TOWARD TRUE RECONCILIATION
A Comment on Lutheran-Roman Catholic Relations
You may have heard that a declaration was signed that claims to resolve a key
difference between the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church. What you may not
have heard is that more than 45 percent of the Lutheran church-bodies in the world did not
support the declaration.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is the oldest and second-largest Lutheran
church-body in the United States. We would like to explain why we could not support the
We rejoice that we have much in common with our fellow Christians in the Roman Catholic
Church. Because of what we have in common, we are committed to working toward true
reconciliation of our important differences. We could not support the declaration because
it does not actually reconcile the difference between us concerning the most important
truth of Christianity.
What is that truth? God loved the world so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to
live a perfect life in our place and to die for our sins. God declares us to be totally
righteous and completely forgiven because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus
Christ. God gives us eternal life as a free gift through trust in Christ alone.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that something more than trust in Christ is necessary
for us to be saved. It teaches that we are able to merit, through our works, eternal life
for ourselves and others. We believe this teaching obscures the work of Jesus Christ and
clouds the central message of the Bible.
Therefore, despite what has been reported in the public media about the Lutheran-Roman
Catholic declaration, very significant differences remain in regard to how we understand
salvation, a fact that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledges.
We pray for genuine reconciliation of differences among Christians. Our church is
intent on working for the day when the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed with one
voice. We will continue to work toward true reconciliation.
A Statement from the Office of the President
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
1333 South Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63122-7295