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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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1. General Introduction and Background of Study

1.   By doctrine I mean teachings or religious beliefs upheld and expressed by the adherents of that religion or particular religious tradition. In this study the term is used in the context of the Lutheran tradition in connection to justification by faith alone as expressed by adherents of this tradition.

2.   LCCN is the abbreviation for the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria. In this research, from time to time, I will be using it interchangeably with the full rendering.

3.   LCCN Constitution and By-Laws, as amended in 1995, Numan: The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, 1995, p. 79.

4.   The Constitution, 1995, p. 102.

5.   LCCN General Church Council Minutes of November 1970, Ref. 36/70, Yola: LCCN Archives.

6.   LCCN General Church Council Minutes of November 1973, Ref. 65/73, Yola: LCCN

7.   David L. Windibiziri, Bishop’s Speech to the LCCN General Church Council sitting in Numan, December 1991. See also Andrew Kalang, A Brief description of the development concerning the creation of Diocese in LCCN, Numan, 1996, pp. 1–2.

8.   Executive Council Minutes of February 1992 Ref. 18/92 and General Church Council Minutes of May 1982, Ref. 8/92, Numan: LCCN Archives

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