Jewish Relations

ELCA Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations

Members of the Consultative Panel on Lutheran-Jewish Relations are appointed by the presiding bishop of the ELCA in order to enhance awareness and provide consultation on Lutheran-Jewish relations in this church. The Consultative Panel was responsible for the development of the 1994 “Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America to the Jewish Community” in which this church repudiated Luther’s anti-Semitic writings. Consultative Panel members also developed “Guidelines for Lutheran-Jewish Relations” and “Talking Points: Topics in Christian-Jewish Relations” in order to foster sensitivity to Jewish-Christian relationships both in North America and globally. To download the talking points please use the "Talking Points" tool on the top right.

The Consultative Panel was established in the early 1990s and is heir to faithful work by Lutherans since the 1960s. From then to now, the work has been to investigate the history of Jewish-Christian relations, to combat common misinterpretations of Judaism and to identify areas of potential cooperation. When Christians and Jews see one another as siblings, this produces new opportunities for cooperation in local, national and international communities. It is important that Christians understand and stand firm against both historical and current anti-Semitism. It is furthermore essential that Christians and Jews endeavor to establish relationships of trust, integrity and a shared vision of their place in the rich interreligious landscape.

Christianity faces a significant challenge today – to seek relationships with other major world religions. This is an urgent challenge since people of other faiths now live right next door. The Consultative Panel plays a significant role in the larger search for a theologically appropriate interpretation of Christian identity vis-à-vis the religions of the world. Consultative Panel members are mindful that this challenge for Christians is shared by Jewish neighbors as well. The interreligious challenges of today must be met together with our partners in other faiths.

ELCA-Reform Judaism Dialogue

In the early 2000s, the ELCA entered into dialogue with Reform Judaism. The purpose was to increase sharing and understanding in areas of mutual interest. The ELCA-Reform Judaism Dialogue was composed of members of the ELCA and members of the Reform Movement Commission on Inter-Religious Relations. Dialogue topics have included identity and self-understanding of Lutherans and Jews, individual governing structures, the meaning of covenant and conflict in the Middle East.

Talking Points


Topics in Christian-Jewish Relations