Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The quote in the title is taken from paragraph 16 of the JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church - linked here. Is such a statement consistent or inconsistent with Reformed doctrine? If judged to be consistent, is it necessary to qualify the statement for it to fully harmonize with relevant doctrines?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A typical reformed response on this statement would be like that found in Matthew 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

A typical reformed expositor writes:

The gospel call goes forth far and wide. It reaches ever so many. Most of them are like the man in the parable: they hear but do not heed. In comparison with those many that are lost there are but few that are saved, that is, few that are chosen from eternity to inherit life everlasting. Salvation, then, in the final analysis, is not a human accomplishment but the gift of God’s sovereign grace. Cf. Luke 12:32; John 6:39, 44; Eph. 1:4. (NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, WILLIAM HENDRIKSEN Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew)

Regarding the article on Justification that is linked in your question, historical reformed teachers would most likely find it intellectually dishonest. The Protestant view of Justification occurs in a 'single moment' prior to any kind of moral ability to be had. A Catholic view of justification is that it is a life time process similar to what a Protestant calls sanctification. The article entirely glosses over this division, while grouping statements which both agree to under vary different senses. The Reformers would condemn this article and probably accuse the authors of deceit. The Reformers were not that interested in unity when it came to the central doctrine of the gospel which they believed the Catholic church to have utterly corrupted by denying the justification of a sinner 'in a moment' prior to sanctification.

share|improve this answer
    
So, since the Lutheran World Federation are co-signatory, do you view them as having departed from their historical Protestant legacy? (Modern Lutherans =/= Luther's Lutherans?) –  bruised reed May 25 at 14:18
    
Would you be able to point out the most egregious paragraphs from your point of view, or should I pose another question for that? –  bruised reed May 25 at 14:27
    
Regarding the Hendriksen quote, have you cropped the development of his argument? The second half of the quote is a non-sequitur - it purports to demonstrate what it actually assumes. –  bruised reed May 25 at 15:15
    
@bruisedreed - I actually can't comment on the Lutheran World Federation as I know little about them. Luther is my favorite person in History and favorite overall theologian but I have little knowledge about modern day Lutherans. I suspect that it is similar to the church I go to, one local church can be very good and another one just a few blocks over can be apostate. Just guessing though. –  Mike May 25 at 23:42

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.