Global Lutheran Bodies Commit to Regular Discussions

LWF and ILC representatives at the January 2015 meeting in Geneva. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay
LWF and ILC representatives at the January 2015 meeting in Geneva. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

LWF and ILC Continue Dialogue in Annual Meeting

GENEVA, 28 January 2015 (LWI) – There are “rich fruits to be enjoyed” through direct interaction and regular meetings between The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the International Lutheran Council (ILC), representatives of the two global organizations said following their recent discussions in Geneva.

In a communiqué from the 14 January meeting hosted by the LWF, the participants agreed that the regularity of their meetings has made it possible to have deeper discussions on theological issues and engage in more open dialogue. The two Lutheran bodies have been in ongoing discussions since 2006 and have met four times since 2011, honoring a 2005 memorandum of understanding.

“The regularity of the meetings has provided a space where deeper discussions on theological matters and more open exchange on detected difficulties in the relationships on local and regional levels have become possible,” the LWF and the ILC representatives said.

At the Geneva meeting, the two bodies were represented by four participants each including the co-chairpersons, LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge and ILC Chairman Bishop Hans-Joerg Voigt.

The ILC was established in 1958 as an association of those identifying themselves as confessional Lutheran church bodies that support one another and study theological issues together. Founded in 1947, the LWF communion currently has 144 member churches worldwide.

During their meeting, participants reviewed cases where conflict has arisen between the two Lutheran bodies and agreed to engage in deeper discussion on their respective approaches to issues such as the theology of mission, unity of the church and mutual engagement.

While the LWF and the ILC are at different stages in planning for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the ILC expressed appreciation for the document From Conflict to Communion – Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. The LWF representatives welcomed the ILC’s proposal to engage in a deeper study of the document.

The ILC also indicated it was considering a new approach to study the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed by the LWF and the Vatican in 1999.

The next meeting of LWF and ILC representatives will be held 25-26 February 2016, hosted by the ILC.

Communiqué from the LWF-ILC Meeting