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A Critical Analysis of the Interpretation of the Doctrine of «Justification by Faith Alone» by the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, Gongola Diocese


James J. Reynolds

Within the context of the Lutheran Church in Nigeria, Gongola Diocese, this book examines the issues of the interpretation, transmission, and appropriation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Using contextualization as the main tool in this exploration, James J. Reynolds argues that intercultural communication holds the key to unlocking how effectively and appropriately these three engagements with theology are executed. The Lutheran church, and indeed most Protestant denominations, assert that justification by faith alone is the cardinal doctrine of Christianity. Scholars, however, are concerned that there is a great level of ignorance among members and misappropriation of justification by faith alone in the lives of members of these denominations. To investigate these underlying factors, three theories are used as a framework with which to test the church’s interpretation of this doctrine: gospel and culture in dialogue, translatability, and contextual theological education programmes for the training of both clergy and laity. In order to initiate this process, the gospel and culture must engage in dialogue through a viable and contextual theological education programme for the training of both clergy and the laity. The Lunguda practice of ntsandah provides an ideal entry point for a proper informed interpretation of justification by faith alone. Ultimately, the author argues that the employment of intercultural communication in transmitting the message of justification by faith alone will be successful in helping address this problem.
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Advance praise for A Critical Analysis of the Interpretation of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone by the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, Gongola Diocese


“Justification by faith alone is a pivotal Lutheran—and Protestant—doctrine. But to what extent has this doctrine resonated in the African context? In this significant study the Nigerian Lutheran theologian James J. Reynolds examines how this doctrine has been received in his Lutheran church in Nigeria. He argues that the doctrine of justification by faith alone should be contextualized into the Nigerian context to make it more understandable for the ordinary African. This book opens an interesting window into the theological life of an African mainline church.”

Timothy Palmer, Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Bukuru, Nigeria

“Ecclesia semper reformanda est—the Church must always reform—was one of the cardinal principles of the evangelical reformation. This profound academic work proves this statement to be true. At the heart of this book is a strong conviction that the Christian gospel and the Lutheran doctrines constantly need to be rediscovered and reinterpreted in every time and cultural context. The issues raised are very crucial for understanding the Christian gospel not only in Nigeria but all over the world. The content should be made the key component in the curriculum for training all pastors, evangelists, and church workers. In every section and chapter in this book, I sense solid work by a theologian who is also a committed disciple and lover of the Church of Jesus Christ. It deserves to be reflected upon by all leaders within the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, by all...

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