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The Lutheran-Roman Catholic agreement on justification: its ecumenical significance and scope from a Methodist point of view.

When, in 1998 and 1999, Lutherans and Roman Catholics reached and signed their international bilateral agreement on the doctrine of justification, it might have seemed that all the Methodists had to do was politely offer their congratulations on the achievement and step aside. It was none of their direct business. Nevertheless, alert Methodists perceived that the matter was of at least indirect interest to them also. For one thing, the history of Methodism depended on the sixteenth-century Reformation, albeit in its English form, which had inadvertently led to the splitting of Western Christendom. Further, Methodists themselves had recently been engaged in bilateral dialogues with both of the partners to the new agreement. Finally, the agreement between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, if it began the healing of the perduring division of the Western church, was bound to affect the entire ecumenical scene, of which Methodists have been a part since the beginning of the modern movement in favor of Christian unit y. So, not content with being formally represented at the impending solemn signing of the texts at Augsburg on October 31, 1999, the World Methodist Council resolved at the meeting of its executive committee in Hong Kong in September, 1999, to approach the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity with a desire to explore whether Methodists might in some way become associated with the original achievement and benefit from it, for their own and the greater ecumenical good. In considering the implementation of their agreement, the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics recognized the possibility of its wider implications, and the L.W.F. and the P.C.P.C.U. consequently invited the World Methodist Council and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to a consultation. Thanks to the generous initiative of the Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist seminaries located in Columbus, Ohio, such a quadripartite meeting was planned to take place in that city in late November, 2001.

I am responsible for the coordination of dialogues on behalf of the World Methodist Council, and, since 1986, I have co-chaired the Joint Commission for Dialogue between the W.M.C. and the Roman Catholic Church. What I have to say at this stage, however, comes from me as simply an individual theologian.

The first and fundamental question to be asked by a Methodist theologian with ecumenical intentions is whether the Lutheran-Catholic text--the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification and its protocols--is compatible with Methodist doctrinal standards. (1) Given a Methodist interest in affirming heir text, Lutherans and Catholics, for their part, would concurrently or subsequently need to ask, contrariwise, whether Methodist teaching is compatible with the Joint Declaration; that question in the reverse direction by definition lies beyond my competence. Separately or together, however, Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists will presumably all want to examine the match between the Joint Declaration and what has been stated on the theme in the respective bilateral dialogues between Lutherans and Methodists as well as between Methodists and Catholics, even though the reports from those dialogues have not received a solemn approval equal to that given by the L.W.F. and the P.C.P.C.U. to the Joint Declar ation. I shall, therefore, as a second step call attention to Lutheran-Methodist and Methodist-Catholic references to the doctrine of justification. Those references may need to be factored into the answers to the first two-way question. My third step will be to reflect briefly on the manner or manners in which Methodists might become associated with the Joint Declaration, assuming that mutually satisfactory answers were returned to the opening questions by all parties. Fourth, I will ask how Methodists might then contribute to the further implementation that the Joint Declaration itself envisages in its final two paragraphs, even while recognizing that the original text remains fixed.

I. Matching Standards

I begin, then, with the question of whether, from a Methodist standpoint, the Lutheran-Catholic text is compatible with Methodist doctrinal standards. There exists, from the start, a problem of differences in genres. The Methodist "standards" characteristically consist in John Wesley's adaptation of the Anglican Articles of Religion (at least for American Methodists) and (almost universally) in the first four volumes of Wesley's sermons (variously numbered at 44 or 53) and his Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament, although the Wesleyan texts are generally viewed, as in the formulation of the Methodist Church of Great Britain, not as "a system of formal or speculative theology" but, rather, as setting up "standards of preaching and belief which should secure loyalty to the fundamental truths of the Gospel of Redemption and ensure the continued witness of the Church to the realities of the Christian experience of salvation" (constitutional Deed of Union, 30).

In practice, our most deliberately Methodist doctrinal procedure would be to seek guidance in the constitutionally privileged documents, enlarged by other Wesleyan writings, and set within a tradition of responsible interpretation by successive generations since our eighteenth-century origins. The documents themselves imply what the United Methodist Church names "the primacy of Scripture" and respect for the classic Tradition of Christianity, while any act of interpretation and application calls for the best use of faithful and disciplined reason as well as attention to the deliverances of experience in Christian living. None of this is exempt from controversy among Methodists, any more than analogous procedures are trouble-free within or between other ecclesial communities. I suspect that Lutherans and Catholics, from their respective historical and confessional starting-points and then in a developing dialogue, proceeded analogously as they sought to overcome divisive differences over justification and fina lly succeeded in composing the Joint Declaration. So it may after all be appropriate that a Methodist "evaluation" (presumptuous as that may be) should take the form of a theological reading of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in terms of a soteriological perspective such as Wesley impressed on what became the Methodist ecclesial tradition and community. Justification was without doubt a vital question in the eighteenth-century revival, and Wesley's answer to it has stamped Methodism abidingly. (2)

The first thing to note is that Wesley drew a sharp distinction between justification and sanctification. Concisely put, as in Sermon 5 ("Justification by Faith"), justification is "what God does for us through his Son"; sanctification is "what he works in us by his Spirit." (3) Or, a little more fully, as in Sermon 45 ("The New Birth"):

If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed fundamental they are doubtless these two--the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: the former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature. In order of time neither of these is before the other. In the moment we are justified by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Jesus we are also `born of the Spirit' [Jn. 3:6, 8]; but in order of thinking, as it is termed, justification precedes the new birth. We first conceive his wrath to be turned away, and then his Spirit to work in our hearts. (4)

The latter aspect is further developed later in the same sermon: "When we are born again, then our sanctification, our inward and outward holiness, begins. And thenceforward we are gradually to `grow up in him who is our head"' [Eph. 4:15]. (5) Or, yet again, as in Sermon 19 ("The Great Privilege of those that are Born of God"):

This distinction is what allowed Wesley, in his late Sermon 107, "On God's Vineyard," fairly or unfairly to criticize both Lutheran and Catholic teaching on soteriology, but it must also be noted that Wesley distinguished for the sake of uniting:

Justification implies only a relative, the new birth a real, change. God in justifying us does something for us: in begetting us again he does the work in us. The former changes our outward relation to God, so that of enemies we become children; by the latter our inmost souls are changed, so that of sinners we become saints. The one restores us to the favour, the other to the image of God. The one is the taking away the guilt, the other the taking away the power, of sin. So that although they are joined together in point of time, yet they are of wholly distinct natures. (6)

Many who have spoken and written admirably well concerning justification had no clear conception, nay, were totally ignorant, of the doctrine of sanctification. Who has wrote more ably than Martin Luther on justification by faith alone? And who was more ignorant of the doctrine of sanctification, or more confused in his conceptions of it? In order to be thoroughly convinced of this, of his total ignorance with regard to sanctification, there needs no more than to read over, without prejudice, his celebrated comment on the Epistle to the Galatians. On the other hand, how many writers of the Romish Church... have wrote strongly and scripturally on sanctification; who nevertheless were entirely unacquainted with the nature of justification. Insomuch that the whole body of their divines at the Council of Trent in their Catechismus ad Parochos totally confound sanctification and justification together. But it has pleased God to give the Methodists a full and clear knowledge of each, and the wide difference between them.

They know, indeed, that at the same time a man is justified sanctification properly begins. For when he is justified he is 'born again', 'born from above', 'born of the Spirit'; which, although it is not (as some suppose) the whole process of sanctification, is doubtless the gate of it. (7)

It is then a great blessing given to this people [the Methodists] that, as they do not think or speak of justification so as to supersede sanctification, so neither do they think or speak of sanctification so as to supersede justification. They take care to keep each in its own place, laying equal stress on one and the other. They know God has joined these together, and it is not for man to put them asunder. Therefore they maintain with equal zeal and diligence the doctrine of free, full, present justification on the one hand, and of entire sanctification both of heart and life on the other...

Who then is a Christian, according to the light which God has vouchsafed to this people? He that, being justified by faith, hath peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [cf. Rom. 5:1]; and at the same time is 'born again', 'born from above', 'born of the Spirit' [cf. Jn. 3:5-8]; inwardly changed from the image of the devil to that 'image of God wherein he was created' [cf. Col. 3:10]. He that finds the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto him [cf. Rom. 5:5]; and whom this love sweetly constrains to 'love his neighbour', every man, 'as himself' [cf. Mk. 12:33; Mt. 22:38-40]. (8)

If continuance in the regrettably triumphalist vein of Wesley may be excused, Methodists might say that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification has finally brought Lutherans and Catholics to affirm together the twofold truth that had been distorted from the one side or the other--the distinct but inseparable doctrines of the sheer giftedness of the divine forgiveness of the sinner and the real change empowered and summoned in the recipient of grace. The key passage is paragraphs 15-17:

15. In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.

16. All people are called by God to salvation in Christ. Through Christ alone are we justified, when we receive this salvation in faith. Faith is itself God's gift through the Holy Spirit, who works through word and sacrament in the community of believers and who at the same time leads believers into that renewal of life which God will bring to completion in eternal life.

17. We also share the conviction that the message of justification directs us in a special way towards the heart of the New Testament witness to God's saving action in Christ: It tells us that as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way.

In my estimation, that passage is not merely compatible with the Wesleyan and Methodist doctrine of salvation but constitutes a concise statement of its gist. To deny original sin, said Wesley, would be to renounce "justification by the merits of Christ" and "the renewal of our natures by his Spirit." (9) The "two general parts" of salvation (so Sermon 43, "The Scripture Way of Salvation") (10) are justification and sanctification, whereby the objective work of the Son and the Spirit for the defeat of sin--"the Son, giving himself to be 'a propitiation for the sins of the world'," and the Spirit, "renewing men in that image of God wherein they were created" (Sermon 85, "On Working Out Our Own Salvation") (11) -- are appropriated by faith and result in holiness, so that at the anthropological end "our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three, that of repentance, of faith, and of holiness" (so "The Principles of a Methodist Farther Explained"). (12)

Now, the Joint Declaration itself recognizes that, as between Catholics and Lutherans themselves, there remain "differences of language, theological elaboration and emphasis in the understanding of justification" that are "acceptable" in that the respective "explications" are "open to one another and do not destroy the consensus regarding basic truths" (para. 40). These differences are set out under seven heads, whereby a common confession is each time followed by separate paragraphs in which each side states its characteristic position in such a way as to obviate misunderstandings or objections on the part of the other. In lectures given at Bonn and Erlangen in 1998, I offered comments on those seven paints in the guise of "reflections of a Methodist swing-voter"; (13) I may briefly indicate here how I think Methodism inclines now to one side, now to the other, in relation to these "differences of emphasis"--without falling off either pan of the scales. I suppose that I am, therefore, in some sense seeking, after all, to anticipate a favorable estimate by the principal partners concerning the compatibility of Methodist doctrine with the Joint Declaration.

The first difference in emphasis is headed "human powerlessness and sin in relation to justification" (sect. 4.1). The commonly confessed dependence of a person's salvation from the very beginning on the action of God would be explicated by Methodists in terms of prevenient grace. In Sermon 43 ("The Scripture Way of Salvation") Wesley speaks first of salvation in its comprehensive sense as "the entire work of God, from the first dawning of grace in the soul till it is consummated in glory" and describes the initial phase of "preventing grace" (14) in trinitarian terms:

all the 'drawings' of 'the Father' [cf. Jn. 6:44], the desires after God, which, if we yield to them, increase more and more; all that 'light' wherewith the Son of God 'enlighteneth everyone that cometh into the world' [cf. Jn. 1:9], showing every man 'to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God' [cf. Mic. 6:8]; all the convictions which his Spirit from time to time works in every child of man [cf. Jn. 16:8-11]. (15)

Wesley held that "every man has a measure of free will restored to him by grace" and that God generally brings people to faith by noncoercive "assistance." (16) It is to the liberating power of prevenient grace and the enabling help of concomitant grace that Methodists would attribute what I like to call an "active receptivity" in the appropriation of salvation that sounds closer to Catholic talk of "consenting to God's justifying action" (para. 20) than to Lutheran talk of a reception "mere passive" (para. 21). That very phraseology--the "mere passive"--was, in fact, condemned by the Council of Trent in the fourth canon on justification, but Lutherans state in the present document that they do not thereby mean to deny that "believers are fully involved personally in their faith, which is effected by God's Word" (para. 21).

The second difference in emphasis is discussed under the head of "justification as forgiveness of sins and making righteous" (sect. 4.2). In the terms of historic controversy, the Lutheran stress falls on imputed righteousness; the Catholic, on imparted righteousness. In Sermon 20 ("The Lord Our Righteousness"), Wesley writes:

I believe God implants righteousness in every one to whom he has imputed it. I believe 'Jesus Christ is made of God unto us sanctification' as well as righteousness [cf. 1 Cor. 1:30]; or that God sanctifies, as well as justifies, all them that believe in him. They to whom the righteousness of Christ is imputed are made righteous by the Spirit of Christ, are renewed in the image of God 'after the likeness wherein they were created, in righteousness and true holiness' [cf. Eph. 4:241]. (17)

Thus, Wesley holds to Christ not only as (in his redemptive passion) the meritorious cause of justification (a point on which Lutherans and Catholics declare their agreement) but also as (in his transformative presence) its formal cause, a point that some Catholics have missed from the Joint Declaration. The Lutheran paragraph 26 may make echo to recent Finnish Luther-research when it states, "Justification and renewal are joined in Christ, who is present in faith." (18) Wesley can speak of Christ as "reigning in all believing hearts" (Sermon 36, "The Law Established through Faith, II") (19) and as the one Lord "who has set up his kingdom in their hearts" (Sermon 74, "Of the Church") (20); "even the holiest of men . . . still need Christ as their King, for God does not give them a stock of holiness, but unless they receive a supply every moment, nothing but unholiness would remain" ("A Plain Account of Christian Perfection"). (21) Among Wesley's favorite ways of speaking of the believer's inward and outward c onformation to Christ are "having the mind of Christ" (cf. Phil. 2:5) and "walking in his ways" (cf. 1 Jn. 2:6). There is, of course, no competition among the trinitarian persons (Wesley, like Paul in Rom. 8:9-11, can speak of "the Spirit of Christ"), so that the divine indwelling and work can also be attributed to the Holy Spirit, in the manner of an efficient cause, as in Wesley's exposition of the third article of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed in his "Letter to a Roman Catholic":

I believe the infinite and eternal Spirit, equal with the Father and the Son, to be not only perfectly holy in himself, but the immediate cause of all holiness in us: enlightening our understandings, rectifying our wills and affections, renewing our natures, uniting our persons to Christ, assuring us of the adoption of sons, leading us in our actions, purifying and sanctifying our souls and bodies to a full and eternal enjoyment of God. (22)

The third difference of emphasis is treated in the Joint Declaration under "justification by faith and through grace" (sect. 4.3). Of sinners who "are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ," Lutherans and Catholics together state that "[t]hey place their trust in God's gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him," such faith being also "active in love"--presumably toward the neighbor (para. 25). The succeeding paragraph 26 presents as the Lutheran understanding that "God justifies sinners in faith alone (sola fide)" and that "God's act... leads to a life in hope and love," where the renewal of life "follows from justification" (emphasis added); the corresponding Catholic paragraph 27 states that the justified "receive from Christ faith, hope and love." Now many Lutheran critics of the Joint Declaration thought that even the formulation of paragraph 26, let alone that of paragraph 25, amounted to a surrender of the sola fide, which had been a watchword of the Reformation. In the 1999 protocol, the Official Common Statement in paragraph 2C of the Annex brings in the sola fide; it immediately cites Thomas Aquinas to the effect that "Grace creates faith not only when faith begins in a person but as long as faith lasts," and it continues: "The working of God's grace does not exclude human action: God effects everything, the willing and the achievement; therefore we are called to strive (cf. Phil. 2:12ff.)."

The issue is the nature and content of faith, not so directly the creedal faith that is believed (fides quae creditur) as the faith by which one believes (fides qua creditur), and this may be the most neuralgic point in the whole debate. In his Small Catechism, in exposition of the first commandment, Luther offers a comprehensive definition of faith in this sense: "We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things"; in his Preface to Paul's Letter to the Romans, he describes faith as "a living, busy, active, powerful thing"; and in his Sermon on Good Works and in his exposition of the decalogue in the Large Catechism, he makes faith the first and basic "work" in fulfillment of the first commandment. (23) For his part, Wesley explains that "we are justified by faith alone, and yet by such a faith as is not alone," quoting from the official Homilies of the Church of England:

Faith does not shut out repentance, hope, love, and the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified; but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying. So that although they be present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not altogether. Neither doth faith shut out good works, necessarily to be done afterwards, of duty towards God. (24)

Wesley liked to speak of "living faith," which is "faith that works by love," in contrast to the work-less faith that is "dead, being alone" (Jas. 2:17). In showing the consonance between Wesleyan and, indeed, Pauline soteriology, Walter Klaiber has written thus:

That the human person is properly the subject of the verb "to believe"--and must remain so, not only grammatically but also theologically--finds expression in Wesley's treatment of both the act and the effect of faith. For Wesley, the priority of God's work of grace did not entail that faith contain as little as possible in the way of human movement and activity. Quite the opposite: Wesley recognized the creative and transformative power of grace in his descriptions of the nature and effect of faith in all areas of human existence, particularly in the area of the emotions and inner experience as well as in the area of willing and do....The faith by which a person holds fast to what God in Christ has done for him or her is not only God's gift but also the human vessel and instrument for the working of God's grace in one's life. (25)

Overall, it seems to me that Wesley, with his recognition of the active side of faith, comes closer to what has sometimes been called the "catholic Luther" than to some Lutheran criticisms of the Joint Declaration that have, in fact, in the past sometimes been made against the Methodist teaching on justification.

There is, however, a difficulty that cannot be ignored in connection with the nature of faith. The joint paragraph 25 declares that the "gift of salvation" is granted "[b]y the action of the Holy Spirit in baptism." In paragraph 28 it is again jointly declared that "in baptism the Holy Spirit unites one with Christ, justifies and truly renews the person"; and in paragraphs 29 and 30 Lutherans and Catholics build on this baptismal basis their respective treatments of the problem designated "the justified as sinner" (sect. 4.4). In none of those places is the relation between baptism and faith made clear. Only in paragraph 27 do the Catholics state, "Persons are justified through baptism as hearers of the word and believers in it." In the Council of Trent's decree on justification, the fifth chapter expressly treats of justification "in adultis"; from that point on, at the latest, the entire discussion presupposes an "adult" faith. In the Joint Declaration, however, it would appear, from the references made to baptism, that everything said about justification and faith-with the possible exception of the Catholic sentence just quoted from paragraph 27-is meant to apply also in the case of infants, since both Lutherans and Catholics practice the baptism of infants.

Here, Methodists, who also practice infant baptism, inherit an ambiguous legacy from Wesley. To his life's end, Wesley viewed the baptism of infants as a "regeneratio sacramentalis," (26) but he also maintained that one might "sin away" one's baptism (by the age of nine or ten) and stand in need of (another) "new birth":

Lean no more on the staff of that broken reed, that ye were born again in baptism. Who denies that ye were then made 'children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven'? But notwithstanding this, ye are now children of the devil; therefore ye must be born again.... [I]f ye have been baptized your only hope is this: that those who were made the children of God by baptism, but are now the children of the devil, may yet again receive 'power to become the sons of God' [Jn. 1:12]; that they may receive again what they have lost, even the 'Spirit of adoption, crying in their hearts, Abba, Father' [cf. Rom. 8:15]!

Amen, Lord Jesus! May everyone who prepareth his heart yet again to seek thy face receive again that Spirit of adoption, and cry out, Abba, Father! Let him now again have power to believe in thy name as to become a child of God; as to know and feel he hath 'redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins' [cf. Cal. l:l4], and that he 'cannot commit sin, because he is born of God' [cf. 1 Jn. 3:9]. (27)

Clearly, the "saving faith" envisaged by Wesley-and emphasized among Methodists-has a conscious, personal, behavioral character that makes it difficult to square justification with baptism tel quel. That will affect also how Methodists relate particularly to the fourth and the sixth "difference of emphasis" laid out in the Joint Declaration under the heads of "the justified as sinner" (sect. 4.4) and "assurance of salvation" (sect. 4.6).

The fourth difference of emphasis concerns, then, the question of sin in believers. Insofar as the historical controversy has centered on the believer as "at once righteous and a sinner" (simul iustus et peccator), Methodists have favored a "partially-partially" position (partim-partim) over the "totally-totally" stand (totus-totus) taken by the Lutherans in paragraph 29: "Believers are totally righteous, in that God forgives their sins through word and sacrament and grants the righteousness of Christ, which they appropriate in faith.... Looking at themselves through the law, however, they recognize that they remain also totally sinners." Still, it should be noted that there are passages in Luther's own writings that speak of a progressive transformation of sinners into saints by the Spirit's work of cleansing, healing, and vivification that come close to a Wesleyan understanding of sanctification. (28) When, however, Wesley had to defend his teaching on entire sanctification, or Christian perfection, he fou nd himself obliged to define sin as "the voluntary transgression of a known law" (so as to prevent the ignorance and weakness lingering from the Fall from infringing on the "posse non peccare" or "ability not to sin"). Thus, he made a distinction between sin properly so called and sin improperly so called that in some ways resembles the distinction made by Catholics in paragraph 30 between "sin in the proper sense" and "concupiscence" or "an inclination which comes from sin and presses toward sin." (29) In any case, as an individual theologian I must confess that I prefer, with Augustine and Luther, to call sin by its name. Wesley himself does so in Sermon 13, "On Sin in Believers," wherein he says that "[h]aving sin does not forfeit the favour of God; giving way to sin does," (30) so that, in language close to the Lutheran paragraph 29, sin may "remain," though not "reign," in believers. Wesley's Sermon 14 treats necessarily of "The Repentance of Believers."

The fifth difference of emphasis concerns "law and gospel" (sect. 4.5). According to an early Methodist Conference, "the most effectual way of preaching Christ is to preach him in all his offices, and to declare his law as well as his gospel, both to believers and unbelievers"; also, "the best general method of preaching" is "1. To invite; 2. To convince [= to convict of sin]; 3. To offer Christ; 4. To build up"--an apparent sequence of gospel, law, gospel, law, to be accomplished "in some measure in every sermon." (31) In Sermon 34 on "The Original, Nature, Properties, and Use of the Law," Wesley outlines a threefold use of the moral law: "to convince the world of sin" (32) or "to slay the sinner"; "to bring [the sinner] unto life, unto Christ, that he may live"; and "to keep us alive. It is the grand means whereby the blessed Spirit prepares the believer for larger communications of the life of God." (33) Insofar as sin remains in believers, Wesley would agree with the Lutherans in paragraph 32 that the la w retains for Christians its character of "demand and accusation," turning them unreservedly to the mercy of God in Christ ("convincing us of the sin that yet remains both in our hearts and lives," Wesley says in Sermon 34, "and thereby keeping us close to Christ, that his blood may cleanse us every moment"). To the continuing function of the law to convict must then be added, according to Wesley, the law's use in conveying by its divine perfection "strength from our Head into his living members, whereby he empowers them to do what his law commands" and in "confirming our hope of whatsoever it commands and we have not yet attained, of receiving grace upon grace, till we are in actual possession of the fullness of his promises." (34) Thus, a Wesleyan can affirm with the common paragraph 31 that "God's commandments retain their validity for the justified and that Christ has by his teaching and example expressed God's will, which is a standard for the conduct of the justified also" -- and even go on to say that the law of Christ contributes to that "growth in grace" spoken of in paragraphs 38 and 39.

The sixth stated difference of emphasis between Lutherans and Catholics concerns "assurance of salvation." In common with both Catholics and Lutherans, Methodists, too, consider "Christ's death and resurrection" (para. 34) and "the objective reality of Christ's promise" (para. 36) as the firm ground of salvation and the secure basis of faith. The teaching of the Reformers that believers should "look solely to Christ and trust only him" and may thereby be "assured of their salvation" (para. 35) found biographical exemplification in what Wesley underwent in London on the evening of May 24, 1738, when, while attending the meeting of a religious society in Aldersgate Street, he heard Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans being read:

About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. (35)

Such a gift of assurance, Wesley held, was "the common privilege" of believers. (36) In his teaching on assurance as a continuing reality, Wesley struck a pneumatological note that is lacking in what either Lutherans or Catholics say on this question in the Joint Declaration: Christians receive the direct witness of the Spirit, whereby they are enabled to cry "Abba, Father" (cf. Rom. 8:15-16), and there is an indirect witness to be found in the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (cf. Gal. 5:22-23). (37) Here resides, perhaps, the source of the joy that marks Wesley's teaching on assurance and that again is curiously missing from the Joint Declaration. For Wesley the "assurance of faith" is indeed an assurance of presently standing in the favor of God, but it does not constitute an unconditional guarantee of final salvation, which is reserved rather to those who freely persist in faith and who walk closely with God. There Wesley appears to have shared the concern about antinomianism that motivated the Council of Trent to condemn a "rash presumption of predestination" (praedestinationis temeraria praesumptio) and an "absolute certainty" (absoluta certitudo) of perseverance. (38)

The seventh and final difference of emphasis related between Lutherans and Catholics concerns "the good works of the justified" (sect. 4.7). That "good works" or "works of love" are both a "fruit" of justification and an "obligation" consequent upon it, as the common paragraph 37 declares, is a good Wesleyan formulation. So are the respective declarations in paragraphs 38 and 39 concerning "growth in grace." Wesley's conception is concisely captured in the important Sermon 85 based on Phil. 2:12-13, "On Working Out Our Own Salvation": "First, God worketh in you; therefore you can work--otherwise it would be impossible." (39) "Secondly, God worketh in you; therefore you must work: you must be 'workers together with him' (they are the very words of the Apostle); otherwise he will cease working." (40) Paragraph 2C of the Annex cites the very text of Phil. 2:12-13 in support of its declaration that "[t]he working of God's grace does not exclude human action: God effects everything, the willing and the achievemen t; therefore, we are called to strive." It is also pleasing that the Lutherans, being historically suspicious of "synergy," could find a passage in their confessional writings in support of human "cooperation" with God in sanctification: "As soon as the Holy Spirit has initiated his work of regeneration and renewal in us through the Word and the holy sacraments, it is certain that we can and must cooperate by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Annex, para. 2C); and paragraph 2D of the Annex is able to cite Lutheran confessional texts on the need for good works in order not to lose one's calling, faith, and the Holy Spirit. (41) Maintaining, with all concerned, the character of good works as made possible by grace, Wesleyans will share both the Catholic emphasis on "the responsibility of persons for their actions" (para. 38) and the Lutheran understanding of "eternal life... as unmerited 'reward' in the sense of the fulfillment of God's promise to the believe" (para. 39). Wesley liked to cite St. Augustine to the effect that "he that made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves." (42) Wesley's basic position was that good works are a "presupposition" for eternal salvation, yet do not "earn" it. (43)

II. Bilateral Dialogues

The World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church have been engaged in a continuous bilateral dialogue since 1967. In the early years it was largely a matter of self-introduction and mutual exploration, so the portraiture of positions may be especially revealing in its simplicity. The Denver report of 1971 emphasized initial similarities (para. 55):

Out of their separate traditions, both Methodists and Roman Catholics come together as they recognize God's gracious prevenience, and as they express belief in Jesus Christ as God's Love Incarnate and the Holy Spirit as God with us. Both traditions hold man's cooperation with God in the mystery of salvation as necessary . . . Both traditions converge in "compatible definitions [of the Christian life as] a dynamic process of growth in grace, from the threshold of faith (justification) toward the fullness of faith (sanctification)..." (44)

As the dialogue became more focused, the first of its quinquennial reports to achieve thematic coherence was that of Honolulu-1981, where the three sections were significantly headed "Towards an Agreed Statement on the Holy Spirit," "The Holy Spirit, Christian Experience, and Authority," and "Christian Moral Decisions." For present purposes, the key paragraphs are 13-18. (45)

"With or without their knowing it," it was said, contemporary "questioners are asking about justification: how may a sinner find a gracious God? how may a meaningless life be given meaning?" The Joint Commission's answer begins:

The Holy Spirit is present and active within us throughout the entire experience of conversion which begins with an awareness of God's goodness and an experience of shame and guilt, proceeds to sorrow and repentance, and ends in gratitude for the possession of a new life given us through God's mercy in Jesus Christ.

Then, somewhat more technically:

Justification is not an isolated forensic episode, but is part of a process which finds its consummation in regeneration and sanctification, the participation of human life in the divine. . . .In justification God through the atoning work of Christ restores a sinner to a right relationship with himself. In such a restoration, both the initiative, the agency and the consummation is the ministry of the Holy Spirit as he brings Christ to us and leads us to him.

When a sinner is led to Christ and receives him, he is re-born and given the power to turn away from a life curved back upon itself toward a "new life", opened out to love of God and neighbor.... [T]his is justification: to be regarded and treated as righteous, for Christ's sake; and yet also to be put in the way of becoming righteous. All of this is done by the initiatives of the Father's redeeming mercy, manifested in the Son's atoning grace, through the Holy Spirit's activity within our hearts.

The Holy Spirit's "special" work is seen in terms of prevenient grace (where Methodists are presumed to agree with Trent about its "enabling us freely to choose to follow the inspiration God gives us when he touches our hearts with the light of the Holy Spirit"), witness to Christ ("to teach us.. all things necessary for our salvation"), adoption ("enabling us to say 'Abba' and in the Our Father to pray for forgiveness, conscious of weakness but fully confident of God's merciful love for us in Christ"), and sanctification: "The Holy Spirit sanctifies the regenerate Christian. Sanctification is a process that leads to perfect love. Life in the Spirit is human life, lived out in faith, hope and love, to its utmost in consonance with God's gracious purposes in and for his children."

In subsequent rounds, the Joint Commission has rarely used justification as an explicit category. In the 1991 Singapore report on "The Apostolic Tradition," for instance, a pneumatological paragraph (28) speaks of prevenient grace in much the same way as before, but a long section on "the pattern of Christian life" (paras. 39-47) does not employ the term "justification" at all. (46) In the 1996 Rio de Janeiro report, "The Word of Life: A Statement on Revelation and Faith," the greater attention is given to "The Faith Which Is Believed" (fides quae creditur), but under "The Faith by Which We Believe" (fides quae creditur) it is stated that "[i]n the midst of this [universal] sinfulness, Jesus comes as the only Saviour, God's revelation acquires the dimension of redemption, and faith is offered by the Spirit as saving faith, by which those who believe the gospel receive forgiveness, justification, sanctification, and all the graces that are needed to persevere in God's ways" (28.) (47) This is then spelled out without further use of the word "justification," though in ways that touch at several points upon matters discussed in connection with the Lutheran-Catholic Declaration. Thus, for instance, paragraph 30:

It is not by human power that the believers perceive the word addressed to them through Christ, believe it, and come to salvation (cf. Matt. 16:17). Faith is God's gift, which they accept. Finding in Jesus "the pioneer and perfecter of their faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2), the faithful undergo conversion, learn fidelity and witness to the one they trust. They strive to practise a loving and willing obedience. Because they believe in Christ, they obey him. Because they hear and confess the truth of his revelation, they seek to live by it. Because they trust in his promises, they abandon themselves to God and they work towards the perfection to which they are called. In their life of fidelity and obedience, they are led by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. (48)

The long-running national dialogue between the Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales was able in 1988 to publish a "consensus statement" on "Justification," although even in its slightly revised form of 1991 it was characterized as "interim" and allowing "the search for an agreed formulation to continue." (49) After giving the sixteenth-and eighteenth-century backgrounds, the statement concludes that "below the argument about words to be used in technical matters of doctrine there runs a deep, biblical piety where both traditions can feel at home," and that "difference of usage with regard to terms like justification and sanctification does not appear to indicate any real difference in overall belief":

At the level of doctrine there is certainly agreement on the fundamental tenet that the grace of God comes first; the initiative in salvation rests with God. The temptation to Pelagianism, or at least to semi-Pelagianism, can touch Christians of all kinds. One can slip into the assumption that we make the first move and that our destiny in union with God rests in the last analysis on free choice. But against such temptations one must set the fundamental Christian doctrine, shared by Catholics, Methodists and others, that God's grace comes first. In the last analysis the person who is saved is saved by grace with free consent (in the case of an adult) but not saved by free consent. (50)

Of remaining problems, the key to the question of merit is found in St. Augustine's dictum that "When God crowns our merits, he crowns his own gifts." On the question "When is a Christian brought to perfection?"--whether before or at or beyond the moment of death (purgatory!)--the revised version of the statement pronounces as follows:

Methodists and Roman Catholics are united in confessing that perfect holiness is necessary before a person can see God face to face (cf Hebrews 12:14). When a person has reached in this life a measure of holiness which falls short of perfection, then it is believed that this perfection is conferred in the transition from this life to eternal life. Granted such basic agreements, some variety of attitudes and practices may be tolerated... and criticised in a united Church. (51)

Meeting for a single round of dialogue in the years between 1979 and 1984, a Joint Commission between the Lutheran World Federation and the World Methodist Council produced a wide-ranging final report under the title "The Church: Community of Grace." (52) In the section "Salvation by Grace through Faith," justification, sanctification, and the Christian life are presented in terms of "agreement" followed by the respective "emphases" of Lutherans and Methodists, although it is not always clear if or how, these "differ." Given its direct pertinence to the current theme, this passage must be quoted in extenso:

23. We agree that, in accordance with the scriptures, justification is the work of God in Christ and comes through faith alone. Within the context of justification, faith comprises both assent and trust. Persons as sinners are justified by God's gracious love in Christ, and not on the basis of human efforts or worthiness. Christ's righteousness is imputed and imparted to them by an act of God as they are enabled by the Holy Spirit to trust in God. Justification is dependent upon Christ's atoning death. In Christ, God reconciled the world and conquered the evil forces that dominate human life and the created order.

24. Wesleyans stress the prevenient grace of God which prepares humans for acknowledgment of justifying grace. They also affirm justification as the foundation for full redemption in Christ. Thus Methodists tend to understand justification by faith in Jesus Christ as initiating and, as such, determining the whole Christian life through God's action and personal appropriation. Lutherans believe that in justification, at once and constantly, God gives forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life. Christians therefore are in every moment dependent on God's justifying grace and never move beyond or above the position of justified sinners. For both traditions, Christians throughout their whole life are in need of God's forgiving grace.

25. Reflection upon justification leads to consideration of sanctification. Sanctification is also a work of God's grace. Both traditions agree that sanctification is, on the one hand, seen as God's completed and anticipated act when God justifies and reconciles human beings. On the other hand, sanctification is God's work which is continuously going on in the Christian's life led by the Holy Spirit. In this way human beings are both drawn closer to God in faith and nearer to the neighbour in love. Lutherans stress that in Christ people are justified and sanctified while at the same time they remain sinners before God (simul justus et peccator). Methodists speak of this drastic change as a new birth in consequence of which the regenerated Christian lives in ever deepening and more fruitful love of God and neighbour. Methodists dare set no limit to what the grace of God can do for people in this present life. And it was a part of the original tradition received through John Wesley to believe that perfect love should be earnestly sought by believers and might be received in this life.

26. Furthermore, we agree on the basis of scripture that a Christian lives by God's grace received through faith. For Christian life, authentic faith inevitably yields obedience. Christian faith is faith that is active in love and is ever anew called to do good works because of God's command and for the sake of the neighbour. New being in Christ is the result of justification through the Holy Spirit. Methodists emphasize the positive condition of that new creation.... Lutherans also emphasize the positive conditions of new creation and understand the Christian life as daily conversion (recognition of our continuing sin and continuous call upon the forgiving grace of God) and as faithful following of Christ in daily obedience. The law stands as claim and judge; the awareness of the law leads to the renewed trust in Christ's righteousness as the only ground of salvation, life and confidence. (53)

In paragraphs 50-51 notice is taken of a difference in defining the relation between baptism and church membership. As "the fundamental application of God's atonement in Christ to the individual" (50), baptism is seen by Lutherans as establishing church membership (also when administered to infants). In most Methodist denominations, however, "full membership" requires "explicit...profession of faith" (51). This difference is rooted in

different understandings of faith in relation to the baptismal act. The concern of both Lutherans and Methodists is to hold closely together God's action and human faith. But while Methodists stress the necessity of a personal faith for receiving salvation, Lutherans look upon faith as confidence in God's promise given in the baptismal act. (54)

It is important to register the fact that, over all, the report "The Church: Community of Grace" provided a framework within which it has been possible for Lutherans and Methodists in Germany, Austria, Sweden, and Norway to establish full fellowship of pulpit and altar.

III. Associative Procedures

If some kind of association can be prima facie envisaged for Methodists with the Lutheran-Catholic agreement on justification, the first steps would presumably be for the World Methodist Council, on its side, and the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on their side, to appoint teams to undertake the kind of detailed theological examination of the doctrinal compatibilities that has been undertaken in the present writing, if all parties were able to report favorably to their governing bodies, then such an evaluation might be accompanied by a reasoned recommendation--perhaps jointly formulated--for positive action. The P.C.P.C.U., the L.W.F., and the W.M.C. would then need to determine whether, and how, they would put such a recommendation to their constituencies. Here matters become complicated, as both the Lutherans and the Catholics discovered in their respective ways in the case of the original Declaration. Moreover, each party must be able to trust the effect ive outcome among the others, assuming it be positive in principle.

I can only address the Methodist case. The World Methodist Council has no legislative authority. It is an instrument for fellowship, consultation, and cooperation among its member denominations, which include not only churches directly in the Wesleyan or more broadly Methodist tradition but also united and uniting churches with an originally Methodist component. It has developed something of a teaching function through its adoption in 1996 of a statement of "Wesleyan Essentials of Christian Faith." Since 1966, the Council has been entrusted with the conduct of bilateral dialogues, whose reports it typically "receives with gratitude." The closest it has come to consequent action was its approval at Rio de Janeiro in 1996 of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission's report, "Sharing in the Apostolic Communion," and the adoption of its recommendations in favor of a global "recognition" of each other by Anglicans and Methodists--on principles stated in the report--as belonging to "the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." The resolution would have had to exercise moral and theological suasion among the member churches of the W.M.C., where the highest doctrinal and legal authority characteristically resides with the respective "Conference." However, the Lambeth Conference of 1998 was not able to accept the recommendations that issued from the dialogue initiated by the Lambeth Conference of 1988; the Anglican bishops preferred to "promote, encourage and monitor" regional developments in a more gradual approach toward mutual "acknowledgment," where and when appropriate. So the W.M.C. procedure has not yet been put to the test.

Clearly, there could in any case be no simple signing by Methodists of the Joint Declaration and its protocols as they stand, since these spring from a history between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in which Methodists do not share. In particular, the doctrinal condemnations that each side directed toward the other in the sixteenth century did not envisage Methodists (see the Joint Declaration, paras. 1, 5, 7, 13, 41, 42). The only analogous case might concern those Methodist denominations for which Wesley's abridgement of the Anglican Articles of Religion has a particular authority; it may be noted that, already in 1970, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church resolved to read the anti-Roman articles "in consonance with our best ecumenical insights and judgments." (55)

It is not clear how far a model for the possible "association" of the World Methodist Council and its member churches with the Lutheran-Catholic agreement might be found in the way in which European Methodist churches in particular have related to the Leuenberg Agreement of 1973 between Lutheran and Reformed churches. The Methodist churches have not signed the original Agreement, which was conditioned by sixteenth-century histories. Rather, they have become part of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship on the basis of a Joint Declaration of Church Fellowship. Such an ecclesial communion--involving at least pulpit and altar--does not, of course, presently exist between the Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, the wider ecclesiological questions remain to be faced, as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification recognizes (paras. 43-44).

IV. Ecclesial Reception

The signatories to the Joint Declaration look for their "consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification" to "influence the life and teachings of [their] churches" (para. 43). At the doctrinal level, its "proving" here will include its ability to bring "further clarification" to such issues as "the relationship between the word of God and church doctrine, as well as ecclesiology, authority in the church, ministry, the sacraments, and the relation between justification and social ethics" (para. 43). Its "fruit" in "life" and "practice" must doubtless be borne, at the pastoral level, in the fields of witness and discipleship, if the hopes of the speakers at the celebratory signing in Augsburg on October 31, 1999, are to be fulfilled. (56) What, then, are the tasks in which Methodists might collaborate with the original Catholic and Lutheran partners for the fuller implementation of the agreement on justification in respect of the twin concerns of the church's unity and mission: ut unum sint, ut mund us credat? By way of example, we will dip into the areas of proclamation and ecclesiology.

Take first the proclamation of the scriptural gospel in the contemporary world. In the Official Catholic Response, issued on June 25, 1998, to the main text of the proposed Joint Declaration, it was recognized that "a deeper reflection on the biblical foundation" (para. 7) is called for, bearing in mind "the New Testament as a whole and not only...the Pauline writings"; even within the writings of Paul, attention should be paid also to "the categories of sonship and of heirs (Gal. 4:4-7; Rom. 8:14-17)" (para. 7). Furthermore, quoting paragraph 8:

it should be a common concern of Lutherans and Catholics to find a language which can make the doctrine on justification more intelligible also for men and women of our day. The fundamental truths of the salvation given by Christ and received in faith, of the primacy of grace over every human initiative, of the gift of the Holy Spirit which makes us capable of living according to our condition as children of God and so on. These are essential aspects of the Christian message that should be a light for the believers of all times. (57)

The much-maligned Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has expounded these points under the question "how far does the consensus on justification reach?" (58) In a text that is intellectually acute, apologetically astute, spiritually profound, and ecumenically committed, the good cardinal recognized the absence of the theme of justification from the contemporary consciousness, even among Christians, where there is little or no sense of sin and judgment, judgment and grace, the honor and anger of God, the cross of Christ and faith; where psychotherapy replaces redemption; and where "God," if God has any interest in human beings at all, may be expected, in any afterlife there might be, to "forgive us, it's his job." This is the cultural situation in which theologians have less a duty to refine the details of old controversies than to re-think the purpose and problems of life on the basis of the Bible and the church's heritage.

Ratzinger then laid out three sets of limits within which any renewals of the doctrine of justification must fall. First, the depth of sin must be recognized in face of any merely voluntaristic notion, while our capacity for conversion must be affirmed in face of any temptation to despair of God's mercy. Second, as creatures whom God made for relationship with Godself, we are called to a cooperation in our salvation with God that is both responsible and modest; for all the poverty of our God-enabled doing, we are not "God's marionettes." Third, faith is indeed what places me personally before God, but this personal faith must be integrated with the "rule of faith," the confession of the trinitarian God, christologically centered and rooted in the living church and its sacramental life. What is redemption? Who is God? Who is Christ? Who are we? "The more honestly, humbly, and passionately we take up these questions as they press on all of us today," Cardinal Ratzinger concluded, "the more evident it will becom e that the struggle for faith brings us closer to one another."

Our much respected American Cardinal Avery Dulles came to a similar conclusion in an article titled "Two Languages of Salvation: The Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration." (59) After a rather critical evaluation of the Joint Declaration, in which he showed the difficulty of comparing Lutheran and Catholic teachings because of their different frameworks of discourse, Dulles could envisage with hope the task ahead:

In face of a world that is so alien to the gospel, our churches are called to unite their forces in restoring missionary and evangelistic power to the gospel message of God's powerful mercy.

... [N]otwithstanding all the theological reservations on both sides, the signing of the Declaration with the "blessing" of John Paul II can be a powerful symbolic event. It says clearly to a world that hovers on the brink of unbelief that the two churches that split Western Christendom on the issue of justification nearly five centuries ago are still united on truths of the highest import. They can confess together that we are sinful members of a sinful race, that God offers us the gift of justification, that this offer comes through Christ, our only Savior, that it is received in faith, that the Holy Spirit is conferred upon those who believe, and that, having been inwardly renewed, they are called and equipped to excel in deeds of love. In view of this shared heritage of faith, we are confident that our doctrinal formulations, currently expressed in different idioms, can in the end be reconciled. Our readiness to declare the non-applicability of the sixteenth-century condemnations on justification is base d on this conviction. (60)

In paragraph 16, the Joint Declaration itself states that "[a]II people are called by God to salvation in Christ." That is also a fundamental Wesleyan premise, and Methodists will want to set all treatment of the doctrine of justification in the service of the proclamation of the gospel. Walter Klaiber, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Germany, has written that, in the controversy over justification, the "overcoming of the past" also requires "perspectives on the future." (61) Old problems need to be settled, he says, or they will reemerge, and here discussion with other ecumenical partners can help a breakout from disputed formularies; this itself may become the start of the new reflection that is needed if the message of justification is to become, as at previous times in Christian history, a liberating and enlivening word. Most important will be attention to scripture as the norma normans, and here Klaiber has found evidence among serious contemporary exegetes for readings that challenge the secondary co nfessional norms of both Catholics and Protestants. Thus, the human part in salvation can be seen in properly Pauline terms as "the activation of the believer through being taken up into the activity of God." (62) That will entail also "the social side" of justification: "as adult sons and daughters of God, the justified are placed in responsibility for themselves and for others." (63) Regarding the task of preaching in today's world, Klaiber put the matter playfully: If faith is like the laughter released in people by a joke, then we must learn to tell our gospel story better. In pastoral care, we shall need to find ways of allowing the doctrine of justification to meet the fears, doubts, and concerns. My respectful suggestion would be that a most appropriate Methodist contribution to the ecumenical task would come from the work of Bishop Klaiber as a biblical scholar (a pupil of Ernst Kasemann), evangelist, and pastor, who has written on the theme of justification at various levels of technicality and for v arious audiences. (64)

The other area in which Methodists might wish particularly to contribute to the ecumenical reception of the agreement on justification is ecclesiology. Within the basic question regarding the nature and identity of the church reside issues to do with sacraments, ministry, authority, and moral teaching and conduct (compare para. 43 of the Joint Declaration). Here, there already exists the important report from the third phase of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic international dialogue, "Church and Justification: Understanding the Church in the Light of the Doctrine of Justification," (65) and the more recent stimulating text from the joint working group of the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany on the Church as "Communion of Saints." (66)

Debate still surrounds the singularity of justification as an ecclesiological criterion ("articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae"), and there is the less-noticed question of whether it should function principally as a negative check against false teaching and practices or as a positive stimulus to a new approach to problems. Let us, however, float one particular issue: it would appear possible "to advocate theologically the regaining of full communion in the episcopate"--provided the "historic episcopate" were not imposed as a condition of Lutheran ecclesiality ("Church and Justification," paras. 202-204). Might that be extended even to the "universal ministry of unity" offered by the See of Rome in the service of truth and love? As a Methodist, I have wondered whether we might apply to that case a couplet from Charles Wesley's hymn, "All Praise to Our Redeeming Lord":

The gift which He on one bestows,

We all delight to prove.

Rather than pursue that question further here, (67) I will conclude by simply stating that, in the most general way, any Methodist in the Wesleyan tradition will see "faith working by love" as integral to the description and concrete location of the church.

(1.) The English text of the original Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification may be found in Origins 28 (July 16, 1998): 120-127; the Official Catholic Response to the Joint Declaration, on pp. 130-132. The subsequent clarificator protocols--an Official Common Statement, and an Annex--are given in Origins 29 (June 24, 1999): 85-92. An account of the signing in Augsburg, Germany, on October 31, 1999, is contained in Origins 29 (November 11, 1999): 341-348.

(2.) Wesley's Sermons will be cited according to the scholarly Bicentennial Edition of The Works of John Wesley that is still in course of publication (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.83; Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1984); hereafter, Works. Wesley's treatises will be cited according to the third edition of Thomas Jackson's The Works of John Wesley (London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1872. and often reprinted); hereafter, Jackson, Works.

(3.) Works, vol. 1: Sermons I, #1-33, ed. Albert C. Outler (1984), p. 187 (emphasis in original).

(4.) Works, vol. 2: sermons II, #34-70, ed. Albert C. Outler (1985), p. 187 (emphasis in original).

(5.) Ibid., p. 198.

(6.) Works, vol. 1, pp. 431-432 (emphasis in original).

(7.) Works, vol. 3: Sermons III, #71-114, ed. Albert C. Outler (1986), pp. 505-506.

(8.) Ibid, p. 507.

(9.) "The Doctrine of Original Sin," in Jackson, Works, vol. 9, in particular p. 429.

(10.) Works, vol. 2, p. 157.

(11.) Works, vol. 3, p. 200.

(12.) Principles of a Methodist Farther Explained," in Jackson, Works, vol. 8, in particular, p. 472.

(13.) Geoffrey Wainwright, "Rechtfertigung: lutherisch oder katholisch? Uberlegungen cines methodistischen Wechselwhlers," Kerygma und Dogma. Vol. 45, no. 3 (1999), pp. 182-206.

(14.) Works, vol. 2, p. 156.

(15.) Ibid, pp. 156-157 (emphasis in original).

(16.) "Remarks on Mr. Hill's Review," in Jackson, Works, vol. 10, p. 392; Sermon 63. "The General Spread of the Gospel," in Works, vol. 2, p.489 ("[H]e did not force you; but being assisted by his grace you, like Mary, chose the better part" [emphasis in original]).

(17.) Works, vol. 1, pp. 458-459 (emphasis in original).

(18.) See Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds., Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998).

(19.) Works, vol. 2, p. 38.

(20.) Works, vol. 3, p. 49.

(21.) "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection," in Jackson, Works, vol. 11, p. 417.

(22.) "Letter to a Roman Catholic," in Jackson, Works, vol. 10, p. 82.

(23.) For the first commandment in Luther's Small and Large Catechisms, see Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1930), pp. 507, 568-572, 641-644 (E. T. in Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959], pp. 342, 365-371, 408-410). For the "Preface to Romans," see the Weimar Edition of Luther's Works, Die Deutsche Bibel, vol. 7 (Weimar Hermann Bohlaus Nachfolger, 1931), p. 10: "Glawb in eyn gotlich werck ynn uns, das urn wandelt und new gepirt aus Gott. . .O es ist eyn lebendig, schefftig, thettig. mechtig ding umb den glauben, das unmuglich ist, das er nicht on untedas soft gutes wircken." For the "Sermon von den guten Werken," see D. Martin Luthers Werke (Weimar: Hermann Bohlau), vol. 6 (1888), p. 204: "Das erste und hochste, aller edlist gut werck in der glawbe in Christum." On the whole question of faith as a work in Luther, see Eilert Herms, Theorie fur die Pr axis: Beitrdge zur Theologie (Munich: Kaiser, 1982), pp. 26-27.

(24.) Letter of March 10, 1762, to Dr. George Home, in John Telford, ed., The Letters of John Wesley; vol. 4 (London: Epworth Press, 1931), p. 175.

(25.) Walter Klaiber, "Aus Glauben, damit aus Gnaden: Der Grundsatz paulinischer Soteriologie und die Gnadenlehre John Wesleys," Zeitschrift fur Theologie und Kirche, vol. 88, no. 3 (1991), pp. 313-338, in particular p. 338.

(26.) This was conclusively demonstrated in Bernard G. Holland, Baptism in Early Methodism (London: Epworth Press, 1970).

(27.) Sermon 18, "The Marks of the New Birth," in Works, voL 1, p.430 (emphasis in original).

(28.) So, passages in Luther, "Rationis Latomianae confutatio" (1521), in Luthers Werke, vol. 8 (Weimar: Bohlau, 1889), p. 107 (E.T. in the American Edition of Luther's Works, vol. 32 [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1958], p. 229); and in Luther, "Von den Konziliis und Kirchen" (1539), in Luthers Werke, vol. 50 (Weimar: Bohlaus Nachfolger, 1914), pp. 625, 642-643 (E.T. in the American Edition of Luther's Works, vol. 41 [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966], pp. 143-144, 165-166).

(29.) See "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection," in Jackson, Works, vol. 11, in particular pp. 374, 383, 394-396.

(30.) Works, vol. 1, p.332 (emphasis in original).

(31.) "Large Minutes," in Jackson, Works, vol. 8. pp. 317-318.

(32.) Works, vol. 2, p. 15.

(33.) Ibid., p. 16.

(34.) Ibid., p. 17.

(35.) "Journal," in Jackson, Works, vol. 1, p. 103.

(36.) In a letter of July 31, 1747, John Wesley wrote to Charles Wesley of "a distinct, explicit assurance that my sins are forgiven" as "the common privilege of real Christians"; see Bicentennial Edition of Works, vol. 26 (1982), p. 255. Forty years later, Wesley declared to Melville Home "We preach assurance as we always did, as the common privilege of the children of God"; see Robert Southey. The Life of Wesley (London, 1820), vol. 1, p. 295.

(37.) See especially Sermons 8 ("The First-fruits of the Spirit"), 9 ("The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption"), 10 ("The Witness of the Spirit, I"), II ("The Witness of the Spirit; II"), and 12 ("The Witness of Our Own Spirit") in Works, vol. 1, pp. 233-247, 248-266, 267-284,285-298, and 299-313, respectively.

(38.) See the Decree on Justification, chaps. 12-13, canons 15-16, in Henricus Denzinger and Adolfus Schonmetzer, eds., Enchiridion Symbolorum, 33rd ed. (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1965), paras. 1540-1541, 1565-1566.

(39.) Works, vol. 3, p. 206 (emphasis added).

(40.) Ibid., p. 208.

(41.) In support of "cooperation" after regeneration, appeal is made to the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration II, 64-65; and in support of good works as preservation of grace, to both the Apology of the Augsburg Confession XX, 13, and the Solid Declaration IV, 33. These texts can he found in Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, pp. 897-498, 316, and 948, respectively (E.T.'s in Tappert, Book of Concord, pp. 533-534, 228, and 556, respectively).

(42.) See Works, vol. 3, p. 208 (Sermon 85); cf. Sermon 63, "The General Spread of the Gospel," in vol. 2, p. 490. Wesley appears to have misquoted Augustine slightly as "Qui fecit nos sine nobis, non salvabit nos sine nobis." In Sermon 169, at any rate, Augustine said, "qui ergo fecit te sine te, non te iustificat sine te" (Migne, Patrologia Latina 38:923).

(43.) See Harald Lindstrom, Wesley and Sanctification: A Study in the Doctrine of Salvation (London: Epworth Press, 1950), pp. 198-218; Jurgen Weissbach, Der neue Mensch im theologischen Denken John Wesleys (Stuttgart: Christliches Verlagshaus, 1970), pp. 210-213. A sympathetic interpretation of Wesleyan and Methodist soteriology from a Roman Catholic perspective is offered in Thomas Rigl, Die Gnade wirken lassen: Methodistische Soteriologie im olaumenischen Dialog, Konfessionskundliche und knotroverstheologische Studien 73 (Paderborn: Borufatius, 2001).

(44.) The text of the Denver Report is in Harding Meyer and Lukas Vischer; eds., Growth in Agreement: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, Ecumenical Documents 2, Faith and Order Paper 108 (New York and Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press; Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1984), 308-339; here cited from p. 319.

(45.) The text of the Honolulu Report is in ibid., pp. 367-387; here cited from pp. 370-371.

(46.) The text of the Singapore Report (though not there so designated) is in Jeffrey Gros, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch, eds., Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982.1998, Faith and Order Paper 187 (Geneva: WCC Publications; Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), pp. 597-617.

(47.) The text of the Rio de Janeiro Report (though not there so designated) is in ibid., pp. 618-646; here cited from p. 625.

(48.) Ibid., p. 625.

(49.) See "English Roman Catholic-Methodist Committee: Justification--A Consensus Statement," One in Christ, vol. 24, no. 3 (1988), pp. 270-273; and "English Roman Catholic-Methodist Committee: Justification--A Consensus Statement" (republished with changes), One in Christ, vol. 28, no. 1 (1992), pp. 87-91.

(50.) "English Roman Catholic-Methodist Committee," p. 89.

(51.) Ibid., pp. 90-91.

(52.) The text of "The church: Community of Grace" is in Gros, Meyer, and Rusch, Growth in Agreement II, pp. 200-218.

(53.) Ibid, pp. 205-206.

(54.) Ibid., para. 5 1, p. 210.

(55.) See Daily Christian Advocate: Proceedings of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church 2 (April 21, 1970): 72; and 2 (April 23, 1970): 151-153.

(56.) See Origins 29 (November 11, 1999): 341-348.

(57.) See Origins 28 (July 16, 1998): 130-132.

(58.) Joseph Ratzinger, "Wie weit tragt der Konsens uber die Rechtfertigungslehre?" Internationale Katholische Zeitschrift: Communio, vol. 29, no. 5 (2000), pp. 424-437.

(59.) In First Things 98 (December, 1999): 25-30.

(60) Ibid., pp. 29-30.

(61) Walter Klaiber, "Die Gemeinsame Erklarung zur Reachtfertigungslachre: Vergangenheitsbewaltigung braucht Zukunftsperspektiven," Una Sancta, vol. 54, no. 2 (1999), pp. 113-121.

(62) Ibid., p. 116.

(63) Ibid., p. 117.

(64) Klaiber's works include Rechtfertigung und Gemeinde: Eine Untersuchung zum paulinischen Kirchenverstandnis (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982); Ruf und Antwort: Biblische Grundlagen einer Theologie der Evangelisation (Stuttgart: Christiches Verlagshaus, 1990); Gerecht vor Gott: Rechtfertigung in der Bibel und heute (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2000), and, in a more popular vein, Wo Leben wieder Leben ist: bekehrung, Wiedergeburt, Rechtfertigung, Heiligung--Dimensionen eines Lebens mit Gott (Stuttgart: Christliches Veriagshaus, 1984), and Begeistert Leben: Sich einlassen auf Gottes Geist (Stuttgart: Christliches veriagshaus, 1990).

(65.) The text of "Church and Justification" is in Gros, Meyer, and Rusch, Growth in Agreement II, pp. 485-565.

(66.) Bilaterale Arbeitsgruppe der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz und der Kirchenleitung der Vereinigten Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche Deutschlands, Communio Sanctorum: Die Kirche als Gemeinschaft der Heiligen (Paderborn: Bonifatius; Frankfurt a/M.: Otto Lembeck, 2000).

(67.) See Geoffrey Wainwright, "'The Gift Which He on One Bestows, We All Delight to Prove': A Possible Methodist Approach to a Ministry of Primacy in the Circulation of Love and Truth," in James F. Puglisi, ed., Petrine Ministry and the Unity of the Church (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), pp. 59-82.

Geoffrey Wainwright (Methodist Church of Britain) has taught since 1983 at Duke University, where he occupies the Cushman Chair of Christian Theology. His university education took place at Cambridge, Geneva, and Rome, and he holds the Dr. Theol. degree (1969) from the University of Geneva and an earned D.D. from Cambridge. After being ordained, he served a pastoral ministry in Liverpool, England, then as a missionary in Cameroon, West Africa, 1967-73, at the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Yarounde. He taught scripture and theology at The Queen's College, Birmingham, England, 1973-79, then became Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York, 1979-83. Long a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, he chaired the final redaction of the Lima text, Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry (1982), Since 1986 he has been co-chair of the Joint Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church. Among his many w ritings, the classic Doxology (Oxford University Press, 1980) remains particularly influential. He has been president of the Societas Liturgica (1983-85) and of the American Theological Society (1997-98). He was honored by the publication of Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life: Essays to Mark the Sixtieth Birthday of Geoffrey Wainwright (Oxford University Press, 1999).
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Date:Jan 1, 2001
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