The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion: A Multilateral Evaluation?

By Gros, Jeffrey | Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion: A Multilateral Evaluation?


Gros, Jeffrey, Journal of Ecumenical Studies


As the Christian churches move forward on the pilgrimage toward full, visible unity to which they are called by Christ, various stages in this journey can be noted. In the last decades of the twentieth century, it became common to use the language of "full communion" for that moment in the journey at which two or more partners were able to put aside what each considered church-dividing and to celebrate together a future as one church. Even when only two churches unite, only on a national level, such unions are of theological significance for all Christians. It is one visible church that we are seeking, one faith, one sacramental life, and one mission that we are contemplating in the diversity of the Christian mystery, which is the church. The real, if imperfect, communion that links all who confess Christ's church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic makes any moment of reconciliation an occasion for celebration and for reflection by all Christian believers.

Faith and Order work in both the World Council of Churches (W.C.C.) and the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. provides an ideal venue for theological reflection on these ecclesiological developments within the churches and for the exploration of models of visible unity emerging in particular partnerships and contexts around the world. The focus of this survey will be to review some of the functions of Faith and Order within the one ecumenical movement; to observe the use of "full communion," especially among the churches in the United States; and to suggest what contributions Faith and Order can make.

I. Functions of Faith and Order

The first purpose of the W.C.C. skillfully articulates a clear goal for the ecumenical movement: "To call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and in one Eucharistic fellowship expressed in worship and common life in Christ, and to advance toward that unity that the world may believe." (1) It is this element of the one ecumenical movement that the Faith and Order movement is intended to serve. This formulation is seen by some as a comprehensive, brief statement of elements agreed upon among the churches that would be necessary for a consensus in ecclesiology sufficient for the unity of the church. However, it can, in fact, be an ecumenical compromise including the diversity of unresolved goals brought by various churches.

As it is interpreted, often a confessional rather than an ecumenical hermeneutic is used. For example, Methodists may subordinate the faith and sacramental elements to the drive for mission and action in the world, while Orthodox may feel that elements of mission are a distraction from the careful work on faith and eucharistic fellowship. The ecumenical program may be inclusive as stated in commitment to conciliar membership or in the constitutional commitment to seek unity with other churches. Nonetheless, those individuals or groups with particular goals can create competitiveness in the ecumenical community. This can be seen with some Catholics, for example, who prefer a particular Protestant or Orthodox position to that of the Catholic Church. (2)

Councils have an array of purposes, including evangelism, joint educational programming, social witness and service, and common prayer. However, Faith and Order within the one ecumenical movement has the particular task of serving unity through theological research. Within this vision a Faith and Order institution, such as a national commission, carries several functions. It can produce texts resolving issues that divide churches, provide materials for common prayer and guidelines for worship, contribute to the reception of international Faith and Order texts or bilateral agreements, contribute to the coordination of agreements between and among churches, and contribute to the reception of new or muted voices into the wider dialogue. This section of the essay deals with the last three of these functions, as well as some of the challenges provided by contemporary culture. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion: A Multilateral Evaluation?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.