Doctrine of Justification

20th Anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

Sunday 16th June 2019 we worshiped with the LWF, representatives of Churches which have joined the Declaration, and the congregation of the Cathedral parish of Saint Pierre.

To understand what this is all about, the following three videos might help:
Firstly the sermon by Emmanuel Fuchs we have entitled “Making Sense of Justification” (see separate post).

Then, the next video in which (after thanksgiving for Baptism and a welcome by Pastor Emmanuel Fuchs) representatives of those Churches having joined the Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, make their statements (Lutheran World Federation, Roman Catholic Church, World Methodist Conference, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Anglican Communion):

Finally, this last video in which five excerpts from the doctrinal statements are read by individuals of the five Christian traditions which, in the words of LWF General Secretary Martin Junge,  have “traveled together” on this journey. Five candles are lit as the five readings take place.

Those five excerpts in English are included here (from The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999) and from the Notre Dame Consultation Statement (2019) “What We Believe Together” and “What We Want To Do Together”):

Number1(1) “Justification is the forgiveness of sins, liberation from the dominating power of sin and death and from the curse of the law (Gal 3:10-14). It is acceptance into communion with God: already now, but then fully in God’s coming kingdom (Rom 5:1f). It unites with Christ and with his death and resurrection (Rom 6:5). It occurs in the reception of the Holy Spirit in baptism and incorporation into the one body (Rom 8:1f, 9f; I Cor 12:12f). All this is from God alone, for Christ’s sake, by grace, through faith in “the gospel of God’s Son” (Rom 1:1-3).” (JDDJ #11)

Number2(2) “We confess together that good works – a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love – follow justification and are its fruits. When the justified live in Christ and act in the grace they receive, they bring forth, in biblical terms, good fruit. Since Christians struggle against sin their entire lives, this consequence of justification is also for them an obligation they must fulfill. Thus both Jesus and the apostolic Scriptures admonish Christians to bring forth the works of love.” (JDDJ #37)

Number3(3) “Our churches face similar challenges in communicating the meaning of justification to today’s society in ways in which meet the experiences and needs of the world. We are gripped with the imperative of proclaiming the good news of salvation, through compassion and working for justice.”

Number4(4) “We will work to strengthen our witness to the common bond of baptism we share. We propose to work on creating appropriate resources for celebrations of baptism and renewal of baptismal vows where they do not exist already. In a similar way, liturgies to celebrate justification and our common baptism around 31st October, the eve of All Saints, should be offered more widely.

Number5(5) “Common themes for spiritual edification and ecumenical reflection for each year should be identified. In all these ways we wish to make more visible our common witness, in worship and service, on our journey together towards visible unity, walking together, praying together and working together.”

Please visit the LWF website for more photos and a report of Sunday’s commemoration “A source of hope towards Christian unity”.

All images, sermon video, and  videos on this page are by the ELCG – Lutheran Church of Geneva.