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Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification Paperback – April, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 47 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802847749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802847744
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
It often amazes me that there seems to be an inverse relationship to the importance of a document and the number of words contained therein. Think of how few words are in the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Gettysburg Address. This book continues in that fashion. In a mere 38 pages of text, this small booklet represents a major move in ecumenical understanding between Catholic and Protestant churches.

For hundreds of years, the Lutheran church, the definitive church of the start of the Reformation, and the Roman Catholic church have looked suspiciously upon each other in political and theological circles. With the fall of markedly theocratic states in the West, the overt national/party political aspects of the division were able to be set aside, so that dialogue could be undertaken in earnest in theological matters.

The doctrine of Justification is important for Christians -- one of Luther's primary concerns against the institutional church was its practices with regard to justification; the Roman Catholic church in many ways tacitly agreed with many of Luther's criticisms in the developments of the Counter-Reformation. However, given the personalities and the politics involved (not the least of which involved the Lutherans and the Catholics describing each other's institution and leadership in terms of being the antichrist), dialogue and agreement was hardly possible.

The twentieth century may be remembered as the century in which ages-old attitudes began to change, and ecumenical action in earnest began to develop. As stated in the preamble, this document does not describe all that either the Lutheran or the Roman Catholic churches hold as part of their doctrines of justification; however, it does cover those areas of common accord.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D. on June 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a very significant document that theoretically puts aside the crux of the Protestant Reformation. In my own research prior to this document's release, I concluded that the differences on the subject of justification between the Protestant and Catholic positions were the result of two linguistic fallacies: (1) Equivocation and (2) Distinction without a Difference (Difvocation). Equivocation is about terms sounding the same but the underlying definitions that the parties are using are different. In this case terms like "saved" meant something different to the Protestant or Evangelical vs. the Catholic. To the Protestant it referred to the event of justification. To Catholics it can refer to entering heaven. Significant differences. Difvocation is about terms sounding differently but having the same underlying definition. In this case "saved" (for the Protestant or Evangelical) and "justification" (for the Catholic). What is significant with the Agreement on Justification (and it is much more involved that the simple illustration I just gave) is that neither church changed any of their doctrines to come to this agreement. That is strong evidence that the problem since the Protestant Reformation, on this issue, was linguistic confusion. Duh!!! As to the imputed vs. infused debate, I think the authors understood that this too might be labeled also as Difvocation. This is a bit dicer because there is a definitional difference between infused justification (the person is made sinless) and imputed (the person is just claimed to be forgiven). Infused refers to totally wiping away the sin; while imputed refers to Luther's concept of covering up the pile of dung with snow. But in the end, the difference has no meaning. Regardless of which position you take, it changes nothing about what a person is suppose to believe or do to get to heaven. It is a distinction without a difference. This document does all of that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Frost on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in Christendom, the Reformation, Counter-reformation, Roman Catholicism, and Lutheranism, should own and study this most important work. I say this as an Orthodox Christian who converted from Roman Catholicism. This is a most valuable work, that is pretty accessible to the average person with a HS diploma or above, who is interested in the issue of justification.

I'm not sure there are any winners or losers in this case. While both parties agree to many important things, they also agree to disagree on many equally important things (e.g., free will/synergy-divine monergism and the role of the sacraments, esp. Confession/Reconciliation). Thus from a purely Eastern Orthodox perspective, it seems like they want to show far more agreement than they really do when you look at the impact of justification in the life of the average sinner. Take what it means to be justified in each communion. For the RCs, the role of justification is limited as serious post-baptismal sin can only be removed by the Sacrament of Confession, which is not the case for Lutherans. So while they claim much agreement on justification in theory, in practice, RCs and Lutherans continue to insist on the same specifics of Christian practice that they have since the Reformation. The RC is still officially mandated to go to confession at least once a year and to confess all known mortal sins, as he has "lost" his justification thru sin. The Lutheran is not; as his justification suffices. If so, do they really agree on justification? I think not, in practice or in theory.
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