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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lutheran-Catholic proposal draws reaction

Faculty from two ELCA seminaries are recommending that the ELCA delay action on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

In May, faculty from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., adopted a statement recommending that the 1997 ELCA Churchwide Assembly postpone action for the following reasons:

* The shortness of time between publication of the final version of the declaration and the Churchwide Assembly doesn't allow for sufficient discussion by the church.
* The question of exactly what's being voted on is confusing.
* If the vote is on a central issue of doctrine, it's unwise for an assembly to legislate doctrine.
* The eventual authority of the declaration needs to be clarified and discussed.

Faculty of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia recommended postponement, asking that the ELCA Church Council, seminaries and congregations study the document before formal action is taken.

The Philadelphia faculty said it appreciates the document's "rather careful and nuanced articulations of the doctrine of justification." However, the faculty added that it thinks "we as a church have not been able to discuss fully and study the implications of this declaration given the limited time at our disposal" and asks that action be delayed until the 1999 Churchwide Assembly.


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