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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ethics has rarely in the past been a cause of church-dividing dispute, but recently it has developed into a source of contention. The early ecumenical movement sought to give an agreed moral witness. Conferences at Stockholm (1925), Oxford (1937), and Geneva (1967) developed a tradition of ecumenical moral reflection within the World Council of Churches. Profound changes came to this tradition as emphasis shifted after 1967 towards a ‘contextual liberation ecumenism’, focusing on solidarity with liberation movements of the oppressed. More recently, ethics has been taken up in ecumenical dialogues. Dialogues have discussed specific moral issues (e.g. divorce, war, homosexuality) as well as more general questions of the relation of ethics to the unity of the church. While some dialogues have reported a fundamental agreement of ethical outlook, some recent dialogues have found significant differences, extending from questions related to sexuality to broader issues of the sources of ethical teaching.

Keywords: ethics, moral, World Council of Churches, dialogue, war, homosexuality, liberation

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