Area Of Agreement

Ecumenism and the Evangelical, by J. Marcellus Kik, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1957. $3.50.

Explicitly in the case of “ecumenism” and implicitly in the case of “evangelical,” the author acknowledges that a wider area of agreement in definition is a desideratum devoutly to be wished. He nevertheless proceeds on the reasonable assumption that the whole ecumenical development whose principal symbol is the World Council of Churches has reached a stage where it needs to be more thoroughly assessed by those who take seriously the Christianity of the historic creeds.

A brief consideration of ecumenical moods and motives launches the discussion on its way, following which certain “evangelical apprehensions” are put forward: ecumenism’s generally weak or ambiguous Christology, its tendency to attenuate theological concern in general, its drift toward an inclusiveness that minimizes differences, its growing fondness for the ecclesiological concept of the Church as a visible society, and its often aggressive insistence on the “sinfulness” of denominationalism.

It is held that the “authority of Scripture” is accorded too feeble a place within the framework of the ecumenical movement. “Those who reject the authority of Scripture and deny its uniqueness as the infallible revelation of God’s mind and will, are confined to the position of giving authority to religious experience or to the position of agnosticism” (p. 32). Anglicans, with their emphasis upon the authority of the church and of churchly tradition, would almost certainly demur, but the main contention is well argued that ecumenism’s anchorage to Scripture is far more dubious than that of the separate churches and their historic confessions.

Rejected emphatically ...

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