I had forgotten about this document until just yesterday. Many Catholic individuals on this message board have expressed a certain amount of angst towards Luther’s view of “Grace Alone”.
On October 31, 1999 Bishop Kasper the Secretary of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Rev. Ishmael Noko of the Lutheran World Federation signed the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification”
The link is listed below for the document.
Some important lines of the documents are…
- In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. 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.
- The understanding of the doctrine of justification set forth in this Declaration shows that a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics. In light of this consensus the remaining differences of language, theological elaboration, and emphasis in the understanding of justification described in paras. 18 to 39 are acceptable. Therefore the Lutheran and the Catholic explications of justification are in their difference open to one another and do not destroy the consensus regarding the basic truths.
- Thus the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century, in so far as they relate to the doctrine of justification, appear in a new light: The teaching of the Lutheran churches presented in this Declaration does not fall under the condemnations from the Council of Trent. The condemnations in the Lutheran Confessions do not apply to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church presented in this Declaration.
Now I understand that most people on this message board understand the Catholic stance on this issue, but I do not feel that they understand the Lutheran view is not different.
The senior people in our Churches feel the need to reconcile the broken bonds and bridge the gap, I think that it would do us well to emulate such behavior on these message boards.