Ecumenism and Interfaith pluralism

Ecumenism and Interfaith pluralism

Ecumenism: the organized attempt to bring about the cooperation and unity of all believers in Christ.

The “modern ecumenical movement” , started in 1910 and led to the formation of the “World Council of Churches” in 1948 in Amsterdam. WCC is a permanent organization with headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland. With 347 churches, 550 million communicants in 100 countries, WCC provides opportunities for meeting, consultation and cooperative action with respect to doctrine, practice, social mission, evangelism and missionary work:

“For its member churches, the WCC is a unique space: one in which they can reflect, speak, act, worship and work together, challenge and support each other, share and debate with each other. As members of this fellowship, WCC member churches:

– are called to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship;

– promote their common witness in work for mission and evangelism;

– engage in Christian service by serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation; and

– foster renewal in unity, worship, mission and service”

( http://www.wcc-coe.org/ ).

For years, Evangelicals distanced themselves from WCC not accepting its Protestant denominations.

Today, however, that spirit of compromise has invaded Evangelicalism.

The recent “Catholic-Evangelical accord” is an example of such compromise.

“Catholic-Evangelical accord”: On March 29, 1994, leading evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd. Millennium.” The document, which attempts to bring ecumenical unity, has some very important agreements regarding proselytizing and doctrinal distinctions.

Interfaith pluralism : involving persons of different religious faiths; “an interfaith marriage”; “interfaith good will” (Webster’s Dictionary)

Interfaith is to cooperate with people of other faiths.

The interfaith movement has gathered much interest after the 1960s. In 1962 the Roman Catholic Church under Pope John XXIII made major policy changes in what came to be called Vatican II . Vatican II was helpful in improving the Catholic Church’s relationships with other religions (and other Christian denominations), but disappointed many traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyla) emphasized what he called the universal call to holiness and The Interfaith dialogue . He attempted to define the Catholic Church’s role in the modern world.

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