The Joint Declaration On The Doctrine Of Justification Essay

The Joint Declaration On The Doctrine Of Justification Essay

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The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in essence confirms that Lutherans and Catholics explain justification in different ways but share the same basic understanding. The fundamental passage reads, “Together we confess: by grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works. (Church 1999) The Declaration recognizes that good works are a sincere reaction to God’s graces—not the cause of it. The declaration also rescinds the formal condemnations of both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches against one another.
The joint declaration should not be seen as a compromise document on the parts of the Catholics and Lutherans. Rather, it is seen by both sides as a summary of the dialogue that took place over the space of thirty years. The article by Feister clearly states that by examining the two churches and what each community holds as its faith, the fundamental truths of these doctrines are not explicitly different from each other.
The joint declaration in fact states that it has the following intention: "to show that on the basis of their dialogue the subscribing Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God 's grace through faith in Christ. It does not cover all that either church teaches about justification; it does encompass a consensus on basic truths of the doctrine of justification and shows that the remaining differences in its explication are no longer the occasion for doctrinal condemnation" (Church 1995, No. 5). It does not attempt to cover other doctrinal questions such as th...


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...fication of the individual is "through faith" only. Catholics believe that faith and church sacraments are both involved.
The word faith is used extensively in the declaration, and at no point in the document was the word faith defined. What does the word faith mean to the Catholics and the Lutherans? (Robinson 2006)
One more area of dispute for me is the fact that the use of ambiguous statements. For example the Document 's description of the role of good works is unclear and self-contradictory. The joint declaration says that good works "contribute to growth in grace, so that the righteousness that comes from God is preserved and communion with Christ is deepened." Yet, it also says that "righteousness as acceptance by God and sharing in the righteousness of Christ is always complete." It cannot be under development and complete at the same time. (Robinson 2006)

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