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  • 2008 Books

    New Books of Note in Ecumenism in 2008

    Braaten, Carl E. That All May Believe: A Theology of the Gospel and the Mission of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

    A prominent Lutheran theologian seeks to advance and invigorate an ecumenism that offers a comprehensive vision of the church that is evangelical, catholic, and orthodox. Addresses authority, dogmatics, resurrection, apocalyptic, missions, and pluralism.

    Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches, ed. Liturgies for Christian Unity: The First Hundred Years, 1908-2008. Toronto: Novalis, 2008.

    A rich anthology containing a century’s worth of materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, organized chronologically by decade, from the Canadian Council of Churches, representing 21 denominations of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches. Includes prayers, liturgies, confessions, suggested hymns, artwork, children’s activities and a helpful subject index.

    Fuchs, Lorelei F. Koinonia and the Quest for an Ecumenical Ecclesiology: From Foundations through Dialogue to Symbolic Competence for Communionality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. 
    This published doctoral dissertation is an excellent 400+ page comprehensive treatment of how the term koinonia has been used in ecumenical dialogues, both bilateral and multilateral. Sr. Fuchs writes: “Come what may, the future direction of the ecumenical movement must indicate that interchurch relations make a difference to intrachurch lived reality. This requires both the capacity to ecumenate and the will to ecume. Communionality calls forth dialogue and doxology which elicit within individual Christians and the particular churches their foundational ecumenical identity and mission. Christians and churches can do this because their unity, their koinonia, finds its source in the triune God” (p. 443).

    Hunsinger, George. The Eucharist and Ecumenism: Let Us Keep the Feast. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    A Reformed theologian proposes that ecumenical convergence on the Eucharist can be achieved for the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Reformed, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist traditions through a principle of ongoing reformation (ecclesia reformata et simper reformanda secundum verbum dei). He bases the proposal on a theology of real presence, reappropriation of the concept of eucharistic sacrifice, and Protestant acceptance of episcopal ordination and the primacy of the bishop of Rome.

    Husbands, Mark and Jeffrey P. Greenman, eds. Ancient Faith for the Church’s Future. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008. 
    A collection of essays from the 2007 Wheaton Theology Conference in which evangelical and Roman Catholic authors explore “the viability and promise of an evangelical engagement” with patristic theology and 20th century Roman Catholic ressourcement theology.

    Koskela, Douglas M. Ecclesiality and Ecumenism: Yves Congar and the Road to Unity. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2008. 

    A Wesleyan finds fresh ecumenical promise in aspects of Congar’s ecclesiology, especially 1) the essential oneness of the church of Christ, 2) the active ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit that leads the church to indefectibility, and 3) “the fundamental identity of the church as a communion of persons sharing in the life of the triune God” (p. 164).

    Mannion, Gerard, ed. Comparative Ecclesiology: Critical Investigations. Ecclesiological Investigations 3. London; New York: T & T Clark, 2008.

    This collection of constructive essays from the 2007 American Academy of Religion Ecclesiological Investigations section engages the thought of Roger Haight on comparative, constructive and ecumenical ecclesiology.

    Murphy, Francesca Aran and Christopher Asprey, eds. Ecumenism Today: The UniversalChurch in the 21 st Century. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub., 2008.
    A collection of essays covering both “theological ecumenism” (Part I) and “ecumenical theology” (Part III), taking the confessional commitments of the churches seriously while seeking to forward the search for visible unity. The essayists represent the Reformed Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican traditions and address topics such as schism, authority, papal primacy, Eucharist, and persecution of Christians.

    Murray, Paul D., ed. Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
    This 534-page tome is a rich and impressive collection of essays from the 2006 international “Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Learning” conference, held in Durham , England in honor of Cardinal Walter Kasper. “Receptive ecumenism” is a fresh approach to ecumenism in which each tradition seeks to address the question: “What can we learn, or receive, with integrity from our various others in order to facilitate our own growth together into deepened communion in Christ and the Spirit?” (p. ix-x). This collection addresses that question from a Roman Catholic perspective, in five parts: I: “Vision and Principles;” II: “Receptive Ecumenical Learning through Catholic Dialogue;” III: “Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Church Order;” IV: The Pragmatics of Receptive Ecumenical Learning;” and V: “Retrospect and Prospect.” It should be noted that WTC professor, the Rev. Dr . Paul McPartlan from Catholic University , has contributed an excellent essay entitled “Catholic Learning and Orthodoxy – The Promise and Challenge of Eucharistic Ecclesiology.” This book makes a tremendous contribution to the field; it is arguably the most important book published on ecumenism in recent years.

    O’Grady, John and Peter Scherle, edsEcumenics from the Rim: Explorations in Honour of John D’Arcy May. Theology, Ethics and Interreligious Relations: Studies in Ecumenics Series, vol. 1. New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 2008.

    This 500-page festschrift for the director of the Irish School of Ecumenics includes 57 essays. Its three main sections – Christian theology, interreligious relations and peace studies – reflect the honoree’s commitment to the interplay of church, culture, and society and their relationship to and relevance for the ecumenical endeavor.