Since the Shoah, a noteworthy change has taken place in the Lutheran churches concerning our view of Judaism and the Jewish people, a change of a kind previously unknown in the history of our churches. In its Driebergen Declaration (1991), the European Lutheran Commission on the Church and the Jewish People (Lutherische Europäische Kommission Kirche und Judentum, LEKKJ), which represents twenty-five Lutheran church bodies in Europe, rejected the traditional Christian “teaching of contempt” towards Jews and Judaism, and in particular, the anti-Jewish writings of Martin Luther, and it called for the reformation of church practice in the light of these insights.
Against this background, LEKKJ welcomes the issuance of Dabru Emet: A Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity. We see in this statement a confirmation of our own work of these past years. Dabru Emet is for us an encouragement and an incentive to continue this work.
We are aware that these hard-won insights must be made determinative for the life of our congregations, and that there are many tasks yet before us. We know that we must reexamine themes in Lutheran theology that in the past have repeatedly given rise to enmity towards Jews. Dabru Emet impels us to formulate more clearly central elements of the Christian faith in light of Jewish questions, for example the Trinitarian development of our faith in the one God.
Fully aware that Dabru Emet is in the first instance an intra-Jewish invitation to conversation, we see in this statement also an aid to us in expressing and living out our faith in such a way that we do not denigrate Jews, but rather respect them in their otherness, and are enabled to give an account of our own identity more clearly as we scrutinize it in the light of how others see us.
Graz, Austria May 12, 2003
Translated from the German by Franklin Sherman and Hans Popper