LCMS and JDDJ (Joint Declaration the Doctrine of Justification)

Can one of the LCMS posters let me know why the LCMS did not sign the JDDJ? I assume
it’s because of course they disagreed with the document but what specifically in it did they take issue with? The ELCA of course did sign it as part of the LWF.

I read a statement from the LCMS President which was very strong against it considering it a step back for Lutheranism.

It would be nice if we could come to some agreeable definition of what constitutes justification.

Thanks for the info.

Peace in Christ,

Thanks for starting this thread, Mary. I’m looking forward to seeing other’s viewpoints on this. It requires a very complex answer. The more I learn about the document, the more merit I find it to have. However, I do understand the objections some hold.

In an oversimplified nutshell, the document is too vague and could be interpreted to imply that humans are, to some degree, able to reach out to God. A core tenant of Lutheranism is that God does all the saving.

At other times imprecise theological language renders JDDJ problematic, says the LCMS. In particular, “the example that is most important and far-reaching, has to do with the document’s use of faith, especially the preposition used to designate faith’s role in the justification of the sinner.” Lutherans have normally expressed the role of faith by means of the preposition “through,” i.e. “through faith.” “They spoke this way in order to indicate that faith was an instrument, a means through which sinners receive the justification of God, that is, faith, as opposed to works.”But whereas Lutherans speak of salvation by grace through faith, JDDJ speaks of justification “in faith.” LCMS notes that occasionally JDDJ uses the phrase “by faith,” but nowhere in the document does the phrase “through faith” appear.16 Such a shift in language is “dangerous” because it fails to state clearly “the instrumental nature of justifying faith.” That is to say, for Lutherans the “cause of our faith is outside of us, not ‘in faith,’ not in us.” The danger of speaking of salvation “in faith” is that “we rob Christ of all the glory in the justification of sinners and we deprive sinners of the maximum comfort which can only be gotten when Christ is the sole cause of salvation”


It also notes that humans are sinful, but does not clearly talk about the actual nature of humanity (i.e. “Total Depravity,” from the Lutheran perspective). To be fair, that was not the purpose of the document - but some in the LCMS find the “why” humans require justification to be a major point that has to be addressed before we can move on to the “how.”

Thanks Don, that makes good sense to me.
Peace in Christ,

Maybe someday the LCMS alone as a synod apart from the LWF could discuss the issue further.

That is my hope. Our sister church, The Lutheran Church - Canada, is currently in talks with Roman Catholics. I imagine it won’t be long until we follow suit. :slight_smile:

Maybe a show of hands, yea or nay, among the competing branches of the continuing Catholic Church will solve the problem too. Nah, don’t think so. :rotfl:

I’ve seen a lot of references to the nature of man lately. And very little of what “nature” and “natural” actually means.

And we often times forget that we didn’t make ourselves. We didn’t naturally had anything to do with creating us. We were created in the image of God and God saw that it was good. Our human condition is corrupted, yes. But our condition is not our nature.

For me, this specific proposal (“Total Depravity”) is one of the biggest offenses against God, The Creator. Basically because it represents God creating this naturally depraved beings. When in fact it was our very nature that got corrupted, not totally depraved.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 always comes to mind:

As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything..

We are spirit in the flesh, we participate in the act of creation but we are not the creators. We do not create spirit, God does.

If the doctrine of total depravity is interpreted, as I think some Protestants do interpret it, as the total inability for man to come to God or indeed to perform any salutary act without the assistance of grace, then it is actually a very orthodox idea.

I share the first instinct to be skeptical about the completeness and utility of these kinds of joint declarations and the distaste for deliberately vague language, but at the same time I think we all should agree that differences in language can sometimes disguise similar or identical core beliefs. We should strive to honestly identify when that is the case and when the differences really are substantial.

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has a very, very different view of theology than does the rest of the Lutheran community. In their theology they are outright opposed to anything that smacks of Catholicism.

They also believe that they hold that they make up the only true Lutheran Church and that all others are in error, including that the teachings of the Catholic Church distort and deny what they believe is the Scripture’s true teaching, namely the LCMS interpretation.

The official LCMS website features a “Frequently Asked Questions” section which will download a PDF (click on “Other Denominations” and go to the end of the PDF) that will explain in more detail what these “errors, distortions, and denials” by Catholics are that make adopting the JDDJ impossible.

:thumbsup: Eloquently stated. Personally, I think this particular issue is one where the language separates us far more than the actual concepts.

I completely agree with this. It is the extra seasoning that I don’t like.

I also agree with this as well.

Are you kidding? We stood together with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters on Capitol Hill. We proudly call ourselves Evangelical Catholics, just as our forefathers did. If you’ve experienced something different, I apologize on behalf of my Synod and assure you it is not the norm.

They also believe that they hold that they make up the only true Lutheran Church and that all others are in error, including that the teachings of the Catholic Church distort and deny what they believe is the Scripture’s true teaching, namely the LCMS interpretation.

That’s not true; we share fellowship with 34 church bodies worldwide and we work together in charity with other religions and denominations wherever we can. And at the base level… doesn’t every denomination (including the Roman Catholic Church) teach that others are in error at some point? :shrug:

The official LCMS website features a “Frequently Asked Questions” section which will download a PDF (click on “Other Denominations” and go to the end of the PDF) that will explain in more detail what these “errors, distortions, and denials” by Catholics are that make adopting the JDDJ impossible.

And Roman Catholics have the Catholic Answers website. :shrug:

My comments were not meant to make it sound as if it is wrong to declare that one has the right religion and that it is wrong to point out that others may be in error.

But if my words were not true that the LCMS has very different theological views from the rest of the Lutheran world then the LCMS would not practice a closed communion. Just because we Catholics work together with other faiths does not mean we don’t have very different theological views from some that we work with, does it?

And that the LCMS is opposed to that which smacks of Catholicism–I don’t expect people to believe me from my post. They can experience it for themselves. I have regular connections with the LCMS and know that they oppose the adoption of Roman Catholicism. LCMS teaches there is only one true faith, their own. If they didn’t oppose certain things about Catholicism they would adopt them not teach against them, right?

Perhaps the choice of words I used were what you take issue with. That is fine. It doesn’t make what I said untrue or incorrect, does it?

One more thing, I don’t want to sound insulting so if I used language that you find disagreeable please forgive me. I am subject to mistakes.

Also I don’t call into question your stand or your defending of your faith. That is proper. I have had encounters with LCMS that were very unpleasant and hurtful as have my Lutheran friends who happen to be clergy. The ‘errors’ and ‘differences’ of Roman Catholicism were spoken of as being errors from the Devil and the opposition was very great. When pressed, LCMS members would come back with saying we were simplifying the view they were taking that essentials of Catholicism were, in their view, not from God.

In the end I do not consider any member of the LCMS my enemy. If my language sounded offensive please forgive me.

The LC-MS position on JDDJ can be found here
The problem is that the Catholic Church did not change it’s position from what was stated at the Council of Trent. The LWF agreed to disagree. The Missouri Synod looked at it and said that nothing actually changed.

The Missouri Synod would probably have serious theological talks with the Vatican if the talks centered on the Augsburg Confession and the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. But I do not think the Catholic Church would give up anything from the Council of Trent.
We do stand with the Catholic Church when it comes to abortion and gay marriage.

With all due respect, it also might help if the LCMS stopped identifying the Papacy as the Antichrist.

To the extent that the papacy continues to claim as official dogma the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent, the LCMS position is that the office of the papacy is the Antichrist, am I right? It is this sort of thing from the LCMS regarding my faith and my Church that I view as ‘opposing’ in my first comment on this thread.

And for what it’s worth, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have the same view on abortion and gay marriage too, but that doesn’t make them any less opposed to the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope isn’t the anti-Christ, but the Papacy is the anti-Christ because it sets man-made laws that interfer with the Gospel. If the pope would be just another bishop, then no problem. I am not trying to argue with you, just trying to explain the confessional Lutheran view.
The Book of Concord,, is a good starting point.

If you re-read what I wrote I said that the LCMS claims that the papacy is the AntiChrist. Why would you write something else? Obviously you are arguing with someone who isn’t there because you just wrote what I wrote. That doesn’t seem very logical as there wasn’t anything to clear up.

And to conclude my original point, due to being very anti-Catholic the LCMS did not agree to the declaration. The are very opposed to anything that smacks of Roman Catholicism for they believe the Papacy is the Antichrist and that our religion is in error.

To illustrate: If someone said they were not opposed to the United States or were not anti-American but made the following statement: “I believe the Presidency is the Antichrist.” Would that not make them anti-American? And if one calls the Presidency the Antichrist, what are they calling the person who takes the office of the president? If the head of the country is the Antichrist, what are they saying about those who follow the president and the country at large?

So what does it make the LCMS when it calls the Papacy the Antichrist? Is the Antichrist a person or an office? If one calls the office the Antichrist, what does it say of the man who holds that office? What does it say of those who follow the Pope or are member of the Church? “If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!”–Matthew 10:25.

That is my experience with the LCMS Lutherans in my town. They are opposed to anything that smacks of Catholicism and felt the JDDJ was a sell out on Lutheranism and a sad day for the Lutheran Faith.

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