1996, SCM Press, pbk
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About this book: This book, by a Methodist Minister with wide experience of churches in Britain and abroad, has arisen out of a consuming interest in the ecumenical movement in England over a period of years. Written in an open and attractive way, it describes the history of relations between churches since their earlier divisions, and focuses on particularly on the situation at the present time. Was the church united in New Testament times, and what were the problems which caused divisions? After looking at these questions against the background of the early church and the Reformation, David Butler then looks at beliefs which has so often been in conflict in the past as they appear to others. What are the 'strange ideas' of Protestants and Catholics and why is each side so suspicious of the other? Why can't Anglicans and Methodists agree, and what about Catholics and Anglican, Methodists and Catholics? Of course, great progress has been made, and in particular growing convergence on understanding the bible is highlighted, and the reconciliation over Reformation controversies is noted. There are also chapters on most recent ecumenical developments and on ecumenical spirituality. Then comes a description of the new scene: the role of the Black Churches in the ecumenical movement , and the contriubtion of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. Here is a book which any Christian can understand, and its infectious enthusiasm brings to life a vital cause, which to some seems to have got bogged down with impasses or dulled by uninspiring statements reading perilously like bureaucracy
1. Was the Church United in New Testament Times?
-Unity and diversity in the New Testament
2. What's Worth Keeping from the Early Church?
-Scriptures; Creeds; Ministry; Churches; Sacraments; Discipline
3. A Theology of Ecumenism
-Its scriptural basis and the implications for visible unity
4. Past Problems in a Nutshell
-Gnosticism; Marcionism; Montanism; Arianism; Controversy in the Early Church
5. The Reformation Divides and Subdivides
-Luther and the Reformers; Puritans; Brownists; Baptists; Quakers; Methodists and Others
6. Strange Ideas: Protestant
-Scripture alone; Believers' baptism; Inspired by the Spirit; Fellowship; Hymn Singing
7. Strange Ideas: Catholic
-Idolatry? Papal Infallibility? More than scripture; The place of Mary; The Saints
8. Is there convergence about the Bible?
-Possible Positions; Problems; The Early Church; Modern Scholarship; Fundamentalism
9. The English Scene: Why are Protestants so Suspicious of Catholics?
-Relations between Rome and England to the Reformation and beyond; Persecution of Catholics; Nineteenth Century Disputes
10. Why Can't Anglicans and Methodists Make It?
-Eighteenth Century History; Hopes of the 1960s; The Present Situation
11. What of Catholics and Anglicans?
-Early Endeavours and Failures - ARCIC I and II; Anglican Orders
12. What of Methodists and Catholics?
-From the eighteenth century to international dialogue; Work of the British Committee
13. We Are All Members One of Another
-Methodist Unity; LEPs; Ministerial Training; the United Reformed Church; Lessons of the Covenant; Ecumenical Apologetics
14. The New Ecumenical Scene: Not Strangers but Pilgrims, and after
-The NSBP Process; Association of Interchurch Families; Society for Ecumenical Studies; Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary
15. Do the Reformation Controversies Still Divide?
-Justification by faith; The Place of Councils; The Papacy; The Eucharist; Visible Unity
16. Ecumenical Convergence in Spirituality
-Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; Protestant Problems; The Retreat Movement
17. The New Scene: Black and White
-Early difficulties in England; Black spirituality; The Black Churches and Ecumenism
18. The New Scene: The New Christians
-The Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements; House Churches; Hymnody; The Supernatural
19. Finding the Perfect Church
-Objective and subjective approaches - 'I need your faith to make mine whole'
Bibliography; Notes Index