Martin Luther’s fascination with Ethiopian Christianity



This year marks the 500th anniversary of the launching of the Protestant Reformation in Germany. Commemorations will be held from Memphis to Mombasa to Mumbai to Munich.

Yet, most events and books on the Reformation explore it without any reference to African Christians. This silence is profound, and I would like to break it by offering possible Ethiopian connections to Martin Luther and the Protestant movement.

Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in 1517, but he had begun that year fascinated with Ethiopian Christianity. That will come as a surprise to many of today’s Christians, even scholars, who are accustomed to discussing Luther and the Protestant Reformation as solely European subjects. But Luther esteemed the Church of Ethiopia because he thought Ethiopia was the first nation in history to convert to Christianity.

Located far beyond the orbit of the Roman Catholic Church, this first Christian kingdom, according to Luther, served as an older, wiser, black sibling to the white Christian kingdoms of Europe. […] CONTINUE READING


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