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  • 2016 Books

    New Books of Note in Ecumenism in 2016

    Slipper, Callan. Enriched by the Other: A Spiritual Guide to Receptive Ecumenism. Cambridge: Grove Books, 2016.

    This 28-page booklet, written by an Anglican priest living in a Focolare community, is a study in Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17, informed by the teachings of Chiare Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement. This introductory piece, in six chapters with questions at the end of each chapter, could be made into a parish study on ecumenism.

    Denaux, Adelbert, Nicholas Sagovsky & Charles Sherlock, eds. Looking towards a Church Full Reconciled: The Final Report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission 1983-2005 (ARCIC II). London: SPCK, 2016.

    Three ARCIC II members compiled this anthology. Part A presents the text of the five Agreed Statements of ARCIC II (Salvation and the Church, Church as Communion, Life in Christ, The Gift of Authority, and Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ). Part B analyzes the theological themes in the ARCIC II documents: use of Scripture, doctrinal methods, theological themes, and the koinonia ecclesiology in ARCIC I and II. Part C seeks to tell the story of the meetings of the ARCIC II Commission, the topics that were addressed, and how they functioned. An appendix provides the text of the Common Declarations by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Kasper, Walter. Martin Luther: An Ecumenical Perspective. New York: Paulist Press, 2016.

    The author, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, summarizes his purpose in writing this brief, 41-page book: “Before we speak of Luther’s relevance today, we must engage with his person and work to locate him in the changed situation of both churches and ecumenism. We have to be aware of the strangeness of the world in which Luther lived, as well as the strangeness of his message. I will argue that it is precisely the strangeness of Luther and his message that makes him so relevant to ecumenical relations today” (p. 2).

    Wood, Susan K. and Timothy J. Wengert. A Shared Spiritual Journey: Lutherans and Catholics Traveling toward Unity. New York: Paulist Press, 2016.

    As background for the Reformation 500th anniversary, this book seeks to summarize the history of the shared Roman Catholic and the Lutheran ecumenical journey from Martin Luther to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. It then addresses convergences and differences in Scripture and tradition, sacraments, ministry, and church. The Lutheran and Catholic co-authors then offer their vision for an ecumenical future based on a relationship of full communion that would maintain the distinctive identities of each tradition.

    Flett, John G. Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective. Missiological Engagements Series. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic Press, 2016.

    This published Habilitationsschrift argues that the language of schism and restoration/recognition in ecumenical understandings of apostolicity are inadequate to address “the polycentrism and pluriformity of world Christianity” (p. 329) and that they reflect a colonialist perspective. The author asserts that “A solution to the ecumenical problem [of apostolicity] requires a better parsing and incorporation of the lived cultural appropriations of the gospel” (p. 332).

    Kim, Grace Ji-Sun, ed. Making Peace with the Earth: Action and Advocacy for Climate Justice. Geneva: World Council of Churches Publications, 2016.

    Arising from the World Council of Churches’ 2014 Climate Change Working Group, this rich anthology “gathers the stories and expertise of activists, theologians, and faith-based organizations to inspire, guide, and encourage churches and church people everywhere in grassroots work and advocacy for climate justice…and related issues of health, human rights, land and deforestation, food security, migration, divestment, as well as creation spirituality and theology” (back cover). There are eighteen essays in three sections: 1) Churches Respond to Climate Change; 2) Eco-Theology and Climate Justice, and 3) Interfaith Initiatives and Care for the Earth; an epilogue by Ernst Conradie offers “Theological Reflections on Ecumenical Action and Advocacy on Climate Change.”

    Maxson, Natalie. Journey for Justice: The Story of Women in the WCC. Geneva: World Council of Churches Publications, 2016.
    The first half of the book is a narrative history of the involvement of women in the World Council of Churches from 1930 to the 2000s; the second half provides compelling “biographies and testimonies from sisters and brothers in the struggle,” and concludes with an ecumenical timeline of events, leaders and publications that highlight the contributions and accomplishments of women in the ecumenical movement, from 1895-2015.

    New books of Note in Ecumenism, March 30, 2016

    Chapman, Mark D. & Miriam Haar. Pathways for Ecclesial Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century: Revisiting Ecumenical Method. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
    “This collection is the second volume of essays that began life as short presentations at the conference of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, ‘Where We Dwell in Common,’ which took place in Assisi, Italy, from April 17 to 20, 2012, which was explicitly intended to reignite the flame of ecumenical dialogue (p.1)…The overall aim of the gathering at Assisi was to discern new ways, means, and methods for advancing the dialogical cause” (p. 5).