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Religions 2018, 9(12), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120390

Ekklesia and Ecumenism in the Body of Christ: Unity from the Ground-Up

Gonzaga University, 502 East Boone Avenue, Spokane, WA 99258-0102, USA
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecumenism and Ecclesiology: The Challenge of Unity and Difference)
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Abstract

This article explores the implications for Christian unity from the perspective of the lived faith community, the ekklesia. While bilateral and multilateral dialogues have borne great fruit in bringing Christian denominations closer together, as indeed it will continue to do so, considering how the ecclesiological identity of the faith community both forms and reflects its members may be helpful in moving forward in our ecumenical efforts. This calls for a ground-up approach as opposed to a top-down approach. By “ground-up” it is meant that the starting point for theological reflection on ecumenism begins not with doctrine but with praxis, particularly as it relates to the common believer in the pew. The ecclesiological model “Body of Christ” provides a helpful vocabulary in this exploration for a number of reasons, none the least that it is scripturally-based, presumes diversity and employs concrete imagery relating to everyday life. Further, “Body of Christ” language is used by numerous Christian denominations in their statements of self-identity, regardless of where they lie on the doctrinal or political spectrum. In this article, potential benefits and challenges of this ground-up perspective will be considered, and a way forward will be proposed to promote ecumenical unity across denomination borders. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecumenism; ecumenical; ecclesiology; ekklesia; body of Christ; Christianity; denomination; unity-in-diversity; bilateral dialogue; ressourcement; aggiornamento ecumenism; ecumenical; ecclesiology; ekklesia; body of Christ; Christianity; denomination; unity-in-diversity; bilateral dialogue; ressourcement; aggiornamento
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wendlinder, A. Ekklesia and Ecumenism in the Body of Christ: Unity from the Ground-Up. Religions 2018, 9, 390.

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