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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Most Presbyterians possess an ecumenical spirit. They recognize other denominations as parts of the Body of Christ just as surely as their own. They cooperate enthusiastically in service, worship, and witness with Christians in many different denominations. Their reliance on biblical authority and agreement with Christians in other communions on many theological issues have led American Presbyterians to be involved in practically every major ecumenical endeavor. Many Presbyterians have been leaders in these enterprises as well. The Old Light and New Light Presbyterian reconciliation, major revivals in America and Europe, the mergers of denominations and comity arrangements for mission have provided energy and vision for ecumenism. The planting of newer Reformed churches—in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and predominantly Catholic countries in Europe—embodied this ecumenism. Mainstream Presbyterians played an important role in numerous ecumenical organizations including the Evangelical Alliance, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Federal Council of Churches, the Faith and Order and the Life and Work movements, and the World Council of Churches. Those who left the larger Presbyterian denominations to create new Reformed bodies have likewise engaged in ecumenism. In recent years, however, the extensive formal ecumenical ties have been eclipsed by the extensive ecumenism of local Presbyterian congregations and their individual officers and members.

Keywords: ecumenism, benevolent societies, Evangelical Alliance, Federal Council of Churches, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, National Council of Churches of Christ, World Council of Churches, local ecumenism

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