Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification

The doctrine of justification was one of the key debates in the Reformation period. It was the basis for condemnations of Catholics by Protestants and of Protestants by Catholics. It remains one of the key pillars of reformation doctrine. However, in 1999 the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church published a landmark agreed text, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which effectively resolved this nearly 500 year old debate and showed that understandings of justification by faith and of the relationship of God and humanity were not a cause of division between the churches. 

Since that time three other Christian World Communions have affirmed this Declaration, making it now a five-way agreement. In 2016 the Anglican Consultative Council passed this resolution (Resolution 16.17): 

The Anglican Consultative Council

  1. welcomes and affirms the substance of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), signed by Lutherans and Roman Catholics in 1999; and
  2. recognizes that Anglicans have explored the doctrine of justification with both Lutherans and Roman Catholics; and
  3. recognizes that Anglicans and Lutherans share a common understanding of God’s justifying grace, as the Helsinki Report stated that we are accounted righteous and are made righteous before God only by grace through faith because of the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not on account of our works or merits; and
  4. recognizes that in 1986 the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a statement Salvation and the Church, which observed that our two Communions are agreed on the essential aspects of the doctrine of salvation and on the Church’s role within it.

The World Methodist Council (2006) and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (2017) have also associated themselves with the Declaration

A 20th Anniversary edition of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is now available in five languages. This edition contains the original text of the Declaration along with the statements of association by Anglican, Methodist and Reformed bodies and the Notre Dame Statement of the five Communions following a joint consultation in 2019.






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