Our Latest Photos

Dreams Bliss Heather Mill Extra Virgin Calanque Old Desert Gull Mediterranean Forest of Masts Little Bird Wind Blown

View Our Entire Photostream

You Are Here: Theology > The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity
Oct
16

The Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity

Recent schemes for Chris­t­ian unity are less grandiose and more prac­ti­cal than ear­lier on in the move­ment. It’s been rec­og­nized that you can’t just cre­ate church unity by fiat. There’s a tremen­dous amount of ground­work to be laid first.

One such scheme is the Prince­ton Pro­posal for Chris­t­ian Unity. It’s the work of 16 the­olo­gians from the whole range of Chris­t­ian churches meet­ing over the course of 3 years. Their final text, In One Body through the Cross, ana­lyzes some of the causes of divi­sion and offers some prac­ti­cal advice to start knit­ting the churches back together in doc­trine and prac­tice before insti­tu­tional merger is even contemplated.

Here are some of their suggestions:

First, churches should rou­tinely include the­olo­gians from other tra­di­tions in doc­tri­nal com­mis­sions and con­sul­ta­tions. Sec­ond, offi­cial state­ments by churches should always be for­mu­lated for the widest pos­si­ble Chris­t­ian audi­ence. Third, edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions that serve denom­i­na­tions should hire and encour­age schol­ars who will teach in ways that serve the whole church.” §49

Oppor­tu­nites for coor­di­nated wit­ness and ser­vice should be affirmed and expanded. Mis­sion­ary strate­gies should be devel­oped across denom­i­na­tional lines, so that church growth is not accom­plished by sheep-stealing but rather by evan­ge­liza­tion of the bap­tized and re-evangelization of the lapsed. Protes­tant mis­sion­ar­ies to his­tor­i­cally Roman Catholic and Ortho­dox soci­eties must be able to artic­u­late the ways in which their work builds up the whole church in those places. Joint social and polit­i­cal action must be con­tin­u­ally con­se­crated in com­mon prayer.” §52

Against the present lack of reci­procity of mem­ber­ship and min­istry, we urge the fol­low­ing steps. We envi­sion two very dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions: where agree­ments of full com­mu­nion are in place, and where full com­mu­nion does not exist. In the first instance, church lead­ers in each place should work to imple­ment exist­ing agree­ments. In order to pro­mote com­mon mis­sion, lay mem­bers should be encour­aged to wor­ship and serve in con­gre­ga­tions in part­ner denom­i­na­tions. Among ordained clergy, churches should iden­tify a min­istry of unity, and sem­i­nary train­ing should inten­tion­ally pre­pare min­is­ters to serve in part­ner churches. In the sec­ond instance, where the­o­log­i­cal reci­procity of mem­ber­ship and min­istry exists, con­gre­ga­tions of sep­a­rated Chris­tians should pray for one another. When bap­tism is mutu­ally rec­og­nized, this should be plain in the man­ner of its admin­is­tra­tion. The ecu­meni­cal voca­tion of mar­ried cou­ples from sep­a­rated com­mu­nions should be acknowl­edged and sup­ported by the churches. When full com­mu­nion does not exist, churches should acknowl­edge and encour­age spe­cial voca­tions for the sake of unity. God may call lay and ordained mem­bers of one church to sus­tained par­tic­i­pa­tion in the life and mis­sion of sep­a­rated churches, even if sacra­men­tal com­mu­nion is not pos­si­ble for a time. Such voca­tions do not deny real the­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences or dis­re­spect canon­i­cal order but rather are a call to endure sep­a­ra­tion as a dis­ci­pline which sharp­ens pas­sion for unity. Such sac­ri­fice is per­haps pos­si­ble only for a few, and it will cer­tainly take many forms, often par­tial and hid­den. The churches should seek to iden­tify and cham­pion these voca­tions as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the divided churches.” §55

Be Socia­ble, Share!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow Us!

Facebook Twitter RSS Feed Email

Facebook Fans...

Tweets...

    Tags

    Christ amen Pentecostal 8th commandment baptism saints Dante patience Bach German Baroque church-dividing Vatican 2 forgiveness fasting Augsburg Confession St. Augustine Reformation Large Catechism Strasbourg pilgrimage Liguria convergence Luther Lent Austria Jews John Wesley Eisfeld Rhine spiritual ecumenism One Mediator Saints and Mary spirituality Robert Louis Stevenson liturgy Freedom of a Christian Coburg Apennines Alps Switzerland justification translation mysticism Mediterranean Via Francigena Erfurt Scripture Methodist Lombardy Confessions ecumenical concepts Roanoke language Bible word worship Johannes Tauler university Augustine Apology to the Augsburg Confession Protestant ecumenism mission Baptism Eucharist and Ministry walk specialization Ambrose different traditions Oettingen Germany Chiavenna Benedictine canal Rick Steves Bavaria communion monk Institute for Ecumenical Research post-pilgrimage Henri de Lubac prayer Nördlingen vernacular Edinburgh Missionary Conference Thomas Aquinas Heidelberg Disputation truth and love Siena mystics righteousness Creeds honesty memmingen 95 theses theology of the cross St. Peter martyr Catholic Martin Luther Witness to Jesus Christ Melanchthon Liechtenstein Dominican nature of God Friar marble anti-Semitism eucharist Calvin Santiago de Compostela cities consensus sacraments Anabaptist Australia Volker Leppin Staupitz Franciscan Mary Lutheran monks God conversion Ten Commandments hiking unity World Council of Churches Vaduz Mortalium Animos misunderstanding Commentary on the Magnificat differentiated consensus Unitatis Redintegratio Augsburg College charismatic Italy promise Vierzehnheiligen Orthodox Vorarlberg love Zapfendorf change Lutheran Bregenz Otto Hermann Pesch Bernard of Clairvaux Rome Lutheran World Federation sanctification Joint Declaration Biel anti-Judaism St. Paul Mennonite Bamberg Augustinian Tuscany Gutenberg rain dialogue Small Catechism Geneva Leuenberg Agreement Wittenberg law and gospel good works gift freedom Advent mediator marriage St. Augustine House penance Kempten Florence Neresheim church reception Holy Spirit Allgäu monasticism relics Milan Sweden St. James Emilia-Romagna Lazio Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Finland Nuremberg predestination Renaissance miracle grace Reformed Kilian McDonnell spiritual disciplines faith Cardinal Kasper Babylonian Captivity Ulm

    Brought to you by...

    ...you!