RNS: Celebrating the Work of Ecumenism, Done and Undone

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Catholic, Lutheran and United Methodist leaders will gather in Chicago on Thursday (Oct. 1) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a milestone agreement on the long, slow and often painful road to Christian unity.

The celebration, held at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago, will pay tribute to the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on Oct. 31, 1999. In 2006, the World Methodist Council affirmed the agreement as an expression of how Methodists, too, understand the character of salvation.

The declaration aimed at resolving a key Reformation-era doctrinal dispute between Roman Catholics and Martin Luther's emerging Protestants on salvation, how human beings are made right with God and the role of grace and works.

The document declares: "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 and calling us to good works."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations

4 Comments
Posted September 30, 2009 at 9:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

I have lived in great hope for the eventual reunification of Christendom ever since I read this document back in 1999.  I doubt it will happen in my lifetime, but I remain hopeful.  Francis Schaeffer first made me aware of the scandal that the schism is when he pointed out the Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane where he asked that his followers might be one.

It may take many years for this unity of doctrine to filter down and out into praxis, but that it ever was done is a great comfort.

Let us be one, in Truth, oh Lord.

September 30, 10:21 am | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Ah yes, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification where the Vatican basically admitted that Luther was right.

September 30, 1:58 pm | [comment link]
3. Lutheran-MS wrote:

The Catholic Church looks at Justification one way and the Lutheran Church if they are being true to the article on Justification looks at it a different way. All they signed was a paper that said that they agreed to disagree.

September 30, 8:20 pm | [comment link]
4. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

In his recent book on St. Paul, Benedict XVI states it succinctly:

  “God is one. The Church is one.”
Let us hope - but especially pray - that much good will come of these
efforts.

September 30, 9:32 pm | [comment link]
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