Saturday, December 10, 2005

Continuing Ecumenicism--the Right Way

The Christian Post has this story.
The General Secretary of the World Methodist Council will be meeting with Pope Benedict XVI to renew ecumenical relations between the two worldwide bodies.

According to a Dec. 8 notice by the Catholic Information Service, the Rev. George Freemen from the United States is already in Rome to meet with the new pontiff. The delegation will meet at the Vatican on Saturday.

The statement by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity – the Catholic Church’s vehicle for dialogue with the protestant church – says the objective of the visit is to “renew the commitment and further relations” between the two churches and “to continue with theological dialogue.”
Dialogue depends on mutual honest. And mutual honesty demands an authentic respect for the legitimate differences between communions. Neither Catholics nor Methodists should desire a unity founded on mere "tolerance" or even worse, white-washed theology. Nor should either community violate its integrity in order to appear suitably contrite enough for "further relations."

I trust Pope Benedict XVI's judgement on the most appropriate basis in which to conduct ecumenical outreach. Purists from either side of our regretable spiritual divide will ring their hands at these developments. That's unfortunate. One of the greatest scandals that confronts the Church today is that of a divided Body of Christ. How can we call ourselves disciples and witness to his gospel when we can't even demonstrate unity in his name with our brothers? That followers of Christ can deny the Christianity of one another has got to be one of our Enemy's greatest triumphs. It's a victory we should not let him savor.