Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When We realize that Our Position on an Issue is not the Only One: A Lesson in Humility

When we realize that our position is not the only one, we must take a bite of humble pie. #Apology is a step toward #humility.

Let me first apologize for voicing my prior concern, and I thank you for taking the time to write me back.  Words' emphases matter and make a significant difference in the message they convey. And you are right: In faith, we can't say heaven is a sure thing. This is a presumptive statement that imagines God’s forgiveness without our cooperation, repentance, and response in love.
Believe it or not, I have spent a significant amount of time in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, studying it from cover-to-cover over the past year. This does not, however, make me an expert or even a novice, and it is a document, as you suggest, that needs constant re-reading. Thanks for the reminder. Currently, I am studying the YOUCAT, which is a clear, youth-focused version of the catechism penned by Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn, and I am loving it.
My perspective on the doctrine of grace comes from the Church’s teaching and is rooted in a fresh ecumenical perspective outlined in a document called Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” This document states the following ecumenical agreement between Lutherans and Catholics regarding justification:
In faith we together hold the conviction that justification is the work of the triune God. The Father sent his Son into the world to save sinners. The foundation and presupposition of justification is the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Justification thus means that Christ himself is our righteousness, in which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works. (15)
The document was written and agreed upon in 1999 by the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation. I love its ecumenical scope and how it reconciles Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on grace without changing our teachings. It only presents a new attitude and fresh perspective.

Please accept my apology for taking too much time and typing too many words on this issue. And I am sorry for questioning your message, especially since I misheard several key words. As you know, I love the Lord and his church and take matters of faith to heart. Thank you for making us all laugh and think about our role as witnesses to Christ.