Theme-year

20

 
 

Daring 

to Live Maturely

 

Baptism—Freedom of the Will—Freedom of Religion
“But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … In that way the body of Christ is to be built up until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:7.12-14a)

 

Within richly diverse Reformation-era Anabaptism, and in Anabaptist churches, freedom of religion and conscience was vigorously laid claim to. As persecuted minorities, Anabaptist congregations promoted individual freedom and the limiting of magisterial power in questions of religion, and thereby ultimately promoted self-determination as a fundamental right of each person.

Challenges for today

The Theme-Year “Daring to Live Maturely,” raises the question of what the unrestricted freedom of religion in a religiously pluralistic society can look like. Wherein lies the validity of standing in opposition to discrimination and the societal condemnation of people based on their religion and religious practice? Which impulses from within the Anabaptist tradition open up perspectives on human interaction for a just coexistence, fit for human beings? Yet we must also ask, self-critically: Were not Anabaptist congregations often enough too greatly occupied with their own pious world of faith, and thereby not capable of reaching out cooperatively? Did not the Reformation impulse of living maturely and the freedom of the individual, too often transform itself into authoritarian congregational structures? What does it mean today, as a society of mature Christians, to live and prove our faithfulness?