Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the International Lutheran Council (ILC) to Hold Informal International Dialogue
Vatican City, Rome, 18 November 2013 – The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the International Lutheran Council (ILC), an organization for the purpose of encouraging, strengthening, and promoting confessional Lutheran theology, met to discuss the possibility of extending local and regional informal discussions into an
informal ecumenical dialogue process on the international level. The meeting between the PCPCU and the ILC primarily occurred after several informal discussions between some ILC members and Roman Catholic organizations resulted in positive outcomes, especially those held between the Lutheran Theological Seminary Oberursel (http://www.lthh-oberursel.de) of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) (www.selk.de) and the Johann-Adam-Möhler Institute for Ecumenism (http://www.moehlerinstitut.de/) in Paderborn, Germany. Other informal discussions that contributed to the meeting between the PCPCU and the ILC included those held between The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (http://www.lcms.org) and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, and those between Lutheran Church Canada (LCC) (www.lutheranchurch.ca) and representatives of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Dicastery, and MonsignoreDr. Matthias Türk represented the PCPCU. Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, Chairman, Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Executive Sectary, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, Vice-chairman, and Prof. Dr. Werner Klän, Lutheran Theological Seminary Oberursel, represented the ILC.
The discussion had three primary points: A Presentation of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) including its history and priorities, Ecumenical Relations between ILC members and the Roman Catholic Church, and Future Ecumenical Goals.
After a productive discussion, it was proposed that the local and regional informal discussions may be extended to an informal international dialogue process between the ILC and the Roman Catholic Church. These international series of consultations would be delegated to the ILC executive committee and to the Johann-Adam-Möhler Institute for Ecumenism. The goals of these discussions would be to define more unity between the churches represented by the ILC and the Roman Catholic Church and to offer a deeper understanding of the work already accomplished by the Lutheran – Roman Catholic dialogue on the international and regional level.
Cardinal Koch and Bishop Voigt expressed gratitude for the meeting and looked forward to a deepening of relationships between member churches of the ILC and the Roman Catholic Church.
The ILC and the Johann-Adam-Möhler Institute for Ecumenism after an organizational meeting, propose to hold two meetings a year for the next three years with the results of these discussions to be presented to the PCPCU.
About the International Lutheran Council
The ILC is a worldwide association of established confessional Lutheran church bodies, consisting of 34 member churches, which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God. (http://www.ilc-online.org)
About the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
The Pontifical Council is entrusted with the promotion of Christian Unity. It carries out this task in liaison with the various departments of the Roman Curia and through ecumenical relationships and theological dialogues with the other Christian Churches and ecclesial Communities on the world wide level. (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/)
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After spending time in Wittenberg, Germany, there was opportunity to visit the headquarters of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) in Hannover. SELK is a partner church with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and also a member of the International Lutheran Council (ILC).
Bishop Voigt presented me with Preußische Union, lutherisches Bekenntnis und Prägungen, (Prussian Union, Lutheran Confession and Mould), which is the history of the independent Lutheran Church in Germany. It also is a part of the Missouri Synod’s history, as it tells the story of Walther’s allies in Germany. This common history is part of the bond that connects the LCMS and SELK together as sisters.
Bishop Voigt also shared his book, Lutherisch Abendmahl feiern (Celebrating the Lord’s Supper as Lutheran). The book is framed around the theme: Prayers and reflections in preparation for the Holy Communion (Gebete und Betrachtungen zur Vorbereitung auf das heilige Abendmahl). Among the “reflections” provided by the book:
1. What I’ve always wanted to know about the Lord’s Supper. (Was ich schon immer mal vom Abendmahl wissen wollte). This section included questions such as “How long does the body and blood of Christ remain in the bread and wine?”, “Do Lutherans believe in the change [of the elements from bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ]?”, “Can a person adore / venerate the body and blood of Christ?” and so forth.
2. Christ in me — Reflections concerning Christ being with me (Christus in mir – Betrachtung über den mitgehenden Christus).
The booklet is very helpful and might be translated for use among ILC members.
- Posted by Dr Albert Collver on 17 November 2013 using BlogPress from my iPhone
Rev. Martin Junge, the General Secretary of LWF
Rev. Dr. Nicholas Tai, Dean of Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong
OKR Norbert Denecke, LWF German National Committee
Rev. Dr. Kaisamari Hintikka, LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations
Rev. Dr. Carlos Bock, the Director of LWF Department for Mission and Development
Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt, ILC Chairman
Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, ILC Executive Secretary
President Rev. James Cerdeñola
President Rev. Gijsbertus van Hattem
Both the LWF and ILC are honoring the commitment they made for the executive committees of each organization to meet with one another as agreed in the memorandum of understanding from 3 March 2005.
Both the LWF and ILC thanked one another and appreciated the frank conversation and transparency shown in the discussion. Both agreed that the conversation was valuable and looks forward to the next opportunity to gather. A desire was expressed to meet annually. The LWF will host the next meeting in Geneva on January 14, 2015.
The Old Latin School was built 18 years after Martin Luther’s death. The book How Wittenberg Looked when Luther Lived describes the Old Latin School: “Eighteen years after Luther’s death the situation changed insofar as under Mayor Heilinger, the father-in-law of Luther’s son Martin, a new boys’ school was built in the northwestern corner of the church square, thus replacing the old ossuary. It still exists today as the old high school (now Wattrodt’s print shop), not, however, after having undergone many changes. – After this building was finished, the old girls’ school was torn down and moved to the former boys’ school which was called girls’ school from then on. This caused some confusion among researchers who were unaware of this change.”
The top photo shows the exposed wood beam from the Old Latin School. The historic records note that Bible verses and sections of the Small Catechism were written on the beams and exterior walls of the school. The lower photo shows what the reconstruction might look like. This photo is near Luther’s house, the old Augustinian Monastery.
We also visited the Luther Garden near the Castle Church, which is under reconstruction.
- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver on 14 November 2013 using BlogPress from my iPhone
Today, while visiting Wittenberg, Germany, for an International Lutheran Council (ILC) meeting I had the opportunity to visit the Old Latin School being renovated by The Wittenberg Project. Rev. David Mahsman, an LCMS missionary,
is the project director for the International Lutheran Society of Wittenberg (ILSW), a RSO of the Missouri Synod, and is a joint venture between the LCMS,
The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) and Concordia Publishing House.
The Old Latin School is adjacent to Saint Mary’s City Church in Wittenberg. Saint Mary’s is the church where Martin Luther served as preacher in addition to his duties at Wittenberg University. The Old Latin School was built in 1565 over top of the bone yard for Saint Mary’s Church. Because of this the discovery of bones in the archeological excavation is not surprising.
The top photo shows the refuse being removed and dumped out of the third floor window. The lower picture is of an exposed beam from the original construction of the building. It is quite likely that as was the custom of the day that the beam would have been painted with a Bible verse or a section of the Small Catechism.
Right now it appears as if much of Wittenberg is under construction as people prepare for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Pictured above is the Prussian Tower in protective wrap that was added to the Castle Church where Martin Luther placed the 95 Theses in 1517.
Today, 11 November 2013, is fitting to visit Wittenberg as it is the baptismal birthday of Martin Luther, christened on 11 November 1483 and named after Martin of Tours. It was great to see the progress of the Wittenberg Project and the beginning of the restoration of the Old Latin School.
- Posted by Rev. Dr. Albert B Collver, Director of Church Relations, on 11 November 2013 using BlogPress from my iPhone.
And for this reason He assumed our nature, that in that nature, which was under the Law, satisfaction and fulfillment might be made. —Martin Chemnitz
The Fall is a time to celebrate. Many say that Fall is their favorite season. (It is mine.) The leaves change from shades of green to vibrant yellow, red, and orange; cool afternoons have replaced the midday heat of summer and kitchens fill with the delightful aroma of dinners prepared with love and care. That is Fall at its best.
But, the fall can mean something entirely different; something much less appealing. The fall is a universal tragedy, and it has consequences for all humanity. Mankind’s fall is marked by sin, death, and separation. This fall is an ugly plague upon humanity, and unlike the season, it does not pass with time. It is an eternal reality.
Stuck in the grips of the fall, humanity attempts to cope by various means to assuage the reality. Most notably, they ignore it. They live in the consequences of the fall ignorant of the truth; yet, something very real pierces their fantasies. It is the law.
The law makes its presence known through ruthless and persistent truth telling. A glaring mirror provides a strong dose of reality. Standing naked before the law every man, woman, and child is condemned. They are hopelessly guilty. Every indiscretion, every evil thought, every malicious intention sinks the sinner deeper into despair. Their fantasy crashes into hopelessness.
The law has driven them to the end of their delusions. Thanks be to God that there is more to reality and truth than sin, death, and hell. There is hope in the Savior.
God brings another truth to the fallen. He brings forgiveness, peace, and eternal life. As St. Paul writes to the Romans,
“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This message of hope in the atoning work of Christ is for all sinners.
There is cause for celebrating. Not a celebration of fantasy but of reality, a reality that proclaims liberty to those in the grips of sin through Christ’s atonement alone. They have been baptized and washed in the waters of redemption. In this they have comfort for theirs is the Kingdom of God, an eternal reality. Now every day, every moment is a cause for celebration for there is justification apart from works of the law. Just as St. Paul wrote,
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Gregory K. Williamson
Chief Mission Officer