This chapter traces the Anglican commitment to, and involvement in, the ecumenical movement from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, particularly as reflected in resolutions of successive Lambeth Conferences from 1867 to 2008. It highlights the classic statement of the Anglican ecumenical vision given by the 1920 Lambeth Conference, centred on the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and the Appeal to All Christian People that the Conference issued. It considers various ecumenical developments with Anglican participation in the 1940s and 1950s and records major doctrinal agreements reached in bilateral and multilateral dialogues particularly from the 1970s onwards, as well as new stages of closer communion entered into with a number of ecumenical partners at regional levels. Increasingly, a commitment to an ecumenism of action is becoming a dominant feature of today’s ecumenical movement, although doctrinal conversations continue to search for the agreement in faith that is required and sufficient for visible unity.
Steven R. Harmon
While the Baptist tradition has not always been associated with ecumenical engagement in the minds of its observers or of Baptists themselves, this chapter highlights the overt and implicit ecumenical commitments that historically have marked this free church tradition. These include the congregational interdependence that is a dimension of Baptist ecclesiology, Baptist participation in the institutions of the modern ecumenical movement, Baptist participation in formal ecumenical dialogue, Baptist involvement in church union discussions, and the manner in which the Baptist tradition has received various aspects of other Christian traditions. The chapter proposes that the paradigm of receptive ecumenism reframes Baptist identity as being more ecumenically open than previously appreciated and has the potential to encourage new forms of Baptist contribution to ecumenical convergence.
This chapter discusses charismatic renewal within Anglicanism. It begins with a brief description of charismatic Christian spirituality and its roots. The charismatic renewal movements of the 1960s and their Pentecostal origins, in the US and Britain, and their impact on Episcopal and Anglican churches are reviewed. Tensions between those within these renewal movements and the established churches are discussed. The chapter includes an overview of charismatic Christianity around the globe, and of the forms of worship and theology generally associated with charismatic renewal.
William G. Rusch
This chapter describes how Lutheranism has viewed, responded to, and contributed to the ecumenical movement. It defines the nature of Lutheranism and the ecumenical movement. It traces the history of the relationship of Lutheranism to other Christians and their churches from the sixteenth until the twenty-first century. Thus it shows how Lutherans developed their views of the unity of the Church and of its importance. The initial response of Lutheranism to the rise of the ecumenical movement in 1910 was one of caution and fear of doctrinal compromise. During the twentieth century, Lutheran reflection about and involvement in all aspects of the ecumenical movement increased dramatically. One result is that global Lutheranism as represented by the Lutheran World Federation is now a major partner on the ecumenical scene.
David M. Chapman
The chapter investigates the ways in which Methodism, both globally and nationally, has viewed ecumenism theoretically and practically, responded to its challenges and opportunities, and contributed to its development. First, the chapter examines ecumenical method in Methodism and its foundations in Methodist missiology. Secondly, it outlines Methodist/Wesleyan involvement in selected ecumenical bodies (World Methodist Council, World Council of Churches, Global Christian Forum) and relations with other Christian communities, including participation in unity schemes. Thirdly, it surveys Methodism’s international bilateral dialogues respectively with Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutheran, Reformed, Orthodox, and the Salvation Army. Finally, taking stock of the present ecumenical situation, the chapter identifies two methodological issues that require attention from Methodists as they continue to engage in ecumenical activity.
Accounts of Pentecostal ecumenism tend to take two basic shapes. In one, the story of Pentecostal and charismatic ecumenism is subsumed into the wider course of twentieth-century ecumenism, whose centre has been the World Council of Churches. The other regards Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity as an ecumenical movement in its own right, expressed in innumerable informal relationships and recently embodied in the Global Christian Forum. These two popular visions often keep Pentecostals, charismatics, and mainstream ecumenists talking past one another. An inventory of the gifts offered, gifts received, and gifts withheld or rejected among these parties in twentieth- and twenty-first-century ecumenism leads to a different interpretation of their interrelationship. The ecumenical movement at large and Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity itself are both among the renewing tides in Christ’s ecclesial ecumene. The most significant Pentecostal/charismatic contribution to ecumenism may be its own spirit, and vice versa.
Joseph D. Small
This chapter explores the ecumenical paradox found at the heart of the Reformed tradition: outward commitment to ecclesial unity coupled with internal fragmentation. Both sides of the paradox have roots in Reformed characteristics that developed from Calvin’s originating vision. Attention is given to the centrality and ambiguity of Reformed confessions, doctrinal integrity, and conciliar governance. Contemporary developments are examined, including commitment to ecumenical councils, acceptance of popular versions of the ‘invisible church’, and distrust of ‘confessionalism’. The bilateral dialogues between Reformed and Orthodox and Pentecostals, respectively, are presented as positive models for an ecumenical future that is more theological than procedural. Finally, the chapter points to prospects for renewed communion among separated and often alienated churches within the Reformed family.
United and uniting churches have made a very significant contribution to the ecumenical movement. In seeking to assess that contribution, the chapter first defines what these churches are, considers the different types of union that have been created, examines the characteristics of these churches, and looks at the theological rationale for them. It goes on to trace the history of their formation from the beginning of the nineteenth century, and particularly during the years leading up to and following the Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches at New Delhi in 1961, under the influence of Lesslie Newbigin. Giving a theological assessment, it emphasizes that the existence of these churches, despite difficulties, provides places where the final unity of Christ’s one body is most clearly foreshadowed. They will always present proleptic visions of that goal.