Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017

Several media outlets have reported the announcement of the joint publication by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church of From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. (Ecumenical News, for example, posted "Catholics, Lutherans launch historic joint document on Reformation" on July 18.) A PDF of the full 93-page document is available for free download on the Lutheran World Federation web site. I hope Christians of all communions will read, mark, and inwardly digest this publication and contemplate how they might receive these convergences beyond the sixteenth-century divisions of the church in the West.

While this is a most welcome ecumenical development, it is not unanticipated, for it represents the harvest and synthesis of almost fifty years of sustained Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical dialogue that involved rigorous mutual biblical, historical, and theological scholarship. The following documents issued by the Lutheran-Catholic joint commissions over the years (published among other places in the three-volume Growth in Agreement series issued by the World Council of Churches) represent the foundational work for this exciting publication:

Phase I (1967–1972)

The Gospel and the Church (Malta Report – 1972)

Phase II (1973–1984)

The Eucharist (1978)
All Under One Christ (1980)
Ways to Community (1980)
The Ministry in the Church (1981)
Martin Luther – Witness to Christ (1983)
Facing Unity – Models, Forms and Phases of Catholic-Lutheran Church Fellowship (1984)

Phase III (1986–1993)

Church and Justification (1993)

Phase IV (1995–2006)

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (31 October 1999)
The Apostolicity of the Church (2006)

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