New Books of Note in Ecumenism in 2014
Chapman, Mark D. The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1882. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
The Anglican author, a Reader in Modern Theology at the University of Oxford and Vice-Principal of Ripon College, presents a “pre-history of ecumenism,” tracing “the different understandings of ‘catholicity’ that emerged in the interactions between the Church of England and other churches – particularly the Roman Catholic Church – from the early 1830s to the early 1880s” (p.1). The key ecumenical conflict, which the author identifies as still unresolved today, is the “special catholicity” of an international papacy versus the “temporal catholicity” of loosely federated national churches.
Chryssavgis, John, ed. Dialogue of Love; Breaking the Silence of Centuries. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014.
An excellent concise overview of 50 years of Roman Catholic-Orthodox dialogue through four essays: John Chryssavgis on the meeting of Athenagoras and Paul VI in Jerusalem in 1964; Brian E. Daley, S.J. on fifty years of dialogue; Georges Florovsky’s reflection on the 1964 meeting, published here in English translation for the first time; and Walter Kasper on the 2014 meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis.
Cole, Allan Hugh, ed. Theology in Service to the Church: Global and Ecumenical Perspectives. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.
Papers presented at the 2012 Williamson Distinguished Scholars Conference at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on the title topic, grouped in categories of Historical, Doctrinal and Philosophical Theology; Constructive and Public Theology; and Pastoral Theology. The authors include Marcus Plested on the church fathers for today; George Hunsinger on justification; Paul Lakeland on the ecclesial role of the theologian; Amy Plantinga Pauw on denominationalism; David Jensen on Rahner’s ecumenism; David Tombs on sexual ethics; Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger on building a restorative church; Hetty Zock on a theology of compassion; and Allan Hugh Cole, Jr. on what Protestants might learn from Orthodox and Roman Catholics.
Dahle, Margunn, Lars Dahle and Knud Jørgensen, eds. The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives. Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series. Oxford: Regnum Books, 2014.
A 500-page in-depth look at the Lausanne Movement: introducing the history and theology of the movement (section 1); the key theological themes addressed in Lausanne’s various consultations (section 2); a review of the 2010 Cape Town conference (section 3); and critical reflections and responses (section 4). The conclusion looks beyond the 2014 40th anniversary of the movement to its global consultations and strategic initiatives for the future.
De Margerie, Bernard. In God’s Reconciling Grace: Prayer and Reflection Texts for Christian Reconciliation and Unity. Saskatoon: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, 2014. Available from the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, 600 45th Street West, Saskatoon, SK S7L5W9 Canada
This rich resource of spiritual ecumenism offers original prayers and joint prayer resources for Christian unity, compiled by a Roman Catholic priest with a contributions from the ecumenical community in Saskatoon. Part 1 contains themes and prayer forms for Christian unity, each including a Scripture passage, reflection, question for meditation, and collect; Part 2 offers prayers for ecumenical occasions; Part 3 compiles prayers from various denominational traditions; Part 4 provides excerpts from key ecumenical texts to provide basis for reflection; and Part 5 contains 9 ecumenical prayer services for reconciliation and Christian unity, plus ecumenical forms for morning and evening prayer.
The Ecumenical Study Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians in Germany. Binding Testimony: Holy Scripture and Tradition. Schneider, Theodor and Wolfhart Pannenbert, eds.; translated by Martha M. Matesich. New York: Peter Lang, 2014.
An English-language abridgement of a German Protestant-Catholic three-volume published dialogue, the result of twelve years of work (1986-1998), entitled Verbindliches Zeugnis. Included here are the joint statement, “Canon – Holy Scripture – Tradition,” and the concluding report, “The Understanding and Use of Scripture.”
Gibaut, John and Knud Joergensen, eds. Called to Unity For the Sake of Mission. Oxford: Regnum Books, 2014.
A collection from twenty contributors, drawing upon the theme “Unity in Mission” from the Centenary Conference commemorating the Edinburgh 1910 World Missionary Conference. The essays in section 1 present theological and historical foundations and section 2 “deals with ways of doing mission in unity in different contexts,” including an article by Thomas F. Best on “United and Uniting Churches as Models of Mission and Unity”, pp. 141-153.
Group of Farfa Sabina. Communion of Churches and Petrine Ministry: Lutheran-Catholic Convergences. Translated by Paul Misner. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.
Report from an unofficial five-year ecumenical initiative, the Permanent Working Group on the Petrine Ministry, which consisted of seven European Catholic and seven Lutheran theologians. Re-examination of key texts of the two Vatican Councils and recent theology “has opened up new avenues for a differentiated understanding and reassessment of papal primacy. This in turn allowed for a fresh view of infallibility and universal jurisdiction, which could serve as the theological basis for a possible rapprochement between the two churches and a future Lutheran recognition of the Petrine function as a ministry of unity in the service of the communio ecclesiarum” (p. 8).
Habets, Myk, ed. Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque for the 21st Century. London; New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.
Fourteen essays addressing historical perspectives on the Filioque (“and the son”) phrase of the Nicene Creed, theological analysis of the issues around it, and new perspectives that seek to enrich or reappraise the tradition, authored by ecumenists representing Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Evangelical Free, Baptist, Anglican, Lutheran, and Pentecostal traditions.
Kalaitzidis, Pantelis, et al., eds. Orthodox Handbook on Ecumenism: Resources for Theological Education. Regnum Studies in Global Christianity Series. Oxford: Regnum Books International, 2014.
At 962 pages, with 114 listed contributors – including a Foreword from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – this is an enormous accomplishment, documenting the Orthodox tradition’s contributions to the ecumenical movement and reflecting on its commitments to the movement. Contents in sections: 1) Orthodox Churches in the Ecumenical Movement – An Introduction; 2) Orthodoxy and Ecumenism – Foundations; 3) Representative Orthodox Theologians Reflecting on Ecumenism; 4) Ecumenical Dialogues in Various Orthodox Churches and Settings; 5) Bilateral Dialogues Between Eastern Orthodox Churches and Other Churches and Christian Traditions; 6) Ecumenical Perspectives of Oriental Orthodox Churches; 7) Particular Themes and Issues for Orthodox Involvement in Ecumenism; 8) Ecumenical Formation in Orthodox Theological Education; and Appendix: Bibliographical Survey of Key Texts of Ecumenism.
Kinnamon, Michael. Can a Renewal Movement Be Renewed?: Questions for the Future of Ecumenism. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2014.
The preeminent ecumenist responds to fifteen current challenges for the ecumenical movement, starting with “Does ecumenism have a future?” and moving to key ecumenical questions around peace, ecclesiology, the environment, tensions between unity and justice, the politicization of the movement, Catholic-Protestant relations, Orthodoxy, interfaith relations, Jewish-Christian relations, councils of churches, the formation of ecumenical leaders, revitalization of the movement, and ending with “why care?” Mostly revisions of speeches that Kinnamon gave while serving as General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, the chapters retain a crisp oral tone and a practical focus on concrete steps for living ecumenically, locally as well as globally.
O’Gara, Margaret, and Michael Vertin. No Turning Back: The Future of Ecumenism. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2014.
This posthumous collection includes 17 of the veteran Roman Catholic theologian and ecumenist Margaret O’Gara’s writings 1996-2012, and a complete bibliography of her publications, compiled and edited by her husband and academic colleague at St. Michael’s College, Toronto. Her 2012 lecture for the Ecumenism Award from the Washington Theological Consortium, “Ecumenical Dialogue as a Process of Spiritual Transformation” appears here in print for the first time. Her final essay, on “The Study of Theology,” written just before her death for receiving an honorary degree, is especially poignant and inspiring as she reflects upon theology as the calling of a lifetime and worth a life given to it.
Wainwright, Geoffrey. Faith, Hope, and Love: The Ecumenical Trio of Virtues. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014.
In this published version of the Baylor Leo and Gloriana Parchman Endowed Lectures for 2012, the veteran British Methodist ecumenist “examines those three gifts of the Spirit as they are received and exercised in three focal acts of Christian worship” (p. 5), exploring faith through baptism, hope through the Lord’s Prayer, and love through the Lord’s Supper and connecting them to the ecumenical insights of the 1982 World Council of Churches’ convergence document Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.
Watkins, Keith. The American Church that Might Have Been: A History of the Consultation on Church Union. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014.
The author served on the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) Commission on Worship 1968-1988 and attended nine COCU plenary assemblies. From that vantage point, he provides a detailed history of the attempt to establish a united Protestant church in the U.S., moving from vision to plan (1960-1970), negotiating the terms of agreement (1971-1988), and reshaping the ecumenical vision (1989-2002). In the latter section, he ends the history with COCU’s morph into Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC), draws lessons from the 40-year experiment of COCU, and traces the continuing inheritance of COCU for an ecumenical future.
Watkins, Sharon. Whole: A Call to Unity in Our Fragmented World. St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2014.
A memoir and stories of personal witness to a life spent working for unity and justice, by the head of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Wilkey, Glaucia Vasconcelos, ed. Worship and Culture: Foreign Country or Homeland? Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2014.
This collection of essays arising from Societas Liturgica and the Lutheran World Federation on liturgy and culture argues “that the ecumenical liturgical renewal movement has within itself, if we pay attention, the seeds of a lively and helpful, biblically rooted balance between being at home in every culture and being a stranger” (Gordon Lathrop, p. 15). The book includes a number of ecumenical articles, notably two articles by Thomas F. Best, “Christian Unity and Christian Diversity, Lessons from Liturgical Renewal: The Case of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),” pp. 214-238; and “A Faith and Order Saga: Towards One Baptism: Towards Mutual Recognition,” pp. 302-319; an article by Margaret Mary Kelleher on “Vatican II and the LWF Project: Points of Convergence”; and a concluding section on the Roman Catholic-Reformed Church Dialogue.