A NEWS RELEASE
From Lutheran World Information (LWI)
GENEVA, 20 July 2006 (LWI) -- The World Methodist Council (WMC) plans to affirm the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) signed seven years ago by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church. The WMC will release its statement on the affirmation of the JDDJ on Sunday, 23 July 2006, within the context of the World Methodist Conference taking place in Seoul, South Korea, from 20-24 July. LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko and Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) will also attend the signing of the Official Common Affirmation.
According to Noko, the formal Methodist endorsement of the JDDJ, including the official reception of the endorsement by the PCPCU and the LWF, is a "very significant event." It makes clear, first of all, that the core of the Joint Declaration*the doctrine of justification itself*is not an "ecumenical specialty between Lutherans and Roman Catholics," but the shared biblical faith of the universal church. The Methodists' theological statement explains how Methodist teaching relates to this doctrine at a fundamental level. Secondly, Noko says, it shows that the message of justification has great potential "as a source of unity among the churches." On the basis of this message, other elements of doctrine fall into their rightful place.
Noko says that he hopes, in the years to come, ecumenical work will increasingly serve to clarify the centrality of God's free gift of grace for the unity of the church and of the human family.
Regarded as a significant milestone in Lutheran-Roman Catholic bilateral relations, the JDDJ was signed by representatives of the LWF and the Roman Catholic Church in Augsburg, Germany, on 31 October 1999. In taking this step, they affirmed that the churches' mutual condemnations concerning the doctrine of justification, dating back to the 16th century, do not apply to Lutheran and Roman Catholic doctrine as put forth in the JDDJ. The two partners confirmed that they had reached a consensus on the fundamental truths regarding justification. After over 30 years of theological work, a central point of contention, that had led to the divide in the church over 450 years earlier, was thus overcome.
The WMC will sign the Official Common Affirmation on behalf of all Methodists worldwide, and has sent the text of its statement on the acceptance of the JDDJ to all of its member churches. The LWF Council was kept informed of the process at its 2004 and 2005 meetings, giving its full support at both.
(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member churches in 78 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 66.2 million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical and inter-faith relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)
Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the LWF's information service. Unless specifically noted, material presented does not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various units. Where the dateline of an article contains the notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with acknowledgment.
For more information, please contact:
Ms.Trina Gallop, Manager of Communications
302 - 393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6