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Are You an Ecumenist? by Geoff Taylor

2019-12-30 12:55 PM | Cristina (Administrator)

The term "ecumenism" refers to efforts by Christians of different Church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is also often used to refer to efforts towards the visible and organic unity of different Christian denominations in some form.

The adjective ecumenical can also be applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation among Christians and their churches, whether or not the specific aim of that effort is full, visible unity. It can also be applied in the same way to other religions or to refer to unity between religions or between people in general - in this sense it means non-sectarian, non-denominational.

The terms ecumenism and ecumenical come from the Greek οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which means "the whole inhabited world," and was historically used with specific reference to the Roman Empire.[2] The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4:3) and the "whole inhabited earth" (Matthew 24:14) as the concern of all Christians.

In Christianity, even though there is an ecumenical church, the qualification ecumenical originally strove for cooperation between all churches and dioceses. Used in this sense, the term carries no connotation of re-uniting the historically separated Christian denominations but presumes a unity of local congregations in a worldwide communion.

In the context of the Fellowship’s Interfaith Committee, I like this term. I feel it applies to not only the independent churches but also to all the Urantia Book readers support organizations.

The third Sunday in Jan was established in 1950 by the Baha’i’s of Chicago as a day to focus on the “unity of religion.” Unity of religion is a core teaching of the Baháʼí Faith, which states that there is a fundamental unity in most of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God. It is one of the core teachings of the Baháʼí Faith, alongside the unity of God, and the unity of humanity. Sounds like the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of mankind to me.

What does it take to be an ecumenist? Understand the common Christ centric goals and work to support those goals in all organizations.

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