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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

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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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3 Missional Journey of Justification by Faith Alone from St. Paul to Martin Luther

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Missional Journey of Justification by Faith Alone from St. Paul to Martin Luther

3.1 Introduction

In the previous chapter three tools that could be used to create an informed interpretation and understanding of justification by faith alone were discussed. The theories are: gospel and culture in dialogue, translatability and contextual theological education. In the course of the discussion I found that these tools are not only capable of doing that, but that they can also enhance appropriation of the doctrine in the lived experiences of LCCN followers.

This chapter seeks to examine the missional journey of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. In this examination I focus on three key church fathers: St. Paul, St. Augustine and Martin Luther. These personalities were chosen based on the following reasons. First, St. Paul has discussed the issue of justification by faith more extensively in the Bible than any other biblical person or author. Second, St. Augustine’s position on the doctrine of justification has played a significant role in the pre-Reformation Catholic Church and to some extent in the understanding of justification by Martin Luther. Third, Martin Luther is directly connected to the context of my study, the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria. The objective of the chapter is to explore the issue of justification1 and justification by faith alone through the lenses of gospel and culture. The chapter also aims to see ← 45 | 46 → how the doctrine of justification...

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