Churches Talking

From Christian Today:

The Roman Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK have welcomed an “unprecedented” move towards unity this week.

They have launched a new book entitled “Joint Statements” outlining areas of theological agreement between the two denominations.

The book was developed by the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum (COORF) and presented by the body’s co-chairs Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, and the Catholic Archbishop of Southwark Kevin McDonald.

Bishop Angaelos said that the areas of common faith and witness outweighed the issues that had separated them for the last 1,600 years.

“It is very well for us to stand at our pulpits and preach love, but if our faithful do not see our Churches working together they see this as being quite hypocritical,” he said.

“If we, as Church leaders, as priests and pastors and shepherds in the Church cannot actually portray this, if we cannot have this relationship and the wider relationship in this room and indeed between our Churches in this land that we live in, then we will find it very difficult to stand and preach love and forgiveness and acceptance, that is why I am very happy to be part of this launch.”

Archbishop McDonald stated: “Even though in the past there were differences, they no longer justify the continued separation, and it is a call to the Churches to come together and move towards a closer communion.

“It is a good time for us to recognise that there is an international dimension to ecumenism and we all have a stake in it, we are all part of it.”

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • AT

    Great News !!!!
    Now if only the Orthodox, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Anglican, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Wesleyan Methodist, Church of the Nazarene, Church of Christ and the thousands of other movements of the Bride could release a joint statement…..

  • Adam Hidebrandt

    I agree, and all though you are speaking in tongue and cheek, I pray for it, think of the great humility and objectiveness needed for those groups to see eye to eye, and say we are all of one accord.

    One can dream.

  • http://www.eric-michael.com EricMichaelSay

    “issues that had separated them for the last 1,600 years.”

    This made me laugh. Dark sense of humour I guess.

  • http://modsynthesis.com modsynth

    After making such a big deal about Paul’s few statements about women in the church, it’s good to see we’re taking notice of his repeated insistance on unity and opposition to division. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Orthodox and Catholics accomplish this first since the Protestants unfortunately splinter apart on a near-daily basis. I think certain eschatological views have made “unity” a dirty word among the many evangelicals. I wonder if they will take this as a positive step toward God’s ideal, or Left Behind coming true.

  • ChrisBallard

    Perhaps they might send a delegation to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to help them avoid beating each other with broomsticks because of some alleged infraction of each other’s territory and not have a Muslim hold the keys to the church because they don’t trust each other. What a disgrace this situation is, the church is a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, again!

  • Bev Mitchell

    From the same source that, thanks to this blog, I was just learned about. This one also speaks to a kind of unity among european evangelicals and would be a good place for us on this side of the pond to emulate.

    A code of conduct for Europe’s evangelicals
    Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 17:42 (BST)

    A new code of conduct has been published to help Christians in Europe engage confidently but respectfully in the public arena.

    The code was drawn up by Pablo Martinez, of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, and made public for the first time at the European Evangelical Alliance’s General Assembly in Germany last week.

    Martinez, a Bible teacher and psychiatrist, said he wanted to provide a biblical rationale for how evangelicals engage in the public arena.

    “We believe this is a balanced and thoroughly biblical approach, having Christ as the central point of reference,” he said.

    “The purpose is to give a biblical basis and a practical guide to honour Christ and incarnate the Gospel at all times.”

    The code of conduct starts with a call to Christians to speak and act out of love.

    “We will seek to build genuine relationships with all in the public arena, including those who disagree with us,” it states.

    “We will especially love those that society marginalises, care deeply for them and dare to challenge the injustices that oppress.”

    The code asks that Christians act in the public arena with courage, humility, integrity and a commitment to the truth.

    “Our political ideas and actions must be based on all of Scripture,” it says.

    “We must not use the Bible to confirm our pre-formed ideas. Rather, we will study with Christians of different political philosophies to ensure that our ideas are truly biblical.

    “We will work to ensure we reflect the breadth of God’s concerns, not just focusing on one of two issues.”

    The code goes on to encourage Christians to act with wisdom and suggests that they will be better heard when they are professional and relevant.

    “Politicians do not have to listen to us,” Christians are told.

    “Rather, by building good relationships and providing excellent, relevant and wise ideas and information, presented professionally, we trust that some will wish to listen.”

    Jiri Unger, EEA President and General Secretary of the Czech Evangelical Alliance said that striking a balance was vital if evangelicals were to avoid the traps of “unhelpful fearfulness, anger or compromise”.

    “The European Evangelical Alliance based its socio-political approach on the belief that we can be radical and faithful to the whole of Scripture without being extremist, soft or liberal and at the same time engage in unavoidable confrontations in a relational and respectful way,” he said.

    From: Christian Today October 26, 2011
    http://www.christiantoday.com


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