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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: Calvin, communion, conciliar, confessions, confessionalism, invisible church, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Reformed, paradox

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