Five Christian World Communions Reflect on the Joint Declaration and its consequences for their communion at the University of Notre Dame

From the 25th to the 18th of March, representatives of five Christian World Communions gathered at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana (USA): the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran World Federation, the Methodist World Conference, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Anglican Communion.

All of these communions have (albeit in different ways) declared their agreement with the content of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). It is a novum in the history of the church that these World Communions can indeed declare agreement on how we understand our relationship with God, and not in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church but precisely in dialogue with it. The joy over this fact was palpable at the meeting in Notre Dame.

Prof. Theodor Dieter of the Strasbourg Institute attended the event and was the only participant who took part in the process of creating the JDDJ. Speaking from his own experience, he reported on the process that led to the JDDJ as well as how Methodists and Reformed could come to affirm the JDDJ without having been original partners in its creation. For Prof. Dieter himself, it was a lovely experience to hear how the concept of “differentiated consensus” or “differentiating consensus” was used reflexively by all the participants. This concept was developed right here in Strasbourg and brought into the ecumenical arena by previous Institute Director Harding Meyer. The concept and the methods that work in tandem with it were publicly valued as key to the whole ecumenical discussion.

What remains now is for these five Christian World Communions to deepen the agreement as stated in the JDDJ and to see how they can from this common foundation proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to people today—people who have often forgotten about God entirely.

Read the Final Statement here: JDDJ ND Final Statement