern sensibilities as religious tolerance and pluralism. “Whoever believes in diversity must also practice tolerance,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel reminded everyone at an official state function in Wittenberg on October 31, 2017. However much this belief may serve us well now, it was not Martin Luther’s message five hundred years ago. [First paragraph]