The End of Ecumenism

Halden Doerge and Ry Siggelkow have a post up called The End of Ecumenism. It’s quite an interesting and provocative little piece, detailing three approaches to Christian disunity: (i) the approach which thinks dialogue at “official” levels and the production of doctrinal documents is the solution; (ii) the approach which focuses on local congregations and sharing between denominational bodies; and (iii) their own, an approach which recognizes that in Christ we are all actually one, and so any attempt at “ecumenism as negotiation” is disobedience. The solution is to refuse to recognize false boundaries (i.e., those not really there in Christ) and to welcome our brothers and sisters in love. I have to disagree: it seems the breaking of the wall between Jew and Gentiles–which Doerge and Siggelkow have as a theological backdrop–did not happen simply by ignoring the boundary or proclaiming it null and void in Christ; rather, they both worked toward doctrinal agreement (Acts 15) and learned to share life together in local, common life. They did this, of course, because they saw their disunity as really null and void in Christ. Nevertheless, it is a helpful little piece to get one thinking.

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4 thoughts on “The End of Ecumenism

  1. I have to agree with you in disagreeing with their post. I think that some of the commenters were onto something in saying that the authors basically tried to impose their own free church ecclesiology on all other Christians by using the name of Jesus Christ and demanding action in accordance with their own ecclesiology at the expense of those who sincerely disagree with it – not a fair move, in my opinion. I could be wrong, but I would think that Roman Catholics who make similarly exclusive claims about ecclesiology in relation to the person of Christ don’t usually make the equal and opposite aggressive practical claim that “Protestants are just Catholics who don’t know it yet and should submit to the magisterium – now!”

  2. I agree with your assessment, Steve. Halden and Ry just provide an ecumenism by force; a force that is situated in their conception of what “in Christ” entails (and of course, then their’s always the question of “which Christ” lurking around as well).

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