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“In 1993, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted its 4th Social Statement: "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice." Like all ELCA Social Statements, it is available at www.elca.org/socialstatements, as are interpretive materials. Much has happened in the last 2 decades in the area of the environment. There has been a dramatic increase in scientific documentation of climate change and other environmental impacts. Public opinion on environmental issues has intensified, as is evident in the frequency in which they are part of political debates. And there has been a great deal of moral discernment on environmental issues since 1993, both in the church and in the society at large.
Montana Synod Delegation at the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly
Several years ago I attended a Jewish-Christian conference in Maryland that included a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Aside from the impact the museum had on me (I slept for 12 hours), I cannot forget the Jewish woman who stood up and said: please tell your students the difference between being anti-Semitic and being anti-Jewish. Since then I have been teaching that Hitler was anti-Semitic, while Luther and other reformers were anti-Jewish, angry that the Jews would not or could not believe as Christians did.
By the time of the Reformation, most Jews had been chased out of Western Europe. Spain and Italy remained safe havens for Jewish scholars who were instrumental in bringing Hebrew studies to the North. Beginning with Petrarch in Italy, secular scholars called humanists called for a re-examination of texts, both classical and biblical, using primary sources, in an effort to correct faulty translations and misinterpretations. As Pastor Tom Lee explains in his article, the idea was to study a text in its original cultural context. This, of course, necessitated the study of ancient languages, including the Hebrew and Greek of the Bible.
Martin Luther was an Old Testament professor who knew the loving and merciful God through his study of the Psalms, the prophets, and the Book of Genesis. Christian humanists, especially, encouraged church leaders to take another look at Genesis with its emphasis on the goodness and beauty of all creation and human beings made in God’s image.
Pastor Lee points to the rise in popularity of studying Hebrew in order to uncover the same loving and forgiving God in the Old Testament that Christians continue to meet in the New Testament. This is an invitation to take another look at the Old Testament.
Pastor Judy Wozniak
Cochabamba and Futbol