Friday, January 21, 2011

The Evangelistic End of Ecumenism

This is the fourth in a series of daily posts during this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25, 2011) offering brief reflections on the biblical basis for the quest for Christian unity. These reflections are drawn from the pages of Ecumenism Means You, Too: Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christian Unity (Cascade Books, 2010).

The unity for which our Lord prayed is nothing less than the very unity of the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it falls short of that unity if it is not a unity the world can see. In verses 21 and 23 of John 17, the purpose of Christian unity is evangelistic—that is to say, it has as its ultimate end the conversion of the world: “so that the world may believe that you have sent that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” That is why many participants in the ecumenical movement emphasize visible unity as the goal of ecumenism. As the result of our divisions, we are not yet united at the Lord’s table. Our churches do not yet all recognize one another’s baptisms as the one baptism of the one body of Christ. We are not yet able to speak with one prophetic voice against the world’s injustices. Our divisions have compromised our witness so that the world does not find it compelling.

-- from chapter 1, “Here to Play Jesus: Why Ecumenism Isn’t Dead”

Interested in Ecumenism Means You, Too? Order the book directly from Cascade Books or via Amazon.

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