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Ecumenists Discuss Justification Declaration

Representatives of five Christian denominations have met to discuss the implications of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ).

The signing of the declaration in Augsburg in 1999 followed 30 years of continuous ecumenical dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, secretary general of the Anglican Communion at the time, described it as “an event which encourages Christians of all traditions and is a cause of rejoicing for all who pray and work for the unity of Christ’s Church.”

In the years since then, the World Methodist Council, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Anglican Consultative Council have all adopted or otherwise associated themselves with the declaration.

The substance of the declaration was “affirmed and welcomed” by the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Lusaka in April 2016.

In their meeting this week in Rome during the week of June 4-8 to discuss the implications of the widespread support for the Declaration, representatives of the five churches agreed to hold a consultation in March next year, to include a public lecture or panel discussion about ecumenical relations.

“We have now five signatories of this ecumenical declaration,” said Kaisamari Hintikka, LWF’s assistant general secretary for ecumenical relations. “We feel we are called to ask together what kind of spiritual and ecclesiastical consequences the JDDJ might have for our churches.

“We are witnessing momentum in our shared ecumenical journey. This consultation is meant to appreciate and to use that gift, which calls us to healing the wounds in the body of Christ. This consultation will be the beginning of a process that aims to respond to the aspirations of the people in the pews. We want to offer our churches recommendations in order to grow in communion.”

The Rev. Canon John Gibaut, the Anglican Communion’s director for unity, faith, and order, attended the Rome meeting.

“If the JDDJ is the key that help us unlock the core doctrinal issue from the Reformation, and the Anglican Communion, the World Methodist Council, along with the Lutheran World Federation, and the Catholic Church now laid claim together to this common key, the possibilities of opening new doors of ecumenical growth and cooperation are vast,” he told ACNS.

Adapted from ACNS

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