A historic and landmark gathering of church leaders from five global Christian World Communions, the Roman Catholic, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches . which took place at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States from 26 to 28 March, issued a statement recommitting themselves to communicating the biblical message of salvation in new ways to contemporary society. We wish to make more visible our common witness, in worship and service, on our journey together towards visible unity, walking together, praying together and working together.
Originally signed by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) has since been broadened to include the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches, all of which agree on the core message of salvation in and through Christ. and looked toward a future realizing a deeper communion towards the full visible unity of the church and to make manifest the growth in communion which we have already been experiencing.
In a concluding statement, participants highlighted the way in which the JDDJ process led to the overcoming of centuries-old controversies. They also noted how its method of differentiating consensus, which allows for core agreement while maintaining different confessional expressions, can be used to deal with past, present and future obstacles relating to both doctrinal and ethical questions. In a broken, violent and fearful world, it is urgent that the church bear witness to the possibility of unity and reconciliation and manifest the courage to stand together in works of proclamation, justice and compassion. The participating communions pledged to be united in common witness to the God of life so that churches can embrace difference and disagreements without allowing them to divide.
The participants affirmed that the gathering represents in a new way a global koinonia of communions as common witness to the liberating power of God’s grace. God’s saving work touches all of creation and all people so that unity and justice are inseparable. The JDDJ has formed the basis of a new orientation to one another. Global Christian Communions should no longer begin from the place of division, but of unity. They should no longer look for what is lacking in one another but rather look for the distinctive gifts that each bring for the spiritual edification and sanctification of all.
The participants agreed to establish a steering committee “to take forward the momentum generated by our meeting through promoting and monitoring the process of developing relationships among the adherents of JDDJ.”
There are also plans to develop a range of catechetical tools and resources, in various forms, written and visual, including a dedicated common webpage, to be used in all aspects of church life and theological education.
Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda participated in the gathering representing the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
(The Consultation Statement is given here in pdf format.)