The Not-So-New Ecumenism

A recent initiative is structured to exclude evangelicals in the mainline
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A flurry of new acronyms is appearing on the ecumenical stage: ACR (The Association for Church Renewal); CCT (Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.); FCFONA (Foundation for a Conference on Faith and Order in North America); GCF (Global Christian Forum). All affect evangelicals.

These acronyms represent attempts to transcend and to some extent replace, redefine, or reconfigure the older acronyms of the NCC (National Council of Churches) and the WCC (World Council of Churches), the carriers of ecumenical vitalities and viruses during their last 50 years.

The Global Christian Forum appears to look beyond the WCC to include evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics and, in a more prominent way, the Orthodox. It met in Pasadena on June 20-24. The North American Faith and Order Foundation appears to be replacing the old NCC-controlled North American Conference on Faith and Order with a new organization that is independent of the NCC. It met at Notre Dame in November 2001. Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. proposes a new beginning for American ecumenism with some limited evangelical inclusion, but ignoring most evangelical efforts of the last quarter century within the mainline denominations. It met in Chicago on April 4-6.

Evangelicals in North America receive reports of ecumenical activities with a wary eye, even if they intend to be inclusive of evangelicals and Pentecostals and more respectful of ancient ecumenical teaching.

In particular, evangelicals of Confessing and Renewing movements within the mainline churches should thoughtfully answer the CCT 's statement "An Invitation to a Journey." CCT thinking is based on a dense misunderstanding of the evangelical reality within the mainline (the statement is posted ...

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