- The Early Stages: Pre-1910
- Laying the Foundations: 1910–1948
- Pivotal Years: 1948–1965
- Intense Activity: 1965–1990
- Consolidation and Challenge: 1990—Present
- Pentecostal and Charismatic
- Faith and Order
- World Council of Churches
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Bilateral Dialogues
- Chevetogne, Taizé, and the Groupe des Dombes
- United and Uniting Churches
- Regional and National Councils of Churches
- Interchurch Families
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
- Global Christian Forum
- Britain and Ireland
- United States of America
- Latin America
- The Middle East
- The Unity We Seek
- In Search of a Way
- Method in Ecumenism
- Kenotic Ecumenism
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.
Joseph D. Small was Director of the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (USA) from 1989–2011.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.