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Ministry
Ministry is the international ]ournai ot the
Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association and has been
published since 1928

Association Secretary Pastoral Assistant Editors


Luther and the gospel James A. Cress John C. Cress, Frednck Russell,
Maylan Schurch, Loren Seibold
Editor
A dynamic chronicle of Luther's discovery Willmore D. Eva International Advisors
A. Abdulmaiid, Alejandro Bullon.
of the gospel and its immediate outcome Assistant Editor Jaime Castrejon, Victor P.
Julia W Norcott Krushenitsky, Carlos Martin,
Hans K. LaRondelle Editorial Assistant Gabriel Maurer, Joel Musvosvi,
Sheila Draper David Osborne, Paul Ratsara,
Peter Roennfeldt. John Willmott,
10 Professional Growth and
Inter-church Relations
Eric Winter, R. A. Zeeman

The joint Declaration on the doctrine Nikolaus Satelmajer Pastoral Advisors


Leslie Baumgartner, S. Peter
Contributing Editors
ofjustification: One year later Sharon Cress
Campbell, Miguel A. Cerna,
Jeanne Hartweli, Mitchell
Peter Prime Henson, Greg Nelson, Norma
A thoughtful assessment of the Joint Declaration between Joel Sarli Osborn, Leslie Pollard, Dan
Vatican and Lutheran World Federation representatives Kit Watts Smith, Steve Willsey
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John M. Fowler. Michael Subscriptions and Circulation
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Cathy Payne

on the dogma ofjustification Rodriguez, Penny Shell,


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Cover Illustration
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Wilson, Edward Zinke Harry Knox
including significant Protestant responses
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26 Ministry (ISSN 0026-5314), the international
The Apocalypse: Pathological journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial
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2 Ministry/November 2000
May 2000 issue Bible; there is only tension between I read the June-July 2000 issue of
I have been receiving Ministry for "scientific theory" and the Bible. Ministry carefully. Competent writers
most of my twenty-four years in Secondly, by the construct Dr. Gibson wrote excellent articles dealing with the
pastoral ministry; this is, however, the uses for his article (i.e., statement of great truth of the second coming of
first "Letter to the Editor." Two view, Biblical evidence, scientific Christ. Only one writer, in the midst of
articles in the May 2000 issue have evidence/theory), he seems to indicate one sentence, made this short remark,
prompted such an unusual response. that the Bible and scientific theory are "Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit
The first article is on the "Excite on equal footing, for us to examine, drenches us," (p. 39). All the articles
ment of Expository Preaching," by J. evaluate, and decide which is true. avoided commenting on Revelation
Grant Swank, Jr. That was the primary However, such is not the case. The 18:1-4, which to my understanding
method of preaching my pastor-father Bible holds exclusive claim to truth, precedes the Second Coming.
used for 45 years. I have tried to including truth regarding the origin I noticed also that the General
follow in his footsteps. My goal is for of the universe. Since the Bible states Convention at Toronto had the
my people to walk out of church God created the heavens and earth in beautiful cheering slogan "Almost
knowing what a passage of Scripture six 24-hour days, all data will ulti Home." For the pilgrim this sounds
teaches. Expository preaching enables mately agree therewith. Any failure on very encouraging. But do we realize
me to accomplish that goal. As Swank our part to be able to reconcile the that after 2,000 years of Christianity,
says, it also "grows its own fruit of data with that teaching of the Bible only 30 percent of the world's popula
spiritual growth within the preacher." grows out of the ignorance of our tion profess to be Christians of any
The cover article on "Biblical fmitude compared with the infinite denomination? The other 70 percent is
Creation" also aroused my interest. I God who has revealed His action of made up of Muslims, Buddhists,
appreciate Dr. Gibson's articulation of creation in His Word. Ronald Hindus, Confucians, atheists, etc. These
the issues and agree with many of his Ruark, pastor, Central City Baptist do not accept Jesus Christ as the only
conclusions. However, there seems to Church, Central City, Nebraska. way to salvation and eternal life.
be a number of flaws in his argument. Have we as a church organization,
First, he fails to distinguish consis June-July issue in over 150 years of our existence,
tently between "scientific evidence" It was a real joy to read the June- preached "present truth" to all these
and "contemporary scientific theory." July issue on the blessed hope. Every people? Jeremia Florea, retired
By "scientific evidence" I take him to article was good. Richard Davidson's minister, Arkansas.
mean the facts and data of the world "The Second Advent and the Fullness
around us. Those facts and data are of Time" was a masterpiece. After 35 We want to hear from you!
the same for the biblical creationist, years of preaching these wonderful Our editorial staff is always
the evolutionist, and the theistic truths, it still thrills my soul to read interested in knowing how you, our
evolutionist. None of the three studies articles of this caliber. readers, feel about the articles you read
a different world than the other two. I was especially impressed with in Ministry, and we welcome your
The conflict lies, as Dr. Gibson notes the portrayal of the long-suffering of letters and emails. Please include the
in his closing paragraph, in their God before He allows judgment to title of the article(s) you are writing
presuppositions, the interpretations come upon sinners as at the Flood, about, as well as date (month and year)
of the facts based on those pre Babel, Sodom, and Jerusalem. in which the article appeared. We
suppositions, and the theories formed Davidson made the grace of God would also appreciate receiving your
from those interpretations. For those paramount in the usually dry subject name and mailing address with your
who believe in the biblical account of of the 2,300-day prophecy. I'll preach correspondence; when your letter is
the six 24-hour day Creation, there is it again for the sixtieth time with new printed in Ministry, we will send you
no tension, as Dr. Gibson states, enthusiasm. Les Fowler, pastor, two complimentary copies of that
between reconciling "nature" and the Booneville/Ozark, Arkansas. particular issue.

Free Subscription If you're receiving Ministry bimonthly and haven't paid for a subscription, it's not a mistake. Since 1928 Ministry has been
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Ministry/November 2000 3
A friend of
mine who
Ldoes not
think that Paul
It's worth
others. Though, by all means biblical,
justification as the Reformers saw it,
was definitely an experiential, life-
altering paradigm shift that ushered
wrote the book of
Hebrews once said
that if officially
asked to recant his
dyingfor into the human heart the peace and
perspective every person profoundly
longs for in his or her deepest being.
The Reformers saw that the gospel
belief, he would do so ... immedi (justification particularly) was the
ately. "And if you asked me," says my power of God unto salvation and that
friend, "why I'd recanted, I'd tell you, of Jesus Himself in the least of all simple, uncluttered faith gave them
'because it's not worth dying for!'" I towns, Bethlehem. He was conceived the effective way of tapping into that
think my friend is a wise man. in questionable circumstances, born power. It was the transcendent
There are too many dubious among animals (in the hotel garage, if experience of justification, its regener
things that we squabble about in our you like) from the womb of a com ating, refreshing, life-altering effect on
churches. We sometimes seem more pletely unsung peasant girl, wrapped the human soul, conscience and
willing to kill for them than to die for in cloths (probably borrowed), and consciousness, that made all the
them. Most of these "truths" are not laid in a donkey's feed box. The Bible difference.
worthy of the sweat, struggle, and says that this happened because there Thus, the significant divergence
subdivision with which we load them. was no room for lesus in the inn itself. that came up between the Reformers
They become exhausting, damaging But the underlying reason for the lack and the mother church were not
distractions that stir up clouds of dust of room was that nobody had an simply because they or their Catholic
and emit toxic emotional gasses that inkling of Who He was and so they counterparts were obtuse and
get in our spiritual eyes and lungs so did not value Him. If they had, they'd unbending. Rather, the Reformers
we can't see or breathe deeply the have made room for Him; even as we could not go the way of the Council of
pure air of what really does matter. make ample room for justification the Trent because Trent's positions
On the other hand, there are moment we realize its premier value effectively misdirected the basic
verities that lie in the fallow soil of in comparison with all the other principles upon which such a blessed
our souls, unrecognized for their things we have come to believe are so sense of personal justification,
value. We may give them a certain lip important and in many cases have put innocence and peace before God had
service, but the attention they receive in its place. come to them. In the mercy of God,
is not proportionate to their almost And so it is true that at some they had serendipitously come upon
unbelievable value. point we may suddenly recognize the pearl of great price, the treasure
Human beings have always some overlooked reality for what it hid in the field. They knew their
tended to be that way with the gospel. actually is, grasp it up, and become discovery was true to Scripture and to
We tend to be that way with the willing to lay down our lives to experience and, captured by its
primacy of the magnificent truth of possess such a treasure. The stone wonder, they could not compromise it
justification (and please allow the use which the builders rejected becomes in the ways that were being suggested
of such words in their classical form our chief cornerstone. This is what it without destroying it or having to let
in this issue of Ministry!), along with was like at the time of the Protestant go of the treasure altogether.
the realities that cluster close to it, Reformation. When it comes to any dialogue
such as "sanctification." The gospel But what was it that caused the over such things, such as the one we
and justification always seem to come souls of those who became known as evaluate in this issue of Ministry. The
in a certain disguise, or appear "Reformers" to burn like they did Joint Declaration on the Dogma of
dressed in camouflage; though their over things like "justification by Justification, we simply must fully
obscurity has much more to do with faith"? This is a vitally important factor in this subjective, experiential,
poor spiritual eyesight and the stuff question as we take up the critical or existential element or we will not
we so expertly arrange around them matters of this issue of Ministry. Such understand what was and still is the
than with some mischievous trait they a question is foundational because it essential reality that people are willing
possess in themselves. was not merely some carefully to die for and that must be dealt with
The coming of "justification" to calibrated doctrinal equation that was before genuine understanding can
the human soul is like the appearing formulated by Martin Luther and emerge.

4 Ministry/November 2000
LUTHER AND
THE GOSPEL
O n October 31,1517 Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the
Wittenberg Castle Chapel to challenge some of the teachings of the
Catholic Church. With that, the Protestant Reformation was born.

Hans K. LaRondelle, That is, it became visible. The truth It soon became clear to him that sal
Th.D., is professor is, however, that its birth pangs had al vation could not be earned by penitence
emeritus of theology, ready been born, in relative silence and or by doing good. He saw God as a stern
Seventh-day Adventist for some time in the soul of Martin judge who demanded impossibilities
Theological Seminary, Luther himself. from him. In the works of Augustine he
Andrews University, The journey to the castle was read that God had preordained only a
Berrien Springs, marked by a series of spiritual struggles small number for eternal salvation. The
Michigan. within the man. He wanted to please rest, he learned, were doomed by God's
God whatever the cost and worked to predestinating decree. Luther feared that
be found worthy on the day of judg he belonged to the doomed. As his search
ment. By acts of penitence, he tried to for a true knowledge of God progressed,
achieve reconciliation with God. Yet, he he began to look more to Scripture and
did not find peace of soul. Even his less to the church fathers.
scholastic Bible study gave him no rest. Luther realized that the theology of
In 1507 Luther was consecrated into his church had in effect disrupted the
the Roman Catholic priesthood. Nine principle of Sola Scriptura as it accepted
years later, he became a doctor of theol the church and the Pope as the final in
ogy and professor at Wittenberg and took terpreters of the Bible. He saw that if
the solemn vow: "I swear to defend the any extra-biblical authority has the fi
gospel truth with all my might." He kept nal word about God's Word, then the
this vow till the end of his life. Bible can no longer be seen as self-
It was from the Bible that Luther explanatory. Luther also perceived that
sought and received light and insight, the spirit of the apostolic church and
although the light came only gradually the simplicity of the gospel had been
over the years in a series of discoveries. distorted through years of traditional
Called to teach theology, Luther began teaching. The gospel had been lost in
an exegetical study of some books in the an increasingly complicated system of
Old Testament and then of the New Tes merits, good works, sacraments, and
tament. His major concern was to find penances so that during the Middle
God's will and feed His flock in Ages the church was teaching that out
Wittenberg. side it there could be no salvation. He

HANS K. LARONDELLE

Ministry/November 2000 5
saw that the priesthood itself could not ing him that even the gospel is a revela God! God offers the personal righteous
bestow the sacramental grace of salva tion of God's justice? How could Paul call ness of Christ as His divine gift to the
tion, as if the ecclesiastical hierarchy had the gospel "justice"? Was this another believer now! That is the salvation of the
acquired a monopoly on divine grace. manifestation of the law? If it was, then gospel. God justifies the repentant hu
He saw that the personal certainty of the gospel also condemned the sinner. man being through the righteousness of
salvation had been lost. Was "justice" not the treatment God Christ. This means that the gospel does
gives to each one according to what one not demand work or sinless perfection
Luther's crisis of conscience deserves? Luther groaned, "Who can love from us, but offers to us the gracious gift
Luther himself struggled to find an angry and condemning God?" As of His own work and perfect righteous
personal assurance of salvation, even as Jacob, he wrestled with God. He studied. ness. By His grace He justifies us and
he resisted the authoritarian claims of He tried to understand the expression announces us righteous.
his ecclesiastical superiors. He saw a "the righteousness of God" but no one When Luther understood this truth,
fundamental difference between the opened the door for him. his conscience was freed from the weight
need for Christian freedom of con of guilt and he became a free person.
science and the dictatorial behavior of Now the Psalms tasted good. Later,
the church hierarchy. Luther described his discovery this way:
When Luther started to study the "It seemed to me as if I had been born
Psalms in preparation for his lectures, his again and was entering into paradise
primary interest was not theoretical but through newly opened doors. All at once,
practical. He was searching for an expe the Bible began to speak in quite a dif
riential theology, for a saving knowledge
hat was ferent way to me. The very phrase, 'righ
of God. His attitude was to seek God's new about Luther's teousness of God,' which I had hated
truth rather than to defend tradition. before, was the one that I now loved the
One of his main stumbling blocks discovery was that he best of all. That is how that passage of
was that he was not able to understand Paul's became for me the gateway to
the meaning of the biblical term "the identified God's righteousness paradise. At once the whole Scripture
righteousness of God." His Latin Bible showed me another face."1 For Luther,
had the phrase justitia Dei. The term and Christ's righteousness as God's promise that "the just shall live by
"justitia" was the common word for re faith" provided the salvation he was seek
tributive justice or punishment, as the one, and saw that this divine ing. Paul was quoting the promise from
scholastic theologians taught. In other Habakkuk (2:4), but he gave it a new em
words, in understanding the word that
righteousness is received by phasis on how a person becomes just or
way, he ended up viewing God as a stern faith already now! righteous, when he explained: "He shall
judge. gain life who is justified through faith"
Because Luther understood the (Rom. 1:17, NEB), or, "Anyone who is
"righteousness of God" as His punish upright through faith will live" (NJB).
ing righteousness, he was unable to ex What was new about Luther's dis
plain why David could pray in Psalm 31:1 covery was that he identified God's
"Deliver me in your righteousness," and Luther discovers the gospel righteousness and Christ's righteousness
in 143:1, "O Lord, listen to my cry in your A Bible lay open in his little study as one and saw that this divine right
righteousness." The word "righteous as he was preparing his class lectures. eousness is received by faith already now!
ness" thundered in Luther's ears only as The question in his mind was, How This last point is the teaching of Jesus,
God's wrath and everlasting punishment. could Paul call the gospel itself the when He declared in the parable of the
Thus Luther wrestled with the wrath of "righteousness of God"? Pharisee and the tax collector: "I tell you
God, and it burned as a consuming fire Luther read again the text in rela that this man, rather than the other, went
in his conscience. At last he turned to tion to its context. He came to Romans home justified before God [that day]"
the New Testament for comfort. Romans 3:21: "But now a righteousness from (Luke 18:14). This is how all the faithful
1:16 arrested him: "The gospel is the God, apart from law, has been made stand the test of God's final judgment.
power of God for the salvation of every known..." Suddenly his vision cleared. Luther explained, "That is the long and
one who believes." Salvation! Luther was By the grace of God he saw what Paul the short of it: He who believes in the
thrilled. Was this the essence, the secret meant: the righteousness was not some man called Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
he had been searching for? He read on: thing God required humans to offer to has eternal life as He himself says (John
"For in the gospel a righteousness from Him, but something God offered to hu 3:16), 'For God so loved the world, that
God is revealed ..." (verse 17). Luther mans who believed the gospel it was a he gave his only begotten Son, that who
couldn't understand. Was the apostle tell marvelous expression of the grace of soever believeth in him should not

6 Ministry/November 2000
perish, but have everlasting life.' "2 concept of grace put forward by scho the believer was always partly righteous
Some Luther scholars assert that lastic theologians, Luther joyfully and partly sinful. At this point, for Luther
Luther was the first since Paul to recover proclaimed the believer's personal ac justification was seen to be made
the original purity of the gospel of the ceptance by God. inwardly righteous.
New Testament. What made Luther the In Romans 3:28, Paul summed up
Reformer of the Christian church was the justification in his historic statement, Further clarification for Luther
fact that his gospel message was an "For we maintain that a man is justified Later, in his commentary on
chored in a sound exegesis of the Bible. by faith apart from observing the law." Galatians (1535) Luther reached his ma
Only thus could it have had the lasting Luther translated Paul's emphasis on jus ture concept of justification: it is the
value it has for the whole church. The tification by faith "without works of law" forensic or legal imputation of Christ's
"Gates of Paradise" were opened to in the German language by the additional righteousness to the repentant believer.
Luther, because "the keys of the king word "alone": "allein durch den Now he taught the complete justification
dom" were handed to him once he Glauben," "by faith alone." This was a of sinners in the forgiveness of their sins.
grasped the central passage of Romans: correct translation and interpretation of Now his emphasis was on the Christ for
"He who is righteous by faith, shall live." Paul's polemic against righteousness- us, who died for our sins, and no longer
We are saved now and in the judg works. Luther's brief formula for justifi on grace as something infused in the be
ment by our faith in Christ and in His cation "by faith alone" became part of liever. The "alien righteousness" of
free gift of righteousness. This caused the banner of the entire Protestant Ref Christ now became the essence of justi
Luther to write his famous book in 1520, ormation: "Sola Fide." fication and the basis for the certainty of
The Freedom of the Christian, dedicated Thus, the Reformation summed up personal salvation, because it is not a
to Pope Leo X. the Protestant faith in three short cries partial but a complete righteousness. We
Now all anxiety in seeking to be that sounded against the teaching of the are saved by an alien righteousness, not
come acceptable to God had ended. church of that day: Sola Scriptura by our own righteousness! In 1528
Later Ellen White would repeat this as Sola Gratia Sola Fide! Luther said in one of his sermons, "As
surance in her impressive declaration, Luther, in the meantime, advanced Adam brought damnation upon us by an
"We may enjoy the favor of God. We are his understanding on justification sub alien [to us] sin, so Christ has saved us
not to be anxious about what Christ and stantially. With the help of Augustine he by an alien righteousness.... Our testi
God think of us, but about what God discovered that God's righteousness is a mony and confession is: Not through
thinks of Christ, our Substitute. Ye are divine free gift. But he still thought of the yourself but through Christ will you be
accepted in the Beloved."3 gift merely in terms of an indwelling saved. These two you must distinguish
Christ and a gradually increasing right from one another, yourself and Christ.
Luther's grasp of the gospel eousness in the believer. This meant that You did not come down from heaven, you
Luther came to clearer insights as he
studied more carefully Paul's letters to
the Romans and Galatians. These two
letters became the two-edged sword of
the Protestant Reformation in its battle
against the proposing of a system of
works-righteousness. Luther used the A New Worship Website Just
polemical passages of Paul (Rom. 3:22-
26, 28; Gal. 2:21; 3:10; 5:4) directed O' and
against the merit system of Pharisaic Ju
daism in his battle against the merit- ^ by - that"
seeking theology and piety of the
medieval church. sS' for and
In Romans 3:24 Paul stressed the ^ and to
nature of God's mercy twice when he
said "freely by his grace!" This became "Where Seventh-day Adventist worship is profiled and supported!"
the hallmark of the Protestant Reforma
tion: "Sola Gratia!" But the grace of
God was no longer interpreted as the
metaphysical fluid of sacramental grace.
It was understood again in its pristine
apostolic sense of the "unmerited favor
of God." Rejecting the de-personalized

Ministry/November 2000 7
share the joy and assurance of redemp
tion. He was a scholar of theology in
order to be the most effective evangelist;
one who would teach the grace of God
and draw people to Christ. He believed
that the Bible had to be preached for the
'It's 'no secret .^6jat gospel to become gospel for his fellow
'Sfeit;coois'iuirtlie
'''" world. human beings. The written and oral
Word are both needed.
When the leaders of Luther's church
rejected his discovery of the gospel of free
grace and threatened him with excom
munication in the bull, Exsurge Domine
of 1520, he was shocked. On December
10, 1520, he publicly burned the papal
bull, together with a copy of the Canon
Law, which gave the Pope his powers.
When his friends tried to keep
Luther from going to the city of Worms
' " to defend his message before the em
peror, because they feared for his life,
ii^feri^^ he replied without hesitation: "Even
though there should be as many devils
in Worms as shingles on the roof, I
would still enter."5
were not born of Mary, but you were Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly The question has justly been asked:
made out of dirt. Therefore Christ's do for our adoption as sons, the redemption How could Luther have been so abso
ing is different from yours."4 Luther also of our bodies. For in this hope we were lutely convinced that he was right and the
gave "faith" back its apostolic meaning. saved" (Rom. 8:23,24). Saving faith thus whole church wrong? He wrote to a
Instead of the popular notion that "faith" should prevent believers from ever feel friend, "We cannot attain to the under
was an intellectual assent that had to be ing holy in themselves! standing of the Scripture either by study
supplemented by "works," or human Luther, however, certainly did not or by the intellect. Your first duty is to
behavior of some kind, Luther pro suggest that a sanctified life is irrelevant begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant
claimed that faith meant a person's act or unnecessary. He fully acknowledged you, of His great mercy, the true under
of commitment to God and His Word. that justification is effective in produc standing of His word. There is no other
Faith saves, not because it is the merito ing sanctification, but he insisted that interpreter of the word of God than the
rious act of a person, but because it such good works of the Spirit are not a Author of this word, as He Himself has
apprehends and embraces Christ. He is component part of justification itself. said, 'They shall be all taught of God.'
our Saviour, Forgiver, Justifier, and Ful- It is justification that creates the new Hope for nothing from your own labors,
filler of the law. God accepts believers and human, not the new human who cre from your own understanding: trust
reckons them righteous solely on account ates justification. solely in God, and in the influence of His
of Christ and His merits. The believer is It is here that we must confront the Spirit."6
justified in Christ! Such faith did not Roman Catholic doctrine of justifica For true reformation to occur,
need to be supplemented by works, be tion as defined by the Council of Trent Luther believed implicitly in the victo
cause such faith worked from the start! in 1546. Trent taught that one's justifi rious power of Scripture, rather than in
Luther coined a profound phrase, cation must be accomplished by one's ecclesiastical pressure, coercion, or leg
one that has often been misunderstood: own efforts in cooperation with God, islation. He wrote, "I simply taught,
the believer in Christ is simul Justus et and therefore one can never have the preached, and wrote God's Word, other
peccator, "at the same time just and sin comforting assurance that one has been wise I did nothing.... I did nothing,
ful." He meant to say: in Christ the accepted by God. Here is the crux of the the Word did everything."7
believer is fully justified, while he remains matter, as far as Luther was concerned. Luther excelled in his preaching and
in himself, that is, in his inherent sinful teaching. He exalted preaching to a new
nature (not: character), fully sinful! He Luther as a witness of Christ and significance and gave it a primacy over
therefore could say with Paul: "We our the Bible the sacraments. He insisted that the seven
selves, who have the first fruits of the Luther felt it was basic for others to sacraments of the church could not save,

8 Ministry/November 2000
only faith in the preached Word of God just cry, your agony is over. Hell is not respect, Luther was a true Elijah, and a
saves. He preached during the week and hell any more if you can cry to God. But forerunner of the universal revival and
three times on Sundays, starting at five no one can believe how hard this is. We reformation to come into being through
in the morning. can understand wailing, trembling, sigh the apocalyptic proclamation of the
For Luther, preaching was primarily ing, doubting, but to cry out, this is what Three Angels of Revelation 14.
expounding the Word of God. He sys we cannot do. Conscience, sin, and the
tematically went through entire books of wrath of God are about our necks. Na 1 Luther's Works. Concordia Publishing
the Bible, first from the Old Testament, ture cannot cry out. When Jonah reached House, vol. 54:105.
2 Quoted in H.A. Oberman, Luther.
then from the New, always applying the the point that he could cry, he had won. Man Between God and the Devil.
biblical characters in connection with his Cry unto the Lord in your anguish, and Doubleday, ET 1992, 153.
own experience. By way of example, here it will be milder. Just cry and nothing else. 3 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages
is a part of his exposition of Jonah. "How He does not ask about your merit. Rea (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub.
could anyone imagine that a man could son does not understand this, and always Assn., 1958), 2:32, 33.
4 Quoted in B. Hagglund, The Back
be three days and three nights in the belly wants to bring in something to placate ground of Luther's Doctrine of Justification
of the fish without light, without food, God. But there just is nothing to bring. in Late Medieval Theology. Facet Books 18.
absolutely alone, and come out alive? Reason does not believe that all that is Fortress Press, 1971, 33.
Who would not take this for a fairy tale needed to quiet God's anger is a cry."8 5 Quoted in E.G. Schwiebert, Luther
if it were not in Scripture? But God is Luther's understanding of the gos and His Times. Concordia Pub. House,
1950,499.
even in hell. 'Jonah prayed unto the Lord pel came through a responsible exegesis 6 In E.G. White, The Great Controversy,
from the belly of the whale.' I do not be of Scripture, which gave him a new and (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn.,
lieve he could compose such a fine psalm liberating experience as a Christian be 1911), 132.
while he was down there, but this shows liever. With immense courage, he lifted 7 Quoted in L. Pinomaa, faith Victori
what he was thinking. He was not expect up Christ above all others. Luther's de ous. Fortress Press, 1959, 102.
8 Quoted in R. H. Bainton, Here I
ing salvation. He thought he must die, votion to the everlasting gospel has been Stand. A Life of Martin Luther. A Mentor
yet he prayed, 'I cried by reason of mine described this way: "He hid behind the Book, MQ 544. The New Am. Lib., 1964,
affliction unto the Lord.' This shows that Man of Calvary, seeking only to present 279,280.
we must always pray to God. If you can Jesus as the sinner's Redeemer."9 In this 9 White, The Great Controversy, 152.

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Ministry/November 2000 9
rT n i
\
U L
m

n October 31,1999, representatives of the Vatican and the Lutheran World


Federation (LWF) formally signed a joint statement on the theological issue
of justification an issue that played a crucial role in the debates leading up to
the Protestant Reformation.
Raoul Dederen, Ph.D., The formal signing took place in towards the restoration of full unity
is professor emeritus Augsburg, Germany, 428 years to the among Christians." 3
of systematic theology day after Martin Luther nailed his list Did the Roman Catholic Church
and former dean of of 95 theses against the sale of indul accept the Lutheran position? Or did
the SDA Theological
gences to a church door in Wittenburg. Lutherans surrender Luther's stance?
Seminary, Berrien
Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy, Can it truthfully be said that the mu
Springs, Michigan.
president of the Pontifical Council for tual condemnations of the sixteenth
the Promotion of Christian Unity century no longer apply?
(PCPCU), signed the document on be Five documents hold an important
half of the Vatican and described the place in the development of the Catholic-
signing of the Joint Declaration on the Lutheran agreement: (1) the JDDJ itself;
Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) 1 as (2) the Official Catholic Response
"without doubt an outstanding achieve (OCR); (3) the Official Common State
ment of the ecumenical movement and ment (OCS); (4) an Annex to the former;
a milestone on the way to the restoration and (5) a note explaining details of the
of full, visible unity among the disciples Annex statement.4
of our Lord and Saviour."2 Pope John The first document was approved
Paul II described the event as marking by the Lutheran World Federation
"a milestone on the not always easy road Council on June 16, 1998. The second

10 Ministry/November 2000
was the Catholic response to the same given to the Scriptures. The section on Divisive themes
text, made on June 25, 1998. The last the "Biblical Message of Sanctification" Some of these divergent themes5 in
three were issued together in June of the (JDDJ 8-12) is helpful. Here, both dia clude human involvement in justifica
following year. logue partners have more in common tion, justification as declaration or
The Vatican's reaction to the Joint than what divides them. They are ad process, concupiscence, and the Lutheran
Declaration appalled many observers, dressing the central point justification, term "justified and a sinner."
both Roman Catholic and Protestant. In how to be right with God. They also show First, the human involvement in the
June 1998, one week after the LWF Coun a more sympathetic understanding of act of justification: The JDDJ explains
cil had approved the document and had what the other side was and is saying. that human beings have "no freedom in
stated that the Lutheran condemnations "A consensus in basic truths of the relation to salvation" (19) and, in an ex
no longer applied to Roman Catholic planatory section, Lutherans emphasize
teaching, Rome's response seemed to call that while believers are fully involved
into question the very consensus ex personally in their faith, a "person can
pressed in the JDDJ. It threw into confu only receive [mere passive] justification."
sion hopes of an imminent joint signing. This means they mean "to exclude any
Rome expressed its perplexity at some of possibility of contributing to one's own
the statements, declaring some unaccept justification (JDDJ 21). On the contrary,
able as presented and requesting clarifi . .. . ow will the the Council of Trent (1545-1563), called
cations. It even questioned whether the to formulate a comprehensive response
LWF had the authority to speak on doc two views be harmonized? to Luther, taught under anathema that
trinal issues in the name of its member sinners can cooperate in the preparation
churches (OCR 7). Shall we suggest that for and the reception of justification.
Once the "misunderstandings" were They do not receive it passively (DS
cleared, the two parties released a short
Lutherans use the term 1154).6
Official Common Statement and an An "justification" in an active or How will the two views be harmo
nex affirming the JDDJ and responding nized? Shall we suggest that Lutherans
to certain concerns raised a year earlier, functional sense, referring to use the term "justification" in an active
in June 1998. An additional Note was or functional sense, referring to the jus
shared by Cardinal Cassidy further ad the justifying activity of Christ, tifying activity of Christ, whereas
dressing questions raised by the Catholic Roman Catholics use it in an objective
partner in its Official Response. A few whereas Roman Catholics use sense, in reference to the transforming
months later, the signatories put their effect of Christ's justifying activity in the
names to a volume containing the Joint it in an objective sense, in believer?7 The disagreement remains
Declaration, the Official Common State essentially unresolved.
ment, and the Annex.
reference to the transforming The second issue (justification: a
effect of Christ's justifying declaration or process?) was probably the
Common understanding most conspicuously divergent between
What is the common understand activity in the believer?7 The Lutherans and Catholics from the very
ing of justification as the Joint Declara start. Luther consistently claimed that
tion sees it? Let me first mention that at disagreement remains justification is an event God declaring
the heart of the Declaration is an as the sinner righteous on account of and
tounding and compelling statement. It essentially unresolved. in Christ. Christ's righteousness, "alien"
reads: "Together we confess: By grace to the sinner, is imputed to him or her.
alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and In time, Lutherans began to draw an in
not because of any merit on our part, we creasingly sharp distinction between the
are accepted by God and receive the Holy event of being declared righteous (justi
Spirit who renews our hearts while doctrine of justification exists between fication) and the process of being made
equipping and calling us to good works" Lutherans and Catholics" in spite of "re righteous (sanctification, regeneration).
(JDDJ 15). maining differences of language, This perception gave rise to the term "fo
The Joint Declaration itself repre theological elaboration and emphasis" in rensic justification," from the Latin
sents a significant progress in mutual un the understanding of the doctrine, states forensis ("public") and forum ("market
derstanding. There is much in which the JDDJ (40; cf. OCS 1). Some of the place," "public place," or "courtyard")
Christians, mindful of Christ's longing latter are even "divergent" and simply where the dispensing ofjustice took place
for His disciples to be one, can rejoice. "not acceptable" according to the OCR in ancient Rome.
In the spirit of Vatican II more value is (Declaration 2; Clarification 1). Over against this forensic grasp of

Ministry/November 2000 11
justification that distinguishes between Justification and indulgences remission, partial or plenary, of the tem
justification and sanctification (JDDJ The doctrine of justification, how poral punishment in purgatory still due
26), Roman Catholics, along with Trent, ever, is not a purely academic matter. It to sins that have already been forgiven.
have consistently defined justification as touches the practices of the church. It This remission is the privilege of the
an internal transformation of the believer has obvious relevance to church life and church, which authoritatively dispenses
(DN 1528). Justification, "the most ex practice, including, for Roman Catho and applies the treasury of the satisfac
cellent work of God," repeats the lics, one's view on purgatory, the tions won by Christ and the saints.
Catechism of the Catholic Church,e "en assistance of Mary and the saints in the Believers may obtain partial or plenary
tails the sanctification of [the] whole life of salvation, as well as indulgences. indulgences for themselves or apply
body" (CCC 1994,1995). It "includes the Where is the connection? them to the dead.9
remission of sins, sanctification, and the Catholic doctrine teaches that sin, In the early sixteenth century such
renewal of the inner man" (CCC 2019). as rebellion against God, has enduring practices and beliefs lent weight to the
This evident disparity is corrobo consequences from which one must be selling of indulgences and the remission
rated by the approach adopted in the case of purgatory penalties. Such practices
of the next issue, that of concupiscence may have been in conflict with the
the unruly and self-centered spontane teaching of more responsible leaders of
ous desires that mark our fallen human the church but few serious efforts were
nature. Is the unruly inclination that made to suppress them. In recent years
comes from sin and presses us toward sin, Pope Paul VI's 1967 Indulgentiarum
indeed sin? Doctrina and John Paul II's 1998 bull
Roman Catholic doctrine holds Incarnationis Mysterium have sought to
that thanks to God's infused justifying . . don't think avoid any commercial overtures.
grace, Original Sin is eradicated by bap Do indulgences still play a role in
tism and sinners are made righteous, as that the Roman Catholic Roman Catholicism today? John Paul II,
we noted above (CCC 2023). A true who deplored the abuses of indulgences
change has occurred. Concupiscence,
Church was intending to
in the 1998 bull, unhesitatingly decreed
which stems from the effects of Origi indulge in double talk. 11 But I during the Jubilee of the year 2000 that
nal Sin and inclines us to sin (CCC "all the faithful, properly prepared, be
11264,1426,2515), however, is not sin. do wonder if the claim is true able to make abundant use of the [di
"Catholics do not see this inclination vine] gift of the indulgence," whether
as sin in an authentic sense." It "does that the basic issues debated at partial or plenary, "which is one of the
not separate the justified person from constitutive elements of the jubilee." 10
God" (JDDJ 30). In fact, the Council of the time of the Reformation Indulgences do still play a role in Ro
Trent condemned under anathema man Catholicism today.
whoever would hold the view that have in fact been resolved. It might be argued that indulgences
concupiscence is sin (DS 1515). encourage believers to acts of devotion,
Lutherans, by contrast affirm that charity, and works of merry. But don't
the justified person, accounted right indulgences and purgatory and prayer
eous, continues to be involved in a battle for the dead inexorably call into ques
between the Spirit and the sin that re tion the doctrine of justification? There
mains in us. Sin still lives in .,. Hence, purified. To begin with, sin involves mav be some confusion among Roman
the believer can be rightly described as deprivation of communion with God. Caiholic theologians as to what the role
simul Justus etpeccator, i.e. at once right To the repentant sinner, however, God, of indulgences really is, but how could
eous and sinner. in His mercy, grants pardon and remis one dismiss indulgences as some cryp
The Official Catholic Response, sion of the "eternal punishment" it tic and antiquated practice that has no
though rather blunt, declared that this would bring. Besides, since sin entails a meaning today and certainly no rel
view is "not acceptable" (OCR 1), add destructive attachment to temporal evance in an ecumenical discussion on
ing, quite understandably, that "it things, the repentant sinner must be the doctrine of justification?
remains difficult to see how... we can purified either here on earth or after Should one conclude that when he
say that this doctrine of'simul Justus et death in purgatory. This purification issued his indiction bull in 1998 John
peccator' is not touched by the anath cleanses the sinner from the "temporal Paul II was unaware of the fact that the
emas of the Tridentine decree on punishment" of sin and removes what Joint Declaration on the Doctrine ofJus
original sin and justification" (OCR 1). ever still impedes full communion with tification was being prepared with his
The Vatican seems to see a serious prob God and with other believers. approval and would be signed the fol
lem in this divergence. In this context, indulgences entail lowing year? I don't think that the

12 Ministry/November 2000
Roman Catholic Church was intending reconciled and no longer have a divisive discussions to the Scriptures. Ecclesial
to indulge in double talk. 11 But I do force" (OCS 3). They will, most probably, "rapprochement" should not be ob
wonder if the claim is true that the ba seek to fit their confessional statements tained at the expense of truth, that is,
sic issues debated at the time of the in a single coherent system. biblical truth.
Reformation have in fact been resolved.
Biblical and ecclesiastical integrity 1 For a responsible English version of the JDDJ
see Origins vol. 28: no. 8 (July 16, 1998). Origins is
Substantial differences persist The easier road to take in these days published by the National Catholic News Services,
I can understand why Roman of agnosticism and postmodern relativ Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the National
Catholics wanted and still want clarifi ism, is to simply acknowledge that we Conference of Catholic Bishops.
2 At a Rome press conference on June 25,1998.
cations. I, too, want clarifications, some have two systems that have unfolded Origins id., 128.
from Catholics and others from Luth from the Scriptures, the creeds and tra 3 Ecumenical News International Bulletin, no.
erans, before being able to say that dition, which express themselves 20, Nov. 10, 1999, 32.
4 For an English version of all five documents
Lutherans have not capitulated to the through different thought-forms and see Origins vol. 28: no. 8 (July 16, 1998): 120-127;
Roman Catholic view. Nor do I feel reas "languages," and that together we must 130-132; vol. 29: no. 6 (June 24, 1999): 86-89.
5 Various points in this article have been drawn
sured when I learn the answer Cardinal bring them side by side, attached by from Avery Dulles' cautionary piece "Two Languages
Cassidy gave to a question brought up mutual respect, spurning any inclina of Salvation: The Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declara
by journalists in Augsburg before the of tion to insist on absolute agreement. 16 tion," First Things, No. 98 (Dec. 1999): 25-30.
6 All statements by the Council of Trent are
ficial signing of the Joint Declaration. But is this a sound approach? Can taken from Denzinger-Schonmetzer, Enchiridion
Asked whether there was anything in the one really claim that two or more con Symbolorum 32nd to 36* editions. Hereafter: DS.
JDDJ contrary to the Council of Trent, 7 As does Richard J. Schlenker, "The Lutheran-
tradictory theological statements can Catholic 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of
Cardinal Cassidy answered: "Absolutely best serve the cause of Christian unity? Justification (June 1998)," Ecumenical Trends vol. 28,
not, otherwise how could we do it?"12 Some of the differences we are facing no. 5 (May 1999), 14.
8 Catechism of the Catholic Church. Latin text
Not surprisingly, not all Lutherans in the Joint Document are not simply copyright, rev. edition. Cita del Vaticano, 1997.
felt it possible to reconcile the Joint Dec matters of language or emphasis. They 9 New Code of Canon Law. Latin-English ed.
laration to the Confessions of their are not even just differences in the theo Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America,
1983: cans. 992, 994.
respective churches. In the United States, logical expressions of the faith. Instead 10 "John Paul II/Bull of Indiction Year 2000
the large Lutheran Church Missouri they are differences in the faith itself. Incarnationis Mysterium," Origins vol. 28: no. 26
(Dec. 10,1998): 446-452. The conditions for gaining
Synod, though a full member of the dia They concern aspects of substance, and the Jubilee indulgence are stipulated in an "Appen
logue, did not feel able to sign the they are hardly compatible (cf. OCR 5). dix by the Apostolic Penitentiary," id.: 452, 453.
document. To A. L. Barry, its president, They are not convergent but contradic H My point is borrowed from David
Mashman's article "Is the Reformation Over?" in The
the agreement is "a betrayal of the Gos tory and divergent, in matters not only Lutheran Witness, Nov. 1999, 24.
pel of Jesus Christ."13 Some 245 German of doctrine but of church life and prac 12 Ecumenical News International Bulletin, no.
Lutheran scholars likewise expressed tice. Consensus declarations such as the 20, Nov. 10,1999, 36.
13 "Lutheran Church -Missouri Synod press
their great concerns and reservations re one under review too often carry with release," October 15, 1999.
garding the JDDJ. 14 Forty-three of the them the scent of compromise. They 14 "Supporting Documentation for the State
ment 'Toward True Reconciliation,' " a duplicated
124 LWF member churches did not sup imperil the integrity of the church. 30-page-long document prepared by Paul T. McCain,
port the Joint Declaration, while 30 of There is much good in the fact that Assistant to the President of the Lutheran Church
the Lutheran churches, worldwide, that Lutherans and Catholics are engaging in Missouri Synod, [St. Louis], January 13,2000,12-24.
15 Ibid., 26-28.
are not members of the LWF, shared the dialogue. As partners in dialogue, they 16 As eloquently developed by Avery Dulles, the
same objections. 15 will continue to learn from one another veteran ecumenist: "Two Languages of Salvation: The
At the same time the co-signatories and correct one another's oversights. But Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration," First Things,
Dec. 1999, 25-30. See also John J. McDonnell, "The
have committed themselves to continue the only way partners in dialogue will Agreed Statement on Justification. A Roman Catho
the dialogue "in order to reach full ever be able to make significant inroads lic Perspective," Ecumenical Trends, vol. 28: no. 5
(May 1999), 7-8; Richard J. Schlenker, "The
church communion, a unity in diversity, in their dialogues with one another is by Lutheran-Catholic 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine
in which remaining differences would be expressly, even strictly, confining their of Justification'" (June 1998), 12-14.

www,ZondervanChurchSource.com
n nT n
\ i
j

ialogue since the second Vatican Council between the Roman Catholic
Church and the Lutheran churches has led to an unmistakable rapprochement
not only in the realm of ecclesiastical life, but also in the arena of doctrine.
Hans Heinz, Th.D., is a This includes above all the main ar vinced that, after the church had taught
retired professor of ticle of the Lutheran Reformation, the a nonbiblical righteousness by works for
theology atMarienhohe tenet of justification, by which, accord centuries, he was again connecting with
Seminary, Germany ing to Reformation Protestant convic Paul; "my Paul," as he put it.
tion, the church stands or falls. The Council of Trent (1545-63),
which on the one hand removed certain
Luther, the Council of Trent, and abuses, such as the sale of indulgences,
justification continued, on the other hand, to draw a
For Luther justification was the marked dividing line between the teach
"main article" 1 and the "sum of Chris ing of the Catholic Church and that of
tian doctrine."2 According to his own the Reformers. The Council clearly iden
confession, he had lost Christ due to the tified the doctrine of justification as the
impact of the Catholic Church's theol principal reason for the separation be
ogy of the late middle-ages, but redis tween the confessions. From the start
covered Him again through his study (1547) it delivered an exhaustive defini
of the Apostle Paul. Luther was well tion of the Catholic dogma of justifica
aware of the fact that what he had dis tion with pointed arguments against the
covered was "new," but he was con "heretics."3 Trent also made it clear that

14 Ministry/November 2000
its aim was to stamp out the heresy 4 it demand categorically that the church themselves to some degree with Paul's
saw in the teaching of the Reformers. In learn from Luther. They interpret the teaching on justification, as Luther un
the canons concerning the decree on jus Catholic teaching on justification in such derstood it, must ask the question: Have
tification, the Reformation was anath a way that there can be no longer any rea- not the essential points of the Reform
ematized, without actually calling the son for the separation between the ers' teaching been compromised and in
Reformers by name. Trent affirmed that churches. fact misrepresented or altered through
the memory of Luther and Calvin should this kind of ecumenical endeavor?
fall into eternal oblivion damnatio The Joint Declaration itself
memoriae and their religious conviction Climactic in this ecumenical en Inaccuracies?
forever be "anathema." That is how the deavor, of course, has been the Joint Dec Inaccuracies are observable from
statement of the Council has been un laration on the Dogma of Justification the beginning of the document where
derstood for 400 years. 1997, a document abbreviated here as justification is, biblically speaking,
Thus, amid the change illustrated by JD or Joint Declaration, published by the properly defined as the "forgiveness of
and emanating from the Joint Declara Lutheran World Federation and the Pon sins" 10 and where "forgiveness and mak
tion on the Dogma of Justification, the tifical Council for the Promotion of ing right" 11 are placed together as the
objective question remains and indeed Christian Unity. It culminates in the dec Catholic position. Problems begin to
now clamors for an answer: Who, if not laration of a "Consensus on the Funda show themselves when one realizes that
the Reformers and their teachings, were mentals of the Dogma of Justification,"7 nowhere in the document is it said that
the heretics of the sixteenth century with and states that further valid differences the two (forgiveness and making right)
their false teaching on justification and on the way to "visible unity"8 may not contradict one another, since "making
what, if anything, has in fact altered since be used to condemn one another's teach right" (sanctification) is seen in the
then to suggest the kind of rapproche ings.9 This document certainly reveals a Bible to be the result of justification, so
ment gathering in the wake of the high degree of accord. But it achieves this, that although good works are necessary,
document we are reviewing? with some apparent deliberation, they are not necessary for salvation. In
through frequent inaccuracies and by the Catholic teaching however, making
The outlook today use of some misleading statements. right which is manifested by works
These days, of course, both sides Whoever has endeavored to familiarize is necessary for salvation; 12 while in the
refer to the fact that Luther had not only
said, "We are and remain eternally di
vided,"5 but also that if the pope could
admit that God justifies only through
His mercy in Christ, "then we would not
Origins:
only carry him on our hands, but also Linking Science and Scripture
kiss his feet."6
Since Catholic theologians today Are the worlds of science and religion irreconcilable?
present Luther's concern in regard to
If one accepts the biblical account of origins,
justification as "Catholic truth" (Y.
does one then have to reject science? Scientist and
Congar) and his teaching as "more Christian believer Ariel A. Roth argues that taken
Catholic than previously assumed" (}. together, science and religion give us a more
Lortz), new perspectives seem to be complete and sensible understanding of the
emerging. Some Catholic theologians world around us, our place in it, and our destiny.
appear almost lyrical when speaking of
Luther today. "The legacy of Luther Reviewers comments include: "easily understood, " "fascinating stories
must be brought back to the Catholic and illustrations," "refreshing ... candor, " "non-dogmatic," "lots of new information,"
"well referenced, "and "excellent book. "
Church" (J. Lortz), Luther must receive
"right of residence" (O. H. Pesch), be
The author, who has been the editor ofthe journal Origins far 23 years has had
cause his thinking is a "unique word- ivorldwide experience in the ongoing discussion about science and the Bible. The book is
and-event theology" (A. Brandenburg) well illustrated and documented with more than one thousand references. It includes a
that could be a "liberating aid" (J. glossary and comprehensive index. Review and Herald Publishing Association,
Brosseder) in the fight against every Hagerstown, Maryland, 1998. ISBN0-8280-1328-4. Hardcover, 384 pages, $24.99.
form of new scholasticism.
Catholic ecumenical thinkers such Order by Phone: 800-765-6955.
as Hans Kiing and O. H. Pesch classify E-mail: adventistbookcenter.com or any of the major online booksellers
Luther's teaching on justification as a "re
turn to the Gospel." Consequently, they

Ministry/November 2000 15
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teaching of the Reformation they only is that Trent defined grace as "inherent tributing to salvation, no Protestant is
bear witness to salvation. The gospel grace,"22 which is therefore the posses able to accept. The Joint Declaration
sees good works as a consequence of sion of the believer. states that the laws of the church can also
salvation, while in Catholic teaching This was not the Reformation posi be affirmed by Protestants, when they
they are a means to salvation. In other tion, which saw both the saving grace and "validate God's Commandments."25 The
words, according to Catholic teaching, the works that save to be those of Christ, question is, can this also be said concern
good works do not happen because of Himself, quite aside from the believer. ing such actions as the duty of
salvation, but they lead to salvation. 13 Even though the document constantly confession, where the priest absolves
This crucial distinction is not pointed asserts that grace is not a "possession" from sin?26
out in the document. but a "gift"23 (and no biblically oriented It is impossible to see the condem
When the Joint Declaration speaks Christian would disagree with that asser natory judgments coming down from
about justification by faith, 14 it is men tion in and of itself), yet when reading the Council of Trent as mere "warn
tioned that the Pauline sola fide (by faith ings,"27 as the Joint Declaration interprets
alone) was the Reformers' position, but them to be. For example, looking at the
nowhere is it said that this position is
incompatible with the Catholic posi
n Trent judgment against the Reformation
positions on sola fide,2* on the confidence
tion, which remains in fact, one which of faith,29 on justification as imputed or
affirms that justification comes by both accounted righteous,30 and on the assur
faith and works. 15 . .he Joint ance of salvation,31 in all honesty, one
Justification by faith alone means cannot say that these were only "warn
full salvation here and nowand there Declaration maintains that ings"32 as the Joint Declaration reinter
fore completed justification and with it prets them to be. An anathema is not a
the assurance of salvation. Justification condemnations in regard to warning, but an unequivocal judgment
by faith and works, on the other hand, of condemnation.
means an incomplete justification16 and
the doctrine ofjustification The Joint Declaration maintains that
therefore there is hope but no assurance have become irrelevant.32 condemnations in regard to the doctrine
or certainty of salvation. Those who of justification have become irrelevant.33
"through the observance of God's law This could mean either the This could mean either the decrees of
and the Church's laws are constantly Trent are no longer validwhich is
more justified," 17 cannot be sure of sal decrees of Trent are no longer clearly not the caseor that the whole
vation, since they do not know whether truth is no longer being told so that the
or not they have completely fulfilled all validwhich is clearly not ecumenical cause maybe promoted. The
that is needed. problem is that this degree of ambiguity
Further, Paul's "by faith alone" the caseor that the whole does not help the ordinary believer, who
(Rom. 3:28)as Luther understood is likely to be confused and misled by it.
itis incompatible with a justification
truth is no longer being told
of faith and love. 18 Paul nowhere speaks so that the ecumenical cause Protestant scholars evaluate the
of a justification by love because love is Joint Declaration
for him a witness to faith (Gal. 5:6). Jus may be promoted. Heike Schmoll, in the Frankfurter
tification by love is justification already Allgemeine Zeitung, 34 has called this
transformed into sanctification, which confusing approach "cheating-
again has good works not in order to ecumenism." It is not surprising that
be saved but as a witness to salvation. more than 150 Professors of Theology
Although the Joint Declaration the Joint Declaration we must neverthe in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
constantly stresses that justification less ask on the basis of the evidence in have formulated arguments against it or
cannot be earned, 19 it does not say that the document, whether the Catholic po have rejected the whole undertaking.
according to Catholic understanding sition is fully and correctly represented Among them are such well-known
this refers only to the initial justifica to the reader. names as Eberhard Jiingel, Ingo U.
tion received at baptism. According to That a true Christian will help his Dalferth, Gerhard Ebeling, Reinhard
Catholic dogma, final justification in fellowman and glorify God through obe- Schwarz, Karin Bornkam, and Dorothea
the judgment must "truly be earned."20 dience belongs to the ABCs of Wendebourg.
Even though necessary works are a gift Christianity. However, that this obedi Meanwhile, the Joint Declaration
of grace, says the Catholic position, they ence, which includes obedience to the has developed a history of its own. In
are at the same time man's "good mer rules of the church, will constantly make June 1998, Rome published a "note" as
its."21 The reason for taking this position the Christian more righteous,24 thus con part of the Council of Unity in which,

Ministry/November 2000 17
expressed his conviction that Rome of Trent." Thus, it became possible to
Hang on to would sign the Joint Declaration.
In the meantime both sides have at
sign the Joint Declaration with its com
mentary ("Joint official statement"). It
new members! tempted to remove the offending items is of special interest to note that this sign
through a "joint official statement" (June ing took place on October 31,1999, on
How do you keep new members in the 1999) concerning the Joint Declaration. Reformation Day, and in Augsburg.
church? How can you prevent new This statement became possible because
believers from becoming dropouts? those on the Protestant side compro Fundamental questions remain
In You Can Keep Them If You Care, mised the Reformation view of sin. For The agreement implied in this sign
James A. Cress offers theological Luther, indwelling human sin (Rom. ing is still not a "general consensus."
imperatives for new-member 7:18-23) is a transpersonal power, Many questions remain, such as the ba
assimiliaiion as well as practical through which humanity is totally alien sic question of how sola fide, mentioned
methods which work in real life. ated and constantly drawn away from in the "Joint official statement," relates
God. According to Luther this alienation to the explicit condemnation passed
is so pervasive that no one is able to do down at Trent. Along with this, there are
good before God. Thus, in a theological serious unaddressed issues related to the
sense (Col. 2:13) human beings are dead, seminal matter of whether grace is ex
morally speaking. Because of this the trinsic or inherent and the matter of the
human being is unable to contribute any nature and role of "merits."
thing toward his or her salvation (Eph. According to I. U. Dalferth, both
2:8,9). documents (Catholic and Lutheran)
For these reasons justification, for "speak a common language without
giveness before God, and acceptance as having a common understanding," 37
Ministerial Association Resource Center
God's child is most certainly the "justifi and the suspicion of J. Baur33 has valid
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904 cation of the sinner" (Rom. 4:5). For the ity, that the whole process is an enter
Phone: 888.771.0738 (toll-free) / 301.680.6508 same reason the good works of the be prise in "ecclesiastical diplomatic
Fax: 301.680.6502
E-mail: paynec@gc.adveotist.oig liever, or the holy character of the child slyness" that disguises a remaining fun
Web site: www.Bbihisterialassociation.com of God follows justification rather than damental dissent.
:, Alsa fovoilable, at yourlocal ABC causing it. And while good works are
necessary, they are not necessary for sal
according to Cardinal J. Ratzinger, con vation. But it is also true that these works Weimar edition of Luther's Works, 40 III, 366, 24.
Ibid., 352, 2.
sensus in regard to "fundamental truths" are nevertheless just as much a gift of Denzinger-Huncrmann, Compendium of Creeds and

is avowed, but certain critical aspects of God as justification itself (Eph. 2:10).
the Lutheran position, such as the pas The Council of Trent audaciously
sive reception of justification and thus attempted to correct Paul's position by
the denial of merits, the justification of declaring that it was not ready to follow for the P
Ibid., 44.
sinners, simul Justus et peccator [at the Paul, calling sin in Romans 7:20 by its Ibid., 5.
same time righteous and sinful], as well right name. Thus the Catholic position Ibid., II.
Ibid., 27
as justification as the principle criterion is that concupiscence [lust] is only the Denzingcr-Huncrmann, 1535.
Ibid., 15S2.
of the church, remain condemned by the result of the loss of original grace and Joint Declaration, 11:16.
anathemata of the Council of Trent.35 therefore actually something secondary; Denzingcr-Himcrmann, 1535.
"Growing justification," Denzinger-Hunermann, 1535.
This note produced a considerable not the power of sin but only the "fuel" Ibid.
Ibid.
stir in the Lutheran World Federation for sin. 36 Since according to Catholic Joint Declaration, 15; 17.
and beyond that in the Protestant world. teaching, humanity is sacramentally Vere meren, Denzingcr-Huncrmann, 1582.
Ibid.
Johannes Dantine spoke of "the end of cleansed from sin through baptism, God Ibid., 1547.
Joint Declaration, 27.
the ecumenical consensus," and actually justifies sinless human beings. Denzingcr-Hunermann, 1535.
Joint Declaration to 4.15.
Reinhard Freiling referred to the "immo- Cardinal Ratzinger made this clear when Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, 2042.
bility of Rome." The Reformed he said: "When one is not just, he is also Joint Declaration, 42.
Denzinger-Hunermann, 1559.
(Calvinistic) professor of dogmatics not justified." By agreeing that a Chris Ibid., 1562.
Ibid., 1561.
Ulrich Kortnergoes so far as to say that tian is no longer a sinner, the Ibid., 1533, 1534.
Rome's ecumenism is the "antithesis to representatives of the World Lutheran Joint Declaration, 42.
Ibid., 5.
ecumenism." A statement of appease Federation have come closer to the un Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitiing, No. 133. June 12,1998.
Compare MatermldienstPublication of the Denomi-
ment from the Catholic side was issued derstanding of the Council of Trent in Institute, Bensheim, 49 [1998]:63-67.
by Cardinal Cassidy, who in spite of the this matter. Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The Denzinger-Hunermann, 1515.
7 Materialdicmt, 50 (1999).
reminder of the anathemata of Trent, Lutherans indeed move in the direction Frri durch Rechtfertigung: Tubingen 1999, 68.76.

18 Ministry/November 2(.00
FINDINGS OF
THE REPORT
ON RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM
An interview with John Graz
John Graz, Ph.D., is Will Eva: John, why is there a Re in a few days, but we are living in a world
director of Public port on Religious Freedom in the first whose countries are increasingly linked.
Affairs and Religious place? What is its significance? The democratic countries, and especially
Liberty, General the United States of America, have a lead
Conference of Seventh- John Graz: There are two major ership role. Most of the countries need
day Adventists. reports on the state of religious freedom communication and help to benefit, in
worldwide: the United Nations Special one way or another, from the economic
Rapporteur of the Commission on Hu prosperity of the West. Human rights
Willmore D. Eva, man Rights Report,1 given every year, and violations, including religious persecu
D.Min., is the editor of the annual report of the United States tion, are seen as dark stains and create
Ministry and associate Commission on International Religious problems for good relations between
secretary of the Freedom.2 Our report is a supplementary countries.
General Conference resource for both. To establish a general The situation is something like a
Ministerial world report is a huge undertaking; thus, person's desire to become the member
Association. all reliable resources are welcomed. In of a respected club. Just as the person is
publishing our own report,3 we strive to applying for membership, a newspaper
disclose violations of religious freedom reveals that they abuse their children.
and to encourage countries to protect In our reports, we give an account of a
and defend the fundamental principle of country's record with respect to their
religious freedom. signature under the International Bill of
Rights.4 Of course, when a government
WE: How are these reports, includ is mentioned and is listed as a persecu
ing yours, useful for the cause of tor, that government reacts.
religious freedom?
WE: Could this not increase the
JG: One cannot expect that a report danger for believers under such govern
will change oppression and persecution ments?

JOHN GRAZ & WILLMORE D. EVA

Ministry/November 2000 19
JG: What is more dangerous is for case of a national emergency.6 WE: In your Report 2000, you
a government to claim that it offers re Having said that, we have to men mentioned an Adventist church build
ligious freedom, when it is well known tion the limits of religious freedom. As ing destroyed by the authorities in
that it doesn't. If the report is not cor for every kind of freedom, there are lim Turkmenistan in the Russian Federa
rect, it is easy enough to disprove. If, its. Having religious freedom does not tion. Why did that happen?
which is most often the case, the report mean you can do everything you want
is correct, the government will have to on behalf of religion. JG: In the early 1990s, when the
explain its policy and actions against In their teachings, most religions Adventist community was recognized
religious freedom. draw their own borders. If you love your by the State, they began to build a
Such a report may open a fruitful neighbor you must respect him. You churchthe only one in Turkmenistan.
dialogue between persecutor and the cannot lie, steal, or kill. The limits to In 1994, a new law required all churches
persecuted. Our purpose in making religious freedom set by the Interna- and religious groups to re-register. The
these reports is not to attack a govern Adventists should have been re-regis
ment, but to help it realize that not only tered, according to the new laws, but the

w
is something wrong in its country but authorities put obstacles in the way of
that other nations know that something the church until the deadline had
is wrong. passed. They then decided to destroy
Those who persecute must come to the building because the church was not
understand that there is strong solidar re-registered and thus was not "recog
ity with the innocent, and that it is nized."7
totally unacceptable to persecute some hat Turkmenistan is a member of the
one because of his or her religious faith Organization for Security and Coopera
and beliefs.
concerns me is that those who tion in Europe; they signed through the
are fighting so-called sects are former Soviet Union the Helsinki Final
WE: Some would argue that reli Act, including Principle VII on religious
gious freedom opens the door to a blinded by their anti-religious freedom. In destroying a church build
multiplication of harmful and danger ing, the nation violated that principle.
ous cults. How does this fit into your presuppositions and biases. Their membership is contested by many
thinking? European countries and by the United
They claim to protect and States.
JG: That's a loaded and difficult
question. Let me begin with what I be defend human rights, but WE: Turkmenistan has a majority
lieve is the best definition of religious of Muslims. Are all Muslim countries
freedom. It is found in Article 18 of the
they seem to have little opposed to religious freedom?
United Nations Universal Declaration of relevant understanding of the
Human Rights voted by acclamation JG: In our report, Category 5 is the
December 10, 1948. It states: "Every religious dimension. category given to those countries with
one has the right to freedom of thought, no religious freedom whatsoever. The
conscience and religion; this right in countries listed are predominantly Is
cludes freedom to change his religion lamic. In Category 4, the countries listed
or belief, and freedom, either alone or are Muslim. But, we must by no means
in community with others and in pub say that Islam or the Muslims are against
lic or private, to manifest his religion tional Bill of Rights are family, health, religious freedom. Most do not have the
or belief in teaching, practice, worship public order, and other similar prin same concept that we have about reli
and observance." ciples. We do agree, though, that often gious freedom. Yet we must never forget
This article is present in many na those terms can be hard to define ex that during certain times and in many
tional constitutions and international actly and that the issue can become situations, Islam has been far more tol
treaties. It is also developed in the difficult, especially in the context of erant toward religious minorities than
United Nations Declaration on the Elimi some cults. We must recall that in its has Christianity. Religious freedom is a
nation of all Forms of Intolerance and of earliest days, Christianity could have relatively new concept in Christendom.
Discrimination Based on Beliefs and Re been deemed a dangerous cult. In fact, Intolerance can come from any re
ligions.5 The comment of Article 18 in the Roman Empire, it was. Yet, all ligion. Buddhism and Hinduism, which
voted by the United Nations states that things considered, the protection of re are known for tolerance, are not an ex
religious freedom is a fundamental free ligious freedom is definitely the better ception either. Some governments are
dom that must be respected, even in the option. forcing Christians to become Buddhists,

20 Ministry/November 2000
while extremist Hindus are persecuting JG: I will never forget the answer of often but not always, where persecution
Christians in India. Christians have in a headmaster in a French public second arises. There is good support from sev
the past been persecutors, and many of ary school. He decided with his board to eral governments, which encourage us to
those persecuted were fellow Christians reject any registration of students who organize seminars, symposiums, and
who believed differently from their per ask for Saturdays off from school because world congresses around the globe. We
secutors on some point. Christian of religious reasons. Young Adventists have friends everywhere, in every coun
kingdoms have not always been mod were concerned, but the officer said that try and in every religion. In working
els of tolerance and religious freedom! "if we allow giving Saturday off for the together, we shall make a significant dif
Adventists, we will have to do the same ference. Religious freedom is a basic
WE: Your report also focuses on a for those who want to play football, or human right, a fundamental freedom,
few European countries persecuting re go fishing...." For him, a religious con and we have to protect, defend, and pro
ligious minorities. Is the term "persecu viction was the same as a sport or leisure mote it everywhere for everyone. It is a
tion" appropriate in a democracy? activity, nothing more! Christian task. But it is also a mission of
Fortunately, in the same town, the and in behalf of the human spirit.
JG: In publishing an official list of headmaster of another public school
sects and cults believed to be potentially took the opposite position. For him, re Note: To obtain a copy of the Religious
dangerous, France and Belgium have ligious convictions were serious enough, Freedom World Report 2000, write to GC-
PARL, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver
shelved or forgotten their commitment and he sought to help the students. It Spring, Maryland 20904, or visit the IRLA
to religious freedom. It is unthinkable means that there is hope, and everywhere Web page: www.IRLA.org
that such respected democracies and religious freedom has supporters.
1 www.unhchr.ch
human rights advocates have initiated 2 www.uscirf.gov
this kind of action. In France, there is a WE: Several countries are com 3 Religious Freedom World Report
commission against sects that periodi mended for their improvement on 2000, Silver Spring, Md., August 2000.
cally updates the list.8 The first anti-sect religious freedom. That is good news. 4 See "Religion and Human Rights:
law was voted December 10,1998, right Basic Documents," Center for the Study of
Human Rights, Columbia University, 1998.
on the 50th Anniversary of the United JG: Yes. You will find 132 countries 5 Idem., 101,102. Article 6 gives an ex
Nations Declaration of Human Rights. listed in Categories 1 and 2, which is the planation of what religous freedom means!
This kind of law causes one to wonder majority. Italy, Spain, Poland, and most 6 Idem., 92-95. United Nations Human
if those who enacted it are no longer of the countries in South America have Rights Committee General Comment, No.
conscious of Article 18 of the United improved their level of religious freedom. 22.
7 Compass Direct, Nov. 16, 1999.
Nations Declaration! In any case, the The United States of America is con 8 Alain Gest and lacques Guyard, "Les
result is that almost every religious mi cerned about the issue of religious Sectes en France." Rapport 2468, Assembled
nority in France has problems; even if freedom abroad and has raised its voice, Nationale, December 20, 1995.
they are not listed.
What concerns me is that those who
are fighting so-called sects are blinded by General Conference Ministerial Association
their anti-religious presuppositions and
biases. They claim to protect and defend
human rights, but they seem to have little
Contact Information
relevant understanding of the religious
dimension. This leads me to a disturb DEPARTMENT PHONE NUMBER E-MAIL ADDRESS
ing conclusion: That it is possible for Director 301.680.6501 massenburgg@gc.adventist.org
countries with a strong democratic heri Elder's Digest, Theological Education 301.680.6508 74532.532@compuserve.com
tage to persecute people, in good Evangelism and Church Growth 301.680.6509 johnsonp@gc.adventist.org
conscience and with admirable motiva Ministry Editorial Office 301.680.6510 noreottj@gc.adventist.org
tion. That is, people can be persecuted drapers@gc.adventist.org
on behalf of the truth, on behalf of cul Ministry Subscriptions & Circulation 301.680.6503 calbij@gc.adventist.org
tural identity. Thus, the time may come PREACH and Professional Growth 301.680.6518 stangoj@gc.adventist.org : j:':;
when believers will be persecuted in the Resource Center 301.680.6508 paynec@gc.adventiSfcpi:g - ; ^;r-
name of human rights. 888.771.0738 (toll-free)
Shepherdess International 301.680.6513 lowes@gc.adventist.of|js;i
WE: Does this mean that in tradi
tionally "free" societies, religion may in Fax number for all departments: 301.680.6502
the future no longer be seen as a funda Web site: www.ministeriaiassociatton.cbm
mental freedom?

Ministry/November 2000 21
u

n October 31,1999, in Augsburg, Germany, representatives from the


Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church signed the
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," 1 in which they affirmed:
Roger S. Evans, Ph.D., 1) "In faith we together hold the Christ, justifies and truly renews the
is assistant professor of conviction that justification is the work person" (28).
church history at Payne of the triune God" (15). 7) "We confess together that per
Theological Seminary, 2) "Together we confess: By grace sons are justified by faith in the gospel
Pickerington, Ohio. alone, in faith in Christ's saving work 'apart from works prescribed by the
and not because of any merit on our law" (31).
part" (15). 8) "We confess together that good
3) "We confess together that all per worksa Christian life lived in faith,
sons depend completely on the saving hope and lovefollow justification and
grace of God for their salvation" (19). are its fruits" (37).
4) "We confess together that God To hear Lutherans and Catholics
forgives sin by grace and at the same voicing common confessions on the doc
time frees human beings from sin's en trine of justification is something that
slaving power" (22). could not have been imagined before
5) "We confess together that sin Vatican II. Statements, which in the six
ners are justified by faith in the saving teenth century brought condemnations
action of God in Christ" (25). and charges of heresy, are now seen, ac
6) "We confess together that in cording to this document, as merely "op
baptism the Holy Spirit unites one with posing interpretations and applications

22 Ministry/November 2000
of the biblical message of justification" work, merit, or worthiness of ours pre word justify means ... to declare free
(13). According to the document, both ceding, present, or following. ... He from sins" (7). Justification itself does
communions have been able "to articu presents and imputes to us the right not involve renewal, sanctification, or
late a common understanding of our jus eousness of Christ's obedience, on good works. These all follow the act of
tification by God's grace through faith in account of which righteousness we are justification. "Love and works must fol
Christ," which shows that the remaining received into grace by God, and re low faith. Wherefore, they are not
differences in its explication are no garded as righteous"(3.4). And Martin excluded so as not to follow, but confi
longer "the occasion for doctrinal con Luther stated, "He that can say: 'I am a dence in the merit of love or of works is
demnations" (5).2 While realizing that child of God through Christ, who is my excluded in justification."5
there are "remaining differences," which righteousness,' and despairs not, though Melanchthon in the AAC, after ex
need "further clarification," there is still he be deficient in good works, which plaining what Lutherans believed,
a great deal of "consensus on basic truths always fail us, he believes rightly."4 wrote, "And of [our] faith not a syllable
concerning the doctrine of justification" exists in the doctrine of our adversar
(13). ies. Hence we find fault with the
In the light of these agreements, it adversaries, equally because they teach
is important to ask, Just what were the only the righteousness of the Law and
issues that first caused the Protestant because they do not teach the righteous
Reformation, and what does this his ness of the Gospel, which proclaims the
toric document do to help heal more righteousness of faith in Christ" (4).
than 400 years of hostility and theologi . .t is important And later in the same document he said,
cal division regarding the question of "Therefore, those who deny that faith
justification by faith? to ask, Just what were the justifies, teach nothing but the law, both
Christ and the Gospel set aside" (4).
Faith alone? issues that first caused the
In the sixteenth century, the The view from Rome
Protestant Reformation and
Lutheran position on justification was Of course, the Catholics did teach
straightforward. In the Apology of the what does this historic and write about righteousness and jus
Augsburg Confession, Philip Melan- tification by faith, and they did not see
chthon wrote, "We will show that faith document [the Joint themselves setting aside either Christ or
[and nothing else] justifies" and "faith the gospel. In the "Decree on Justifica
alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., Declaration] do to help heal tion," chapter 2, the Catholics said that
receives remission of sin" (4.2). In the "God has proposed [Christ] as a propi
same document, he says that "the prom more than 400 years of tiator, through faith in his blood, for our
ise of the remission of sins and of justifi sins, and not for our sins only, but also
cation has been given us for Christ's sake" theological division? for those of the whole world." Chapter
(4.2). The Formula of Concord states that 6 reads: "God justifies the impious by
people "are justified and saved alone by His grace, through the redemption that
faith in Christ" (3.10). Martin Luther is in Christ Jesus." And in chapter 8:
wrote, "[We] are saved only by faith, "Faith is the beginning of human sal
without any good works, therefore faith Therefore, for sixteenth-century vation, the foundation and the root of
alone justifies" (304). And, "We are jus Protestants, justification comes from all justification."
tified before God altogether without God through Christ, in that God does These were statements that the
works, and obtain forgiveness of sins not impute our sins to us, but instead Lutherans would affirm. The more dif
merely by grace" (300). imputes to us Christ's righteousness. The ficult statements were those concerning
During the Reformation, Catholics believer was seen to be declared just be the place and merit of good works in
charged Lutherans with boasting in fore God by God, and that justification the economy of salvation. However,
their "confidence and certainty of the was obtained through faith alone in much of the difference between the
remission of ... sins" when in reality Christ alone. Thus, justification was seen Protestants and Catholics of the Refor
"no one can know with a certainty of by them to be a gift that was promised mation period can be better understood
faith, which cannot be subject to error, and given to the believer. when it is remembered that, for Catho
that he has obtained the grace of God."3 The Apology of the Augsburg Con lics, justification is more of a process
No attempt was made by the Lutherans fession [AAC] says, "By faith itself, we than an act. Faith and grace come from
to deny these charges. In the Formula are for Christ's sake accounted right God, and these gifts are operational in
of Concord they wrote, "God forgives us eous, or are acceptable to God" (4). And the life of the Christian as he or she par
our sins out of pure grace, without any the Formula of Concord states that "the ticipates in the sacraments and in good

Ministry/November 2000 23
works. The Confutatio Pontificia states "faith in his blood" (2) and in the that if good works do not follow, faith is
that "it is entirely contrary to holy Scrip "merit of His passion" (3). However, false and not true" (3.13). However, the
ture to deny that our works are faith is just the "beginning of human Catholics believed that not only were
meritorious" (4). In Article 6 of the salvation, the foundation and the root good works a part of justification, these
same document, the authors state that of all justification" (8).6 Faith in Christ good works increased the justification,
the "truth of the Gospel [is that] works and His passion did not fully justify a which the believer already possessed. The
are not excluded." And in Article 20 the believer, because justification was an Council qf Trent said that "faith cooper
question is asked, "If works were not ongoing process. For the Catholics ating with good works increase in that
meritorious why would the wise man "faith cooperating with good works in justice which they have received through
say: 'God will render a reward of the la crease in that justice which they have the grace of Christ, and are still further
bors of his saints'?" Finally, in chapter received through the grace of Christ, justified" (10).
16 of the "Decree of Justification" it says This position allowed the Catholics
that the justified have "by those very to speak of being "made" righteous,
works which have been done in God, while the Lutherans spoke of being "de
fully satisfied the divine law according
to the state of this life, and to have truly
n clared" righteous. In the Formula of Con
cord Lutherans placed their finger on this
merited eternal life." critical difference when they said that
Catholics teach that believers are "being
Act or process? . . herefore, made righteous before God, because of
Thus, it is clear that Catholics and the love infused by the Holy Ghost, vir
Lutherans came at the question of jus although both Lutheran and tues, and the works following them" and
tification from different perspectives. that "believers are justified before God
When sixteenth-century Catholic
Catholic Christians in the and saved jointly by the imputed righ
Christians said that good works were sixteenth century used words teousness of Christ and by the new obe
meritorious, they understood that good dience begun in them" (15, 21). The
works by themselves without divine and phrases like "faith in Jesus Catholics in fact did teach that justifica
grace were worthless. Again, the tion was not just something that hap
Confutatio Pontificia: Christ" "justification" pened to them, but it's also something
"The condemnation of the Pela that happened inside them. To them jus
gians, who thought that man can merit "righteousness," "grace," and tification was imputed and imparted.
eternal life by his own powers without The Council of Trent speaks of justifica
the grace of God, is accepted as Catho "good works," how they tion as being the "renewal of the inward
lic and in accordance with the ancient man" (7) and of Christ "infus[ing] his
councils" (4).
understood these words, and virtue into the said justified" (16). Canon
"The merits that men acquire" come the part they played in the 11 says that those who say that people
"by the assistance of divine grace" (4). are justified "by the sole imputation of
"All Catholics confess that our believer being justified, were the justice of Christ... to the exclusion
works of themselves have no merit, but of the grace and the charity which is
that God's grace makes them worthy of quite different.7 poured forth into their hearts" are anath
eternal life" (4). ema.
"[The] word of Christ... teaches Therefore, although both Lutheran
that our works bring no profit to God; and Catholic Christians in the sixteenth
that no one can be puffed up by our century used words and phrases like
works; that when contrasted with the and are still further justified" (10). Jus "righteousness," "justification," "faith
divine reward, our works are of no ac tification is not the "remission of sins in Jesus Christ," "good works," and
count and nothing" (6). merely, but also the sanctification and "grace," how they understood these
"Concerning good works,... they renewal of the inward man" (7). words, and the part they played in the
do not merit the remission of sin" (20). Thus, while Lutherans saw good believer being justified, were quite dif
"We know that our works are noth works and growth in holiness as follow- ferent.7
ing and of no merit unless by virtue of zngthe act of justification, Catholics saw
Christ's passion" (20). good works and growth in holiness as Shifts evidenced in the Joint
The Catholics stated unequivocally part of justification. The Lutheran posi Declaration
that their faith was in Jesus Christ, His tion, spelled out in the Smakald Articles, The Lutheran and Catholic Chris
passion and His merits. The Council of states that "forgiveness of sins is followed tians that signed the Joint Declaration
Trent asserts that Christians are to have by good works... [and] we say, besides, in Augsburg in 1999 also employed

24 Ministry/November 2000
these words in their attempt to find puting His righteousness" to us "by faith study of the biblical foundations of the
common ground on the doctrine of jus alone." doctrine of justification and to make it
tification. In order to accomplish On the Catholic side, sixteenth- bear fruit in the life and teaching of the
togetherness, both sides needed to move century Catholics were quite clear that churches" (43).
toward the position of the other. And a justification was not just the forgiveness Perhaps other Christians who con
review of the language of the"common of sins, but included growth in holy liv tinue to silently observe the differences
confessions" of the Joint Declaration il ing, which included good works. They from both sides of a long-standing
lustrate this shift by both. also insisted that good works of them Berlin-like wall of separation can look at
The Lutheran teachings on justifi selves were not meritorious, but done this attempt by two long-time opponents
cation in the sixteenth century have in grace (or in God) they had meritori and make the attempt to speak with one
nothing to say about the work of the ous value and were part of the process another, rather than to shout.
Holy Spirit. This is not to say that they of justification. However, paragraph 37
did not recognize the work of the Holy of the Joint Declaration reads, "We con 1 For the full text of the Joint Declaration on
Spirit, but the teachings on the act of fess together that good worksa the Doctrine of Justification, see <http://
justification focused on the doing and Christian life lived in faith, hope, and www.elca.org/ea/jddj/>
2 cf. Also paragraphs 13 and 41.
dying of Jesus Christ. Justification was lovefollow justification and are its 3 Council of Trent, 9. The Decree on Justifica
an act of God through Christ for hu fruits." This comes very close to the lan tion can be found at <http://history.hanover.edu/
manity. However, two of the confessions guage and position taken by the early/trent.ct06dl.htm> The Canons on Justifica
tion can be found at <http://history.hanover.edu/
of the Joint Declaration reveal their will Lutherans in the Smalkald Articles. early/trent/ct06jc.htm>
ingness to include the work of the Holy While Catholics have not made this 4 The Table Talk on justification is located at
<http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/table_talk/table_
Spirit in the work of justification. Para kind of shift in other significant areas, talk!4.htm>
graph 15 states, "In faith we together this repositioning is admirable. 5 Apology of the Augsberg Confession, 4. Text
hold the conviction that justification is An admirable and significant effort for this document is located at <http://www.
ctsfw.edu/etext/boc/ap/>
the work of the triune God." The six has been made in the Joint Declaration ' Joint Declaration, chapter 8. This language
teenth-century Lutherans would not to heal a long-time open wound. Dif of the "root" of justification is found in the JD 1.10,
have denied this, but because the work ferences on the teaching of justification where it says, "In Christ's death and resurrection
all dimensions of his saving work have their roots."
the Holy Spirit was commonly thought between these two communities of faith 7 Both the Lutherans and Catholics claimed
of as an ongoing work in us, rather than remain. These differences may never be to have the support of Scripture and tradition, but
the texts each chose were ones which they felt sup
an act of God through Jesus Christ for resolved. But the two parties are "com ported their position. However, very little exegesis
us, it would not have occurred to them mitted to continued and deepened is done in these documents.
to use this language.
Also, paragraph 28 of the Joint Dec
laration reads: "We confess together that
in baptism the Holy Spirit unites one
Why the
with Christ, justifies and truly renews
Did the gospel rest Jesus introduced at His first
the person." While sixteenth-century
advent make the rest of the seventh-day Sabbath of
Lutherans would confess that the Holy
Eden and Sinai obsolete? How does the "new
Spirit brings people to Jesus Christ and
covenant" affect the "old," particularly as it relates to
brings spiritual renewal, the antecedent
the question of law and Sabbath?
for the word "justifies" in this sentence
Why the 7th Day? is a 27-page booklet
is the "Holy Spirit." The teachings of
adaptation and expansion of Will Eva's two well-
the Lutherans in the sixteenth century
\ received Ministry editorial articles on this topic.
made it abundantly clear that it was the
The trim pamphlet format makes the material
perfect obedience and the propitiatory
more accessible and convenient for study and
death of Jesus Christ that made justifi
distribution.
cation possible and available. There is
1-25 copies = us$3.00 each
no indication in their teachings that the
26-50 copies = us$2.00 each
Holy Spirit justifies.
51+ copies = us$1.00 each .
Finally, the words "impute," (with
Prices include shipping
one exception in paragraph 22) "de
clare," and "by faith alone" are missing Resource Center 4- General Conference Ministerial Association
from the Joint Declaration. The Lutheran
12501 Old Columbia Pike + Silver Spring, MD 20904
teachings on justification in the sixteenth
Phone: 1-888-771-0738 (toll-free) or 301-680-6508 4- Fax: 301-680-6502
century were full of references to God
E-mail: paynec@gc.adventist.org 4- Web site: www.ministerialassociarion.com
"declaring us righteous" and God "im

Ministry/November 2000 25
rT n
!

\
j
Ill l l
ii taDO?
R ecent reinvestigation into the Branch Davidian tragedy of 1993 in Waco,
Texas, has something to say to Christians.

Paul Fisher is a pastor


in the Southern New
England Conference.
According to Professor James Ta
bor, one factor in the disaster was the
failure of the U.S. federal agencies to
faith with its assertion of the imminent
second coming of Jesus Christ. The
trend has been to allegorize and spiri
comprehend and take seriously the tualize the Apocalypse in order to
apocalyptic beliefs of the Davidians. 1 render its message more palatable to a
Aberrant and extreme as the Davidian contemporary Christianity.
beliefs were, this failure on the part of In more recent times, the Apoca
the government is part of a larger cul lypse has been subjected to the probing
tural failure to come to grips with the critical enquiry of the therapist. It has
power of the Apocalypse. taken its place on the couch in our
The Apocalypse is a dynamic and, therapy-oriented culture. Beginning
as history shows, a dangerous revolution with Sigmund Freud, with his classic
ary document. Unfortunately, the case study of Daniel Paul Schreber, the
misguided radical use of the Apocalypse apocalyptic idea of the end of history
by extreme groups often provides an easy has become associated with schizophre
target for those who wish to minimize nia.2 According to classic psychoanalytic
its biblical and historical value. interpretation, the doctrine of the end
The book of Revelation has long of the world is simply the projection of
been marginalized within the Christian interpersonal chaos and confusion onto
church. Although it is part of the ca the external world. The Apocalypse is
nonical text of Scripture, it has been diagnosed as little more than a personal
viewed since the time of Augustine as crisis projected by the imagination onto
something of an embarrassment to the a screen of global and cosmic propor-

PAUL FISHER

26 Ministry/November 2000
tions. Such criticism has done much to lyptic patient is not in as bad a condition current intellectual and cultural climate.
undermine confidence in the prophetic as has been diagnosed? Could it be that We must persuade our Freudian-
and apocalyptic portions of the Bible the pathology is in the critic and not in resonant culture that the final book of
during the last century. the one on the couch? Is it possible to the Bible embodies a healthy way of
It is hard to imagine a better strat convince our culture that the Apocalypse thinking and feeling.
egy to marginalize the Word of God in a is not a marginal and substandard way The message of the book of Revela
therapeutic culture than to equate truth of thinking but instead is a fundamen- tion does not make its hearers sick. It is a
with pathology. In much of the therapeu divine source of healing for human pa
tic world, those who uphold apocalyptic thology of all kinds. It presents to our
truth are not merely seen to be intellec view a "tree" whose "leaves" are "for the
tually mistaken, they are pathologically healing (therapeia) of the nations" (Rev.
ill. It would be bad enough if this form
of criticism came only from humanistic,
n 22:2). It not only bears witness to the
existence of a divine source of healing but
secular therapists. Unfortunately, the also actually mediates the blessings of
pathologization of apocalyptic truth has that tree to those who "hear" and "read"
struck a resonant chord in certain sec . .he message of and "keep" its message (1:3). Such hear
tors of the Christian intellectual commu ers, and only such hearers, will not
nity. the Apocalypse is as important participate in violent revolutions or
One popular scholarly study claims doubtful moral actions but will instead
that the Apocalypse is the literary expres for the church today as it ever exhibit the "patience of the saints" in the
sion of first-century Christians' feelings form of a "consistent resistance" to what
of "resentment" and "envy" toward their has been. Because this message is evil and destructive (14:12). The mind
rich and prosperous Roman neighbors.3 that is fortified with apocalyptic truth is
So much for the vivid visionary truth is often perceived as marginal intellectually and morally equipped to
about the justice of God against the op discern error and to resist the forces of
and even dangerous and
pressor in the Apocalypse. So much for injustice that threaten to rend the social
the canonical book of Revelation as a text because, in the hands of and personal fabric of our lives.
gleaming with transcendent redemptive The heart of the message of the
meaning for the oppressed people of irresponsible practitioners, the Apocalypse is the conquest of evil by
God. Such a psychological-critical read the redeeming power of God. "And they
ing seems to align itself with the pathologization of apocalyptic overcame him by the blood of the Lamb
oppressor. It continues to stigmatize and and by the word of their testimony, and
marginalize the oppressed apocalyptic truth is a reality, pastors must they did not love their lives to the death"
community just as surely as did Rome in (12:11). The Lamb is the apocalyptic
the prime of its power, when Revelation be prepared to recognize and symbol of the self-sacrifice of Jesus
was written to encourage the small flocks Christ on the cross. Thus, for apocalyp
of Christians throughout her borders.
meet such challenges. This is a tic believers, love that manifests itself
The recent trend to view martyrdom reality that we must resist with in self-sacrifice is understood to be the
as a form of masochism4 is another ex absolute bedrock of the moral govern
ample of the pathologization of apoca all the moral and intellectual ment of God's universe. If that message
lyptic truth. On the couch of the is pathological, then the whole of Scrip
therapist, those who courageously "loved power that God has given us. ture must be subject to the same
not their lives unto death" are trans diagnosis. But most people instinctively
formed into sick souls with deep dys sense that such love is not pathological
functions. at all but is intensely therapeutic and
Examples of this pathologization beneficial. Pastors must become adept
of apocalyptic truth could be multi at playing this loving chord of the
plied. But it is enough to notice the tally Christian and noble expression? Apocalypse for all it is worth.
trend. Could it be true that the apocalyptic The damage is done when people
worldview is actually an indication of create speculative and imaginative angles
Revelation, a book of healing spiritual health as opposed to a sign of on some of the Apocalyptic symbols and
How can the church in general and psychological dysfunction? I would sug disproportionately or excessively empha
the pastor in particular respond to this gest that this is an essential part of the size these while excluding the paramount
psychotherapeutic challenge to the constructive and evangelistic task of the symbol of the Lamb. This tilts the truth
Apocalypse? Is it possible that the apoca Christian and Adventist pastor in the and thrusts those involved into a detri-

Ministry/November 2000 27
mental view and use of the book of Rev call, the diagnosis was essentially the against judgment and justice in our
elation. cure! A similar phenomenon is noted by present to the Apocalyptic scene. Then,
With this in mind, as we preach the Ariel Roth who draws attention to the rather than rejoicing in God's justice
Apocalypse we must recognize and in mechanism of "intellectual phase lock against evil we transfer our feelings of
sist that pathology is not in the Apoca ing" by which scientists often overlook aversion to the unjust situations about
lypse itself but is rather in the mind of (or stop looking for) evidence that would us to the way God is described as han
the one who reads or misreads the counter a favored hypothesis.7 dling judgment in the book of
Apocalypse. Psychologist and biblical This capacity for selective attention Revelation. This helps to explain why op
interpreter Cedric Johnson says that and "intellectual phase locking" could pressed peoples, who have experienced
"biblical data are sometimes distorted lead to an unbalanced and potentially real in-your-face evil, do not seem to be
through the spectacles of our personal harmful view of the symbolism of the as troubled by apocalyptic justice as oth
ity."5 He mentions a number of ways in Apocalypse. For example, a preoccupa ers who have not had such experience.9
which the human mind may corrupt a tion with the apocalyptic images of evil
healthy understanding of the Word of (beasts, dragons, false prophets) might Conclusion
God.6 1 will focus briefly on three that lead to a fortress mentality that would The message of the Apocalypse is
are particularly relevant to the misin hinder loving social contact. As Dietrich as important for the church today as it
terpretation of the apocalyptic message Bonhoeffer observed, "The complete ever has been. Because this message is
of Revelation: reaction formation, se fulfillment of its mission will always be often perceived as marginal and even
lective attention, and transference. gravely endangered if the congregation dangerous and because, in the hands of
supposes itself too directly to be placed irresponsible practitioners, the path-
Misinterpretation of Revelation in the situation of Revelation 13."8 To ologization of apocalyptic truth is a re
Reaction formation is essentially a read prematurely present experience in ality, pastors must be prepared to
defense mechanism against anxiety. For the light of eschatological conflict could recognize and meet such challenges.
example, the strong preaching of a par lead to the withdrawal and isolation of This is a reality that we must resist with
ticular preacher against sexual sin may the believing community from a world all the moral and intellectual power that
appear in retrospect to be a fear-reaction that desperately needs the salt of Chris God has given us.
against his own sexual impulses. Isn't it tian grace. As preachers of the Apocalypse, we
true that our antennae are often raised Transference happens when, based need to regularly and systematically
by those whom we perceive to "protest on past feelings and experiences, a per unpack its "healing" message for our
too loudly"? Another example of reac son reacts to a current situation or listeners. As pastors, we must regularly
tion formation might be the professor individual. For example, a member of and systematically apply its wisdom to
who raises the volume of his voice as a the church may transfer their hostile the anxieties of those who come to us
substitute for the self-perceived weakness feelings toward a parent onto the pas for counsel. Although viewed from the
of his argument. What psychological fac tor in the counseling process. Or a couch of the psychotherapist the
tors might lead to the strong reaction of person may react negatively to the pas Apocalypse might appear dangerous
our culture against the apocalyptic truth tor as an authority-figure based entirely and disturbing, from the pulpit the
of Scripture? Is it possible that the long- on previous negative experiences with message of the book of Revelation
lived desire to negate the message of the encountered authority-figures. should shine forth in all its transcen
Apocalypse is in reality a way to mini Is it possible for the same kind of dent therapeutic glory!
mize our personal and societal fears of transference dynamic to be present and
the end of the world? Is it possible that operative in the mind of a person as they
1 James Tabor is professor in the Religious Studies De
even apocalyptic believers do not study come to Scripture? For example, most of partment at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He
was involved in negotiations with David Koresh to surren
the prophecies because they are reacting us probably are not completely comfort der to the FBI. For a complete statement of his view of the
to the anxieties and fears that such sub- able with the apocalyptic depictions of Waco crisis available on the World Wide Web: gopher://
ccat.sas.upenn.edu/00/Archive/Religion/Koresh/
jects might evoke in them? Such judgment found in Revelation. It seems Koresh%20Perspective
tendencies may well lead to a misinter that this discomfort could be, to a large 2 Ulrich H. J. Kortner, The End of the World: A Theo
logical Interpretation, trans. Douglas W. Stott (Louisville, Ky.:
pretation or depreciation of a book of the degree, based upon our past exposure to Westminster John Knox, 1995), 47.
3 Adela Yarbro Collins, Crisis and Catharsis: The Power
Bible such as the book of Revelation. human judgment and justice in our of the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1984), 144.
Selective attention is the simple hu present life and culture. Our immediate 4 David L. Barr, "The Apocalypse as a Symbolic Trans
formation of the World: A Literary Analysis," Interpretation:
man ability to screen information. For society maybe full of expressions of op A Journal of Bible and Theology 3& (1984), 42.
5 Cedric B. Johnson, The Psychology of Biblical Inter
example, when my sister was a child, position to the death penalty, for pretation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), 43.
mom took her to the doctor because of a example. So when we read the visionary 6 Ibid., 41-66.
7 Ariel Roth, Origins: Linking Science and Scripture
hearing problem. After checking her, the accounts of God's judgment against the (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1998), 294.
doctor said, "Her ears are fine; she seems wicked in the Apocalypse, we automati * Kortner, 226.
9 Allan Boesak, Comfort and Protest: Reflections on the
to hear only what she wants to." As I re cally transfer our feelings and reactions Apocalypse ofJohn ofPatmos (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987).

28 Ministry/November 2000
P A-S T O R ' S PASTOR

AI lv
re you ready
1 to die?"
Lwhen my
Ready decisions if you are incapacitated. A
"living will" can also determine the
quality and extent of care that you will
colleague and
long-time friend,
Harold Baasch,
to die? receive and can specifically instruct
what you wish to happen should death
come.
confronted me Lead by example. Responsible
JAMES A. CRESS
with this question, pastoral leadership will encourage
I initially thought he was enquiring Every person already has a every church member toward appro
about my salvation. will. If you think you do not have a priate planning. You cannot expect
My response was quick and will, please understand that you your members to make better
blessedly happy, "I love the Lord and I nevertheless have one. The govern decisions than you personally make.
know He loves me. Yes, I think I'm ment has made it for you, and your You will speak with much more
ready to die. But I wouldn't choose property, finances, children, and estate credibility and persuasiveness if you
this afternoon." will be handled according to the outline the steps you have taken to
"No," Harold insisted, "are you wishes of the legal system regardless plan for your own family's future.
really prepared to die? Do you have of your undocumented intentions. Select competent assistance.
your affairs in order if you were to Your children need you to Request guidance from trust services
die?" Then he began to share the pain provide for their security. It is leaders in your union or conference or
of his brother-in-law's recent death and your responsibility as parents to select select competent legal counsel to
the importance of having our personal, appropriate care-givers for your prepare the documents necessary to
business, and family arrangements children should tragedy leave them assure that your instructions will be
made in such a manner that any of us orphans. Otherwise, the courts will fulfilled. Also, consider how your
could be ready to die. Spirituality may designate their guardians. When you estate may bless God's work and
be the most important preparation for consider who to choose as guardians hasten Christ's coming.
death, but other concerns are abso for your children, consider someone Plan today as if you will live
lutely necessary as well. who will be of appropriate health and forever. Include appropriate
During those difficult days and in age (perhaps not your own parents) to retirement and savings plans as if you
the weeks to follow, Harold has undertake the responsibility of raising will live to a ripe old age and will need
encouraged a number of individuals children. Select believers who hold to secure your security as you age.
to check the status of various issues similar values and who either have Remember that insurance is not the
because none of us know when we sufficient resources or to whom you risky, unregulated business that it
will die. Here are some of the issues will provide resources through your previously was when wise counsel
that he has raised and their impor will. Request permission of prospective directed avoidance of it.
tance for us as ministers and for those guardian designees and consider their Live today as if your life
whom we pastor. current proximity to your family in could end at any moment. I'm
Planning today does not order for them to become acquainted constantly amazed at those who
hasten your death. If you make with your children now. project dates or speculate about the
appropriate plans for the future well- Provide for your own medical timing of Christ's return, but ignore
being of your family when you are no choices. Both you and your spouse the reality that our lives could
longer present, your death will not should provide a power of attorney to tragically conclude in a moment.
come more quickly. the other, which specifies your personal Remember William Miller's commit
Avoiding planning does not intentions should a medical emergency ment after the Great Disappointment,
demonstrate faith. Some people occur. Some individuals do not want "Today, and today, and today."
mistakenly believe they are acting in extraordinary, heroic measures taken to Submit your life afresh to your
faith when they refuse to consider the prolong life in case of tragedy while Saviour each day, asking His will to be
future and "just leave everything in others may desire every life-extending done in and through your life and
God's hands." This is neither God's procedure possible. Physicians will have family. Then, to answer that essential
will nor God's way. The first rule of no legal authority to carry out your query from my friend, Harold, you
heaven is order, and our Lord expects wishes unless you provide that through will be ready to die.
us to follow His own example in a medical power of attorney, which More importantly, you will be
planning. allows your spouse to make those prepared to live!

Ministry/November 2000 29
hundred numbered reference spaces interspersed between family presenta
can be increased indefinitely to meet tions. Often we fear what we do not
Effective Church Growth the unique needs of each individual understand. The purpose of this
Strategies, by Gene Getz and Joe user throughout their lifetime. service is to explain how and why
Wall. Dallas: Word Books, 2000. This Blue Edition is printed on certain traditions exist. It also makes
Hardcover, 262 pages. US$21.99. high quality paper in a durable people from all backgrounds feel
The book attempts to answer professional binder. At $48.95 (plus loved and accepted.
some basic questions regarding the shipping and handling), it costs less The service ends with a rich,
Church in our times: Why do we exist than it did 15 years ago. In addition to warm feeling of unity since all have
as a Church? How should we function all the features found in earlier come together for the same pur
in a changing culture? How do we versions, the new edition is: (1) less poseto worship the Christ of
differentiate between absolutes and bulkyit can stand upright on a Christmas.Douglas R. Rose, pastor,
non-absolutes? bookshelf; (2) more portableeasy to Grand Prairie, Texas.
The authors base their answers take to the library and meetings; and
on sound biblical principles. They (3) flat when openimportant for The Sabbath School teacher:
provide helpful criteria in areas such making entries. How to make your class grow
as measuring church growth, church To order, write to Northland Your Sabbath School class is an
planting, the necessity of member Books, Box 63, Allendale, Michigan important part of your local church
participation, and character qualifica 49401; Phone: 616-847-9403; email: body. Most churches experience growth
tions of leaders. <whenindoubt@novagate.com> through an effective Sabbath School
As a pastor, I appreciated their program. Why? Because Sabbath
emphasis on wise planning and Online SDA forums School meets an important spiritual,
thoughtful strategizing without As you may be aware, the mental, emotional, and social need in a
sacrificing or neglecting the super CompuServe and Internet SDA forums direct way. But just having a Sabbath
natural working of the Holy Spirit. closed on June 15,2000. But there are School program isn't enough. It is
Our dependence must be on the Holy alternatives. "Volunteer Online important to understand ways in which
Spirit while laying plans, yet submit Adventist forum" (<www.Online- the program can contribute to church
ting them to His leading.Bonita}. adventist.org>) was the first one to growth.
Shields, associate pastor, Spencerville come online and is designed like the Perhaps the most basic way to
Seventh-day Adventist Church, Silver Internet Adventist forum and has the achieve church growth is through the
Spring, Maryland. freest discussion groups, as long as one growth of the classes themselves. This
is courteous, that is. growth can take place in two ways:
The second site is a little different numerically and spiritually. Let's
with some different discussion fields explore some ways your class can grow
Baker's Textual and Topical added: <www.Clubadventist.com>. in number and in spiritual maturity.
Filing System Bruce Nelson, via email. Numerical growth:
The premier filing system for 1. Through visitation. Follow up
pastors and theologians for the past Cultural diversity day on visitors or prospects with a
40 years is available once again. Even One of our favorite holiday personal visit. Oftentimes, visitors are
in this computer age, the Baker season services is when we schedule forgotten after they leave. A personal
System continues to be in demand. Christmas Around the World. We visit will make a great impression on
Without booting, it is instantly invite several different cultures the visitor (prospect).
available for making entries and for represented in the church member If you do not regularly have
locating subjects in your personal ship to prepare a "show and tell," visitors, invite your unit (class)
library and filing cabinet. It is as fast, ten-minute segment of a Christmas members to write names of people
simple, and convenient to use as your custom from their native homeland. they know who may be prospects.
little paper address book. They also dress in native costume Encourage unit members to secure
This new edition (called the Blue and read the nativity story in their the prospects' names and addresses or
Edition) has the same complete textual native language. Special seasonal phone numbers. Follow these with a
and topical index that has proven to be songs are sung as well. The congrega phone contact and personal visit.
invaluable for the Baker System. Its five tion sings appropriate carols 2. Through student contacts.

30 Ministry/November 2000
Although your contact is important,
nothing can be more meaningful than
for a prospect to receive an invitation
from a friend. Encourage your class
members to invite their friends and
acquaintances to Sabbath School. One
way to do this is to write notes or
letters of invitation and enclose a copy
of the Sabbath School lesson study
booklet as a love gift.
3. Through transportation
arrangements. If you come across
prospects who have no means of
getting to Sabbath School, check with
your Sabbath School superintendent
about possible arrangements. It may
mean expending a little of your own
effort to see that those prospects have
a ride to Sabbath School. You can be
sure, however, that the effort will be
worthwhile. Please begin/continue my subscription to Elder's Digest
Q One year; payment of us$9.95 enclosed
Spiritual growth:
Q Three years; payment of us$24.95 enclosed
1. Through personal prayer and
commitment. The spiritual level of a Please type or print:
church cannot rise any higher than
that of its pastor. Perhaps the same
could apply to the Sabbath School Name
class-teacher, for you are, in effect, the
Mailing Address
"pastor" of a mini-congregation
within the church. Consider how City
much time you presently spend in
personal devotion to God. Are Bible State/Province Zip/Postal Code Country
study and prayer daily practices in
your life? Are you striving to grow
spiritually? These are extremely To subscribe, send a check/money order or
important questions that directly credit card number w/expiration date to:
Elder's Digest Subscriptions 4- Ministerial Association Resource Center
affect not only your spiritual growth
12501 Old Columbia Pike + Silver Spring, MD 20904
but the growth of your class as well.
Phone: 888.771.0738 (toll-free) or 301.680.6508
Spiritual growth and maturity enable Fax: 301.680.6502 -f E-mail: paynec@gc.adventist.org
you to teach under the guidance of Web: www.ministerialassociation.com
the Holy Spirit. His presence makes
the difference between the true
ministry and just going through the that will help meet those needs. follow Christ and then take the
motions week after week. 3. Through discipling. Our necessary steps toward that goal.
2. Through earnest prayer for highest goal as Christians is to Consider these principles
your class. Don't let a week pass become like the Master, Jesus Christ. prayerfully and apply them to your
without spending time in prayer for Helping students (action unit class) class. You will help build and
your class. Name your students grow and mature spiritually is a major strengthen your class and the lives of
individually as you pray. Ask the Holy aim of Christian education. Therefore, the students to whom you minister.
Spirit to help you understand their it is important to help your students Isaac Sarfo, pastor, Wiamosai,
spiritual needs and minister in a way both understand what it means to Ashanti, Ghana, West Africa. I

Ministry/November 2000 31
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