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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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4 From Luther to the Mission Field: Transmitting the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone to the LCCN

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← 70 | 71 → 4

From Luther to the Mission Field

Transmitting the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone to the LCCN

4.1 Introduction

In the previous chapter the views of St. Paul, St. Augustine and Martin Luther on the doctrine of justification by faith were discussed. First, it was argued that they approached this doctrine from the context of their audience, in doing so; they departed from exclusionist religious practices of elevating doctrine above the heads of common people, keeping them at a distance from and at the mercy of the keepers of religious knowledge (the clergy). Instead, St. Paul, St. Augustine and Luther were concerned about the interests of their audiences; as such they addressed their lived experiences. Second, the chapter noted that their approach enhanced intercultural communication of the message of justification, especially in the case of St. Paul. Third, it was argued that they used translation to interpret and transmit the doctrine of justification by faith. In the current chapter an examination of the passing down of justification by faith alone from Luther to the LCCN Gongola Diocese will be explored.

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