The Vaticanâ€™s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has released a note regarding the association of the Reformed Churches to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), calling the occasion an â€śimportant milestone.â€ť
"Wednesday, 5 July 2017, at Wittenberg in Germany, the place where in 1517 the Reformation began when Luther presented his ninety-five theses against Indulgences, the World Communion of Reformed Churches will join the ecumenical consensus already achieved between Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists on the doctrine of Justification.
... One of the crucial issues of dissent between the Reformers and the authorities of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century is thus being diffused and overcome, making further growth in spiritual and ecclesial communion between the Protestant and Catholic Churches possible.
At an ecumenical prayer service, the leadership of the Communion of Reformed Churches will formally associate with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, in the presence of representatives of the Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic Churches. The Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity will be represented by the Secretary, Bishop Brian Farrell, and Reverend Avelino Gonzalez, official of the Western Section of the dicastery. The event must be seen as another important milestone on the journey towards the full visible unity of Christians; not yet the end of the road but a significant stage on the way."
PERPETUATING THE MYTH
Rome loves toÂ perpetuate this myth â€“ that theÂ Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was a â€śbreakthroughâ€ť between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church. However, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is a fraud. It was a sell-out by revisionist Lutherans to Rome.Â
Therefore today'sÂ event is yet another tragic milestone on the dark road of betrayal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that wasÂ rediscovered and freshly proclaimed in Reformation times.
With this document, the Papacy maintained the historic position of the Roman Church, and did not change it. Mainline liberal Lutherans, however, compromised the key doctrine of the Scriptures and the very heart of the Lutheran Confessions.
CATHOLIC CHURCH CONFIRMS NO CHANGE ON JUSTIFICATION
The Vatican was very careful to make it clear that it has not set aside the Council of Trent and that Trent still remains authoritative, binding dogma for the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christianity Unity, the individual responsible in large part for Romeâ€™s involvement in the Joint Declaration, went out of his way to clarify this point in a press conference held when the JDDJ was signed:
Asked whether there was anything in the official common statement contrary to the Council of Trent, Cardinal Cassidy said: "Absolutely not, otherwise how could we do it? We cannot do something contrary to an ecumenical council. Thereâ€™s nothing there that the Council of Trent condemnsâ€ť (Ecumenical News International, 11/1/99).
TheÂ canons from the Council of TrentÂ clearly indicate that something more than trust in Christ is necessary for salvation:
Canon IX: If anyone says that the ungodly is justified by faith alone in such a way that he understands that nothing else is required which cooperates toward obtaining the grace of justification . . . let him be condemned.
Canon XIV: If anyone says that a man is absolved and justified because . . . he confidently believes that he is absolved and justified . . . and that through this faith alone absolution and justification is effected, let him be condemned.
Plus,Â the Catechism of the Catholic Church still asserts the position of Trent, frequently footnoting Trent in its many discussions of church doctrine (cf. 1394, 1459, 2008, 2025, where penance, good works and the Mass are said to wipe away sin).
LUTHERAN CHURCHES HAVE CAPITULATED, SOLD OUT THE GOSPEL
It is tragic to thinkÂ that these denominations are glorying in theirÂ compromise and sell out of Scripture, right on the very spot where Martin Luther faithfully andÂ fearlessly declared and defended it. They haveÂ dubbed today's document as,Â 'The Wittenberg Witness.' A better description would be, 'The Lutheran Lie.'Â
Rev Ian Brown
Ian Brown succeeded Dr Ian Paisley as minister of Martyrs Memorial in August 2013. Prior to this he pastored the Free Presbyterian congregation in Northern...