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  • 2012 Books

    New Books of Note in Ecumenism in 2012

    Smit, Peter-Ben. Tradition in Dialogue: The Understanding of Tradition in the International Bilateral Dialogues of the Anglican Communion. Amsterdam Studies in Theology and Religion, vol. 3. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2012.
    This published doctoral thesis from General Theological Seminary, New York, written by an Old Catholic priest and professor at Utrecht University, “describes and analyzes from an historical perspective the way in which h the notion of tradition has been discussed in bilateral ecumenical dialogues between commissions instituted by the Anglican Communion (acting through its representative bodies) and other churches and/or Christian World Communions as they took place from the establishment of the Lambeth Conference until the turn of the twentieth century” (p. 1).

    Barrett, Clive, ed. Unity in Process: Reflections on Ecumenism. London: Darton, Longman, Todd, 2012. 
    The County Ecumenical Development Officer for West Yorkshire, England compiled this compilation of twenty-one essays describing local ecumenism in action, in the categories of the context of unity, unity and the churches, unity and mission, the challenges of unity, and the prayer of unity. Highlights include Paul D. Murray and Andrea L. Murray on “The Roots, Range and Reach of Receptive Ecumenism” and a rousing ecumenical sermon by Dame Mary Tanner entitled “For God’s Sake – Get on with it.”

    The Biblical Foundations of the Doctrine of Justification: An Ecumenical Follow-Up to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. New York: Paulist Press, 2012. 
    A study for the church from an international task force comprised of ten biblical scholars and two systematic theologians from the Lutheran World Federation, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the World Methodist Council convened to deepen understandings of justification through a joint reading of the biblical texts.

    Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Ecumenical, Academic, and Pastoral Work: 1931-1932. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, volume 11. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.
    This latest volume in the definitive edition of Bonhoeffer’s works in English translation is a compilation of his writings at 25 years old, just after his year of study at Union Seminary, New York, in his roles as lecturer at the University of Berlin, student chaplain at the Technical College in Charlottenburg, and participant in the European ecumenical movement.

    Brigham, Erin M. Sustaining the Hope for Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue in a Postmodern World. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2012.
    The author utilizes Habermas’ critical theory to provide a framework for understanding ecumenism in a context of globalization and diversity, characterized by “the recognition of ecclesiological pluralism, uncertainty about the nature of the goal of the ecumenical movement, and a lack of ecumenical commitment and/or optimism from many Christians” (p. 9), with applications drawn from debates and statements of the World Council of Churches.

    Cameron, Julia E.M., ed. Christ our Reconciler: Gospel, Church, World: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012.
    The major presentations of the third Lausanne Congress, held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010: six papers on the truth of Christ in a pluralistic world; four on reconciliation, including papers addressing Palestinian-Jewish and ethnicity; five papers on bearing witness to people of other faiths; four on priorities, including evangelization and ethics; five papers on integrity, including prosperity gospel and human sexuality, the text of the Cape Town Commitment statement; six papers on partnership toward a new global equilibrium; the closing address, and an appendix: The Lausanne Global Conversation.

    Denaux, Adelbert and Peter De Mey, eds. The Ecumenical Legacy of Johannes Cardinal Willebrands (1909-2006). Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium. Leuven: Peeters, 2012. 
    These twenty essays from two international conferences on Willebrands, held at Utrecht and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, address Cardinal Willebrands’ formation and early commitment to ecumenism, his role in the Second Vatican Council, his contributions to ecumenism and Judaism, and his legacy for the future.

    De Witte, Pieter. Doctrine, Dynamic and Difference: To the Heart of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Differentiated Consensus on Justification. Ecclesiological Investigations vol. 15. London: T & T Clark, 2012.
    A Roman Catholic theologian analyses the concepts of “fundamental difference” and “differentiated consensus” in theJoint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, explores the theology of justification in Roman Catholic theologian Otto Hermann Pesch and the Lutheran Finnish school of interpretation, along with the German and American national dialogues on justification, assesses criticisms and objections to the JDDJ, and explores future directions for dialogue on Lutheran and Roman Catholic ecclesiology and soteriology.

    Kireopoulos, Antonios, ed. Ecumenical Directions in the United States Today: Churches on a Theological Journey. Faith & Order Commission Theological Series. New York: Paulist Press, 2012.
    The collected papers and proceedings from the 2007 conference “On Being Christian Together: The Faith and Order Experience in the United States.” Section I commemorates the legacy of the Oberlin 1957 conference that launched the U.S. Faith and Order movement with papers by Barbara Brown Zikmund, Donald W. Dayton, Jeffrey Gros, FSC, Cecil M. Robeck Jr., Joseph A. Loya, OSA, and Diane C. Kessler. Section II assesses the challenges of the present ecumenical climate with papers by Aristotle Papanikolaou, Jione Havea, Michael Root, Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Sarah Heaner Lancaster, and R.M. Keelan Downton. Section III addresses the future of ecumenism and interreligious relations with papers by John A. Radano, Kevin W. Mannoia, David D. Daniels III, C. Christopher Epting, John Borelli, Lewis S. Mudge, Amos Yong, John T. Ford, CSC, and Juliana M. Mecera.

    Radano, John A., ed. Celebrating a Century of Ecumenism: Exploring the Achievements of International Dialogue In Commemoration of the Centenary of the 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2012. 
    Part I analyzes the 20th century achievements of the international multilateral dialogues: S. Wesley Ariarajah and Peter C. Bouteneff on the World Council of Churches and Mary Tanner and William Henn on Faith and Order. Part II assesses the achievements of the Roman Catholic Church’s various international bilateral dialogues since Vatican II: Geoffrey Wainwright and Lorelei F. Fuchs on Methodist-RC, Donna Geernaert on Anglican-RC, John A. Radano on Reformed-RC, Cecil M. Robeck Jr and Ralph Del Colle on Pentecostal-RC, Jeffrey Gros on Evangelical-RC, Margaret O’Gara on Disciples of Christ-RC, Ronald G. Roberson on Eastern Orthodox-RC and Oriental Orthodox-RC, Susan K. Wood on Baptist-RC, and Helmut Harder on Mennonite-RC.  An excellent companion piece to Walter Kasper’s Harvesting the Fruits (Continuum, 2009), see 2010 bibliography.

    Radner, Ephraim. A Brutal Unity: The Spiritual Politics of the Christian Church. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012.
    The University of Toronto Professor of Historical Theology seeks to present a “realistic understanding of the Church’s unity,” one that is “true to the experienced facts of ecclesial division and existence in all their challenge” (p. 457). He makes two claims: “First, the structures, decision making, and choices that touch upon Christian unity are central to the gospel and to human flourishing…Failure to confront Christian division is…an immoral act in and of itself, engaging, magnifying, and furthering a range of immoral acts. And second, such engagement is not without relatively clear parameters of action…These practices are moral acts themselves …involving a range of very concrete political self-orderings – to be enjoyed, supported, or encouraged and built up within one’s own ecclesial life, with others, and within the context of the Church’s civil existence.” (p. 462).

    Root, Michael and James J. Buckley, eds. The Morally Divided Body: Ethical Disagreement and the Disunity of the Church. The Pro Ecclesia Series. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2012. 
    A rich array of papers on ethics and ecumenism from the 2010 Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology conference, authored by Robert W. Jenson, Beth Barton Shweiger, Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt, Joseph D. Small, Susan K. Wood, David Yeago, James J. Buckley, and Michael Root.

    Tavast, Timo. Unity in the Triune God: Trinitarian Theology in the Full-Communion Agreements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012.
    Written by a Finnish Lutheran postdoctoral scholar while serving as a visiting scholar at the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg, the book analyzes the use of the “trinitarian paradigm” in the full communion agreements between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Reformed Churches, the Episcopal Church, the Moravian Church in America, and the United Methodist Church and then seeks to synthesize the findings into a proposal for the application of Trinitarian theology in U.S. ecumenical conversations.

    Valliere, Paul. Conciliarism: A History of Decision-Making in the Church. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
    Commissioned by the Christian Legal Studies Project of Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, this book focuses on the history of ecclesial decision-making by representative councils (“the conciliar testament, tradition, and theory”) in various branches of Christendom and in the ecumenical movement itself, then analyzes the Anglican Communion as a contemporary case study.