Reading for Ecumenism

Reading for ecumenismThis page includes material with permission from Alibris.co.uk.

Methodist Theology
An Introduction to World Methodism
Love Bade me Welcome

The New Creation
Unmasking Methodist Theology
Work in Progress

Publications about Ecumenism
Churches Together in England Publications
The Christian Church An Introduction to the Major Traditions
Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement
The Dignity of Difference
The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices
Ecumenical Reception: Its Challenge and Opportunity
Growth in Agreement
A Guide to the Church of England
The Identity of Anglicanism
In Search of the Catholic Spirit
Nature and the Name of Love: Religion for the Contemporary World
That They All May be One. The Call to Unity Today
The Unity of Christians, the Vision of Paul Couturier
The Unity We Have and the Unity We Seek
Whose Religion is Christianity? 
Christ's Body in Corinth

 

Methodist Theology

To be involved in ecumenical conversations it is helpful to be familiar with the distinctive features of Methodism. In recent years there have been several publications which might help you understand more about Methodism:
                                                     
An Introduction to World Methodism

An Introduction to World MethodismAn Introduction to World Methodism by Kenneth Cracknell and Susan J White.  A comprehensive introduction to the history, theology, practice and sociology of Methodism around the globe. This is the first book to treat Methodism as a global religious tradition, examining its rich diversity as well as the core beliefs that all Methodists share. It is an introduction to the patterns of Methodist life and belief around the globe and shows how Methodism has developed from its British and American roots in different cultural contexts. The world Methodist community now numbers over 75 million people in more than 130 countries.

The story of Methodism is fascinating and multi-faceted because there are so many distinct traditions within it, some stemming directly from Britain and some arising in the United States. The authors address the issue of what holds all Methodists together and examine its strengths and diversity as an influential major form of Christian life and witness. They look at the ways in which Methodism has become established throughout the world, examining historical and theological developments, and patterns of worsh1p and spirituality, in their various cultural contexts. The book reflects both the lasting contributions of John and Charles Wesley, and the on-going contribution of Methodism to the ecumenical movement and inter-religious relations. It offers both analysis and abundant resources for further study.
                                                     
Love Bade me Welcome


Love Bade Me WelcomeLove Bade me Welcome: A British Methodist Perspective on the Church by David Carter. This book -- the first on the subject since 1964 -- outlines the development of British Methodist ecclesiology from the time of the Wesleys to the present day. It begins with a brief analysis of the complex intervention between the shifting ecclesiological thought of the Wesleys and the developing ecclesiological consciousness of the early Methodist societies. It then expounds the now largely forgotten tradition of 'classical' Wesleyan ecclesiological thought. David Carter surveys the last century of Methodist ecclesiological development, setting it in an ecumenical context, and attempts to relate Methodist insights to the wider ecumenical debate in ecclesiology.

The aim of his book is to whet the reader's appetite for the further and more profound investigation that the subject deserves. It will be mandatory reading for Methodists who wish to understand their distinctive ecclesial tradition, and will also be of interest to those other Christians in partnership or dialogue with Methodists, who wish to have a clearer understanding of Methodist ecclesiology for themselves.
                                                     
The New Creation

The New CreationThe New Creation: John Wesley's Theology Today by Theodore Runyon. Without doubt, this is one of the most definitive studies of the theology of John Wesley. Runyon's book, commissioned by the United Methodist Church, is a thorough and balanced account of Wesley's soteriology. It offers wise reflections on the meaning of Wesley's thought for Methodists today. Runyon's analysis of Wesley's three essentials of the Christian faith: original sin, justification and sanctification is particularly impressive. The section about sanctification in particular is a revelation - a very clear exposition of why social action is essential to the Gospel and not just an optional add-on. John Wesley's perspective was the salvation of the whole of creation. He understood the Gospel to be social rather than individualistic and in no way restricted to the people called to be Christians. The final section about other faiths is particularly interesting as it manages to square the circle as recognising other faiths whilst still affirming Christianity's unique revelation. Of course much of this is as controversial today as it was in the eighteenth century. The arguments in this book are nevertheless still current and we'd all benefit if they were better known.
                                                     
Unmasking Methodist Theology

Unmasking Methodist TheologyUnmasking Methodist Theology: A Way Forward, edited by Clive Marsh. (This is also published as Methodist Theology Today: A Way Forward.)  Methodism is suffering an identity crisis. With great uncertainty about the future, owing to declining numbers and a relationship with Anglicanism, which seems to be getting closer, a collection of the finest theological minds in contemporary Methodism have written a book which shows how recent Methodist theology can be a resource for the future. Throughout the book, the focus is on what Methodism is about and what it contributes to Christianity.
                                                     
Work in Progress

A Work In ProgressWork in Progress: Methodists Doing Theology by Angela Shier-Jones. This new study offers a unique insight into the life and work of British Methodism. The author demonstrates how contemporary British Methodists engage with a range of different sources and traditions not limited to the Wesleys for the source of their theology.




 

Publications about Ecumenism               

Churches Together in England has published a number of useful introductory texts which can be found on its Publications page. The following books offer a wider perspective on ecumenism:

                                                     
The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions                     

The Christian Church'The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions' by Paul Avis (SPCK). This book outlines the understanding of church and ministry within the major, ecumenically engaged churches. It offers an overview of the major Christian traditions, taking account of recent developments within the churches. Find out about how the churches see themselves in these essays by respected experts, and compare their understanding of key issues such as Christian leadership, mission, and Christian unity.
                                                     
Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement                   

Dictionary of the Ecumenical MovementDictionary of the Ecumenical Movement: Second Edition by Nicholas Lossky (Editor), Jose Miguez Bonino (Editor), John Pobee (Editor). The 700 entries in this dictionary have been written by leading figures in the ecumenical movement from all parts of the world. Entries are fully cross-referenced and many of the articles are enhanced by short bibliographies. Entries cover: faith and order; dialogue; mission and evangelism; communication; church and society; theological education; institutional histories; and relations of Orthodox, Protestants and Roman Catholics within the ecumenical movement. Biographical sketches outline the contributions of some of the individuals who have furthered the cause of ecumenism in the 20th century. Cross-references direct the reader to more detailed information or to matters of related interest.
                                                     
The Dignity of Difference                   

The Dignity of DifferenceThe Dignity of Difference: How to avoid the clash of civilisations by Jonathan Sachs. The Dignity of Difference is Rabbi Jonathan Sacks radical proposal for reconciling hatreds. It stands far above other books about globalization and the so-called clash of civilizations, both for what it has to say and for the grace with which it says it.........In this, his most prophetic work, Rabbi Sacks has written a guide for the perplexed.
                                                     
The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices                   

'The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices' by Kinnamon M and Cope, B.(eds) (WCC-Eerdmans). Included in this exhaustive collection of documents from the twentieth-century ecumenical movement are significant passages from the most widely influential texts produced by assemblies, conferences, and studies of the World Council of Churches and similar bodies, covering the three broad areas of historic concern within modern ecumenism: faith and order, life and work, and mission and evangelism. Designed as a resource for courses in ecumenism in theological seminaries and faculties of religion, the volume can also serve as a useful reference guide. In addition to selections from the World Council of Churches and other global Christian bodies, the collection includes texts from various regions of the world.
                                                     
Ecumenical Reception: Its Challenge and Opportunity                   

Ecumenical ReceptionIn 1988 William Rusch wrote a book tracing the development of the idea of reception up to that time. During the intervening years, both reflection on reception and the experience of attempting to engage in it have progressed considerably. In this 2007 publication, Rusch begins with a bird's-eye view of the term reception across several disciplines including law, philosophy and literary criticism before homing in on its theological import. He traces its use as a term and as a practice from the New Testament up to the twentieth century, painting a picture of a dynamic process that fosters unity and diversity among churches and spiritual communities. Finally, he examines the new chapter in the history of reception due to the establishment of the ecumenical movement, and considers what will be necessary for it to continue to move the church forward.
                                                     
Growth in Agreement                   

There are three volumes as follows:

Groth In AgreementGrowth in Agreement: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level by Harding Meyer

Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998 by Jeffrey Gros (Editor), William G. Rusch (Editor), Harding Meyer (Editor)

Growth in Agreement III: International Dialogue Texts and Agreed Statements, 1998-2005 by Jeffrey Gros (Editor), Thomas F Best (Editor), Lorelei F Fuchs (Editor)

Growth in Agreement IIIVolume III contains the official dialogue results and common statements issued between 1998 and 2005 by an astonishingly wide range of Christian churches and communions. Reflected here are the solid advances made by well-established dialogue partners, as well as explorations in dialogue by churches new to the dialogue process at world level. Also included is the ecclesiology text adopted by World Council of Churches member churches at their assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
                                                     
A Guide to the Church of England                   

The Church of England 'A Guide to the Church of England' by Martin Davie (Continuum) is precisely what it says, an explanation of Anglican structures and procedures. It might be valuable to anyone in ecumenical relationship with Anglicans locally and it is important reading for Methodists in the current Covenant relationship. A lively and informative guide to the Church of England, covering everything from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Thirty-Nine Articles; this is an invaluable resource that brings together in a single volume the diverse threads that make up the Church.

 


                                                     
The Identity of Anglicanism                   

The Identitiy of Anglicanism'The Identity of Anglicanism: Essentials of Anglican Ecclesiology' by Paul Avis (Continuum), explains the emphases and ecumenical stance of the Anglican churches. Paul Avis sets contemporary worldwide Anglicanism against its historical background and compares and contrasts the Anglican approach with that of other churches, particularly the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. This book focuses on the nature of the Anglican Communion, the role of bishops in Anglicanism, the theology of priesthood and the ordination of women as well as Anglican Eucharistic theology.
                                                     
In Search of the Catholic Spirit                   

'In Search of the Catholic Spirit' by D Chapman (Epworth) charts the history of Roman Catholic-Methodist relationships with particular relevance to the more recent dialogue. It is a major study of the ecumenical dialogue since the days of John Wesley. For Christians of all traditions who are interested in ecumenism or the catholicity of the Church, the result should form a fascinating study in convergence between two communities that have more in common than has often been supposed.
                                                     
Nature and the Name of Love: Religion for the Contemporary World                   

The Nature and the Name of LoveNature and the Name of Love: Religion for the Contemporary World by Martin Forward is a lively and challenging book for the intelligent enquirer who may wonder what all the fuss about religion has been! The author writes for people who believe that there is more to life than meets the eye, but who find the exclusive beliefs and practices of many religious people repellent and unconvincing. The book attempts to rescue religion as an inclusive phenomenon, which can bring people together to work for the flourishing of life on earth. It doesn't avoid questions of truth, as many such attempts do. Readers may not agree with the book's argument and conclusions. Nevertheless, they will be challenged to ask themselves: if not this, what interpretation of religion is best placed to humanize and divinize us?
                                                     
That they All May be One: The Call to Unity Today                   

'That They All May be One: The Call to Unity Today' by Kasper W. (Continuum). The head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity surveys the ecumenical scene from a Roman Catholic perspective. There is an Anglican review of this book.
                                                     
The Unity of Christians, the Vision of Paul Couturier                   

'The Unity of Christians, the Vision of Paul Couturier' by M Woodruff (ed) (Catholic League). This series of essays, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of the French Catholic priest who popularised the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, looks at his legacy and at spiritual ecumenism today.
                                                     
The Unity We Have and the Unity We Seek                   

'The Unity We Have and the Unity We Seek' J by Morris and N Sagovsky (eds) (Continuum). This book contains twelve studies by well-qualified authors, many of them already very well-known in the field of ecumenism. It represents stocktaking at the end of the twentieth century of "the unity we have" and a reassessment of "the unity we seek." It provides a well-documented overview of the field: a thorough and accessible introduction for everyone with an interest in ecumenism and an invaluable resource for everyone involved at any level. A substantial section charts some of the major ecumenical developments of the twentieth century and some of the new problems that have emerged.
                                                     
Whose Religion is Christianity?                   

Whose Religion is Christianity?Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel beyond the West by Lamin Sanneh. Lamin Sanneh presents a stimulating new outlook on faith and culture by exploring Christianity's vibrant expression and explosive growth in the non-Western world. 

 

 

 

Christ's Body in Corinth                   

Cover of 'Christ's Body in Corinth' by Yung Suk KimThis book, by Yung Suk Kim, comprises an analysis of Paul's understanding of the Body of Christ in his first epistle to the Corinthians. It makes the case an ecumenism based upon reconciliation rather than unity.

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