Lutherans and Catholics to sign away major doctrinal dispute

On Oct. 31, Lutherans and Catholics will take a crucial step toward resolving a theological controversy that began 482 years ago after Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. In the German town of Augsburg, the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church will sign a joint declaration stating "a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justifications exists between Lutherans and Catholics." Thus, mutual doctrinal condemnations pronounced at the time of the Reformation no longer will apply.

The doctrine of justification (all persons depend completely on the grace of God for salvation), one of the main reasons for the breach between Martin Luther and the papacy, led to mutual doctrinal condemnations. Lutherans considered unbiblical the Catholic teaching about the role of good works in winning salvation.

While Lutherans and Catholics will not soon be in full communion or able to share the Eucharist, the goal is a further reduction of "enemy images."

- Ecumenical News International

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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