Monday, November 12, 2007


You have probably heard of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), a document signed by Lutheran and RC theologians explaining that they now agree on the article of justification, right? Have you heard of my JDDI? It stands for the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Indulgences, I call this JDDI. It is not formulated yet, but I propose its construction.

I have been carried over to a discussion with Fr. Pontificator (in one of the blogs I stick my nose in) on the idea that the Lutherans and the RCs are now agreed on justification. One of the salvos in this direction is to point that these groups signed the JDDJ and that there are RC scholars (e.g. Frs. Joseph Fitzmeyer etc.) who agree that iustificare means to declare righteous hence, siding with the Lutheran Protestants, rather than make righteous.

I do have a very simple (read stupid) point to make. I will believe that the Lutherans agree now on justification with the RCs if they both sign a document on JDDI. My suspicion is that those Lutheran guys who signed the JDDJ would probably not have signed it had there been statements that indulgences were still ok. The thing is that it has no mention of such a topic. So there, I propose that in dialog with Mother Church, the first thing on the agenda should be my JDDI.

Oh, incidentally, in as much as we can commend Fr. Fitzmeyer's scholarship in that he proves that the Reformers were correct, we have to remember, the good Father is not an official spokes person for the Magisterium, OK? We must remember the RC e-pologists call such RC scholars as "liberal".

So there, what do you think, what are the things we can say that prove that the Lutherans are now in agreement with the RCC? I propose the RCs sign the BoC or if not sign a JDDI...


Past Elder said...

I'll believe the RCC signers to the JDDJ hold the same faith I do when they make the same public confession I did on becoming Lutheran (twice, actually, WELS then LCMS, but the same public confession).

L P Cruz said...

Past Elder,

I am curious, explain if you would. My reading of JDDJ says that the Lutherans agree to sign that they believe X and the RCC agree to sign that they believe Y. Both of them acknowledge the other.

The point would be this then - will it be correct to say that the JDDJ is a document of convergence between the two? In effect they both agree with sola fide (since that is our doctrine) or both of them agree in disagreeing with it?


J. K. Jones said...


Great post.

I can't find the RCC making any changes or concessions in the various statements (JDDJ, ECT). I do find the protestants giving away thier theological shirts.

J. K.

L P Cruz said...


Right on JK, they are selling the farm. The thing though is that the signers are not convinced of the Lutheran Confessions as doctrinal in nature but historical remarks on past issues.

After posting I researched more and the document below has more that I have not seen, I have seen indulgences but the document below has more...

Thanks for the visit bro.


Past Elder said...

When the JDDJ came out, I wasn't Past Elder but an elder in WELS. We studied it in adult "Sunday School". It became clear that the document was really only an agreement to mean different things by the same phrase.

Actually it wasn't news to me at all. I remember in the pre-conciliar days being taught that Luther came to his false understanding of sola fide because he never grasped the church's teaching of salvation by faith alone, due to the heterodoxy of the age.

But to use a more mathematical language, yes, one believes x and the other y, x and y both understood as sola fide.

Neither my past nor present synod, WELS or LCMS, signed. As they say, good on ya!

L P Cruz said...

Past Elder,

Unfortunately my synod through the LWF (they are an associate member) I believed signed :-(.

There is ambiguous language in JDDJ, very much so from what I recall I think one of them is in paragraph 25.

But really the point many ecumenical RCCs and in fact former Prots point to JDDJ to comfort themselves that they can believe the Prot way and be in the RCC.

I was just reading the Smalcald articles and if the JDDJ formulators looked at the Smalcald they would have known that justification should have been discussed with the Mass.


Past Elder said...

The fact is, you can believe ANY way and be in the RCC.

That the documents demonstrate a common understanding of faith, justification, or justification by faith is an absolute illusion driven by the idea that unity is the central imperative. Christ prayed that we be one. He was no less clear on what makes us many. The JDDJ is a mockery of Lutheranism, Catholicism, and the unity Christ prayed for.

I don't know if the LCA signed or not. We (LCMS) didn't, and there is an excellent paper on why not on our synodical site. I didn't know the LCA was a member of any kind in the LWF. I know they are an associate member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) to which we belong along with other confessional Lutheran denominations. It would strike me as odd to belong to both.

L P Cruz said...

Past Elder,

Ain't that the truth that Mother Church will let you hold to any private belief and even practice, just don't buck the Pope.

LCA is an associate member of both. People might of course disagree with me but I see LCA as a centrist synod, at least that is how it is described by my pastor, and what my research shows.