Monday, May 10 1999

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
Study Resources for Congregations and Parishes

Published by:
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

At the time of the Reformation, the doctrine of justification was identified as “the article on which the church stands or falls”. In 1995, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity summarized the positive results of their dialogues on this topic in a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Since that time, both churches have been engaged in a reception process. At present, both the Vatican and the LWF Council are considering joint action to confirm the consensus on the basic truths of the doctrine of justification and the nonapplicability of the mutual condemnations of the Reformation period. As an important step toward resolving one of the key issue at the beginning of the Reformation, this Joint Declaration will have a significant impact on the reconciliation of all Christians.


With a view to encouraging as many persons as possible to reflect on the meaning of the doctrine of justification both at the time of the Reformation and in contemporary society, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) prepared this booklet on Justification by Faith through Grace. The booklet contains a series of bible studies for use in congregations and parishes and includes the full text of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine on Justification. It will be of interest not only to Lutherans and Roman Catholics but also to members of all churches committed to the search for Christian unity.


This booklet has been designed as a resource for small group study and discussion. It contains six sessions or workshops.  The length of each session is approximately two hours.  The suggested process may be adapted to the participants’ needs, interests and numbers. The sessions in this booklet may be used over a six week period, or local groups may choose to select among them for a one or two day study. Each session concludes with a selection of articles from the Joint Declaration. In four of the sessions, reflection is assisted by means of a bible study on related biblical passages.


Suggestions for Group Study and Discussion
Session I: Identifying the Sources of Division
Session II: God’s Saving Grace
Session III: The Free Gift of Faith
Session IV: Assurance of Salvation
Session V: The Good Works of Christians
Session VI: Looking Ahead Together
Prayer Service
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
Selected Bibliography

56 pages, 14 x 21.5 cm, saddle-stitched, (code 4-362), $6.95
ISBN 0-88997-435-7
In the United States (code 4-362w), $5.95 US

Available through:

Publications Service
90 Parent Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B1

Telephone 1-800-769-1147  or  (613) 241-7538
Fax (613) 241-5090

Also distributed  through Augsburg Fortress Canada, 1-800-265-6397 (Kitchener), or 1-800-661-8379 (Calgary)        (Available in French at the same price)