Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification Guide to Celebration
Dear Friends in Christ,
On October 31, 1999 – Reformation Day five years ago – representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) met one another in Augsburg, Germany, and together signed the document titled the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ).” For the first time in five centuries, and after years of dialogue, Lutherans and Catholics had an official text that lifted significant doctrinal condemnations and reached a consensus on the importance of grace as the foundation for being justified by God in the order of salvation. The JDDJ document addressed centuries-old points of conflict and former, roiling pain between the Lutheran and Catholic churches and strove toward forgiveness and reconciliation.
October 31, 2004 – the fifth anniversary of the signing of the JDDJ is a time for ecclesial reflection and liturgical celebration. Ours is also a time to review global aspects of the JDDJ.
Assorted religious leaders from throughout the ELCA and the Roman Catholic Church reflect upon how the JDDJ influences their ministries and respective geographical contexts. These reflections reveal the practical hopes and frustrations of continued ecumenical vision. The vitality of ecumenical life in these ministries reveals how theological ideas find substance in specific church contexts.
Worship services throughout the ELCA are being planned to celebrate the JDDJ. These services may be sponsored by individual congregations, a cluster of congregations, or an entire synod, together with Roman Catholic partners. To help you imagine and plan a local celebration, we are providing liturgical descriptions from the 1999 signing, as well as excerpts from liturgical texts used in Augsburg, Germany. We likewise offer you suggestions for adapting these liturgies, and provide additional suggestions from ELCA resources. Finally, if your plans are cooperative alongside Catholic colleagues, take time to learn about their resources and integrate them accordingly as you plan together. Photo: © Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Lutheran World Federation
A special edition of the LWF’s publication, Lutheran World Information (LWI), offers a thorough review of the JDDJ from a global perspective. How does the JDDJ relate to Africa and Asia? How do we understand justification as a basis for human dignity? What reflections do representatives of Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism offer toward the JDDJ? Also available from the LWF is a pamphlet titled "Justified - Freed for Life: 5th Anniversary of the Signing of the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification." We hope you find the above helpful as you reflect and plan for a JDDJ celebration and likewise participate in vitalizing this extraordinary, historic event in your community.
With Faithful Regards,
Michael R. Trice
ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations
Scott C. Weidler
Associate Director for Worship and Music
Division for Congregational Ministries