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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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7 Contextual Implication for Theological Education


← 132 | 133 → 7

Contextual Implication for Theological Education

Justification by faith alone is not a threat to morality, but the sworn foe of all forms of self-justification (Taylor 1954: 16).

7.1 Introduction

The previous chapter examined data from the field work to assess the knowledge of and appropriation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone bearing in mind the formal and informal theological education provided to the various groups associated with or belonging to the LCCN. The data revealed among other things that: a) there is lack of proper knowledge of the doctrine among members, b) the theological education programme of the LCCN is clergy centred, c) there is lack of contextual approach in the curriculum of the church’s seminary, d) there is a lack of adequate teaching resources including qualified personnel, e) there is a neglect of the role of mother tongue in the church and f) there is insufficient commitment from the LCCN in transmitting its beliefs and practices to the grassroots. As a result of all these factors, there is an increasing gap or even a clear ← 133 | 134 → contradiction between theory and praxis, formal and informal learning in the lives of LCCN clergy and laity in relation to the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

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