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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lutheran-Catholic agreement near

The U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Coordinating Committee strongly affirmed a declaration from the international dialogue by the churches of the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church.

The Joint Declaration is expected to contain an affirmation similar to one that came from the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in 1983: "Our entire hope of justification and salvation rests on Christ Jesus and on the gospel whereby the good news of God's merciful action in Christ is made known; we do not place our ultimate trust in anything other than God's promise and saving work in Christ."

Next year marks the 450th anniversary of the Catholic condemnations on justification issued by the Council of Trent. The central doctrinal issue of the Reformation was how Christians understand their justification and salvation in Christ. After decades of careful biblical and historical dialogue, sufficient common ground has been found to say that there is no longer disagreement on this central issue of the faith. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will vote in 1997 on lifting those mutual condemnations.

The proposed declaration will be before the LWF churches and the Catholic Church sometime after 1997.

The U.S. committee provided suggestions for the final draft of the international declaration, which in the United States would affect the ELCA. Other Lutherans, such as the Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod, wouldn't be affected unless they affirmed the Joint Declaration.


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September issue

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