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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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5 Research Design: Methodology and Methods

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Research Design

Methodology and Methods

5.1 Introduction

The previous four chapters dealt with background information to the study as well as the relevant literature on the topic, especially that pertaining to the theories underpinning the study. The first chapter introduced the study and discussed the background and context of the study. It also presented the motivations and rationale of the study including the research question: How does the interpretation of justification by faith alone by the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (as an institution) enhance its understanding and appropriation by its members? After that the objectives of the research were given. The second chapter explored the issues of translation, interpretation and appropriation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone using contextualization processes of gospel and culture, translatability and contextual theological education as tools in this exploration. In the third chapter the missional journey of the doctrine of justification by faith alone was examined using the perspectives of three key church fathers: St. Paul, St. Augustine and Martin Luther. St. Paul has discussed the issue of justification by faith more extensively in the Bible than any other person. St. Augustine’s position on the doctrine of justification has played a significant role in the pre-Reformation Catholic Church and to some extent influenced the understanding of Martin Luther. Martin Luther, as the founder of the Lutheran ← 87 | 88 → Church, has a direct bearing on the context of my study, the...

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