Ecumenism and Peace:
From Theory and Practice
to Pilgrimage and Companionship
by Fernando Enns
and World Council of Churches Press
ISBN (pbk2) 978-1-990827-04-4, (ebook) 978-1-990827-01-3
$34.95 CAN / $33.95 USD / 33.00€
The globally reconciling-conciliar Church is on the path - the via transformativa - toward unity through action and reflection, guided by the Gospel visions of justice and peace. Fernando Enns analyzes what has been learned in recent decades on the ‘testing grounds’ of ecumenical theory and practice, then demonstrates how the new era of the WCC’s action-oriented programs produce ongoing, diverse ecclesial efforts toward social and spiritual transformation.
Enns examines in depth the WCC’s ‘Decade to Overcome Violence,’ leading to the theological basis of the ‘Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,’ a further outgrowth of what the oikoumene has learned through peace-centered ecumenism. The development of a full, coherent, inspiring, globally-responsible and effective commitment to seek ‘just peace’ remains an urgent task as the Church considers Christ’s Companionship as our model for this journey.
Part practical guide to ecumenical methodology and part theological interpretation and prognosis, Enns shows how both ecumenism and peace are, in essence, the mission and purpose of the Church today.
About the Author. Dr. Fernando Enns is Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and Director of the Amsterdam Center for Religion and Peace & Justice Studies. In addition, he is Professor of (Peace-) Theology and founder of the Center for Peace Church Theology at the University of Hamburg. Since 1998, a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Enns has been moderator of several international study groups on behalf of the WCC. He is also vice chair of the Association of Mennonite Churches in Germany (AMG).
Starting with a synopsis of the recent theoretical developments and topics in global ecumenism, especially related to nonviolence, Enns examines in depth the Decade to Overcome Violence, leading to the theological basis of the WCC’s subsequent “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” as a further outgrowth of what the Church has learned. The development of a coherent, ecumenically-oriented and advanced theory of “just peace” still remains one of the urgent tasks for the near future as the Church now considers the theological model of Companionship for this journey.
“The universality of the Church in all its particularities will only be conceived through ecumenism. It is implied that the present theological reflection is not aimed at a fixed endpoint, a putative final achievement of a certain type of institutionalized unity. Instead it is an ever-advancing process that will constructively and artfully envelop the greatest potential for all members of the one Church: this is ecumenism “in the making.”
“Ultimately, these extensions, as can be shown, do not spring from one academic school of thought, but rather from the experienced ecclesial reality, which demands an adequate, Gospel-worthy ecclesial existence and function of the Church as oikoumene.”
“If peace theology reflects the anticipation and celebration of God’s peace (leiturgia), as well as the witness (martyria) and the commitment to a just peace (diakonia) of the entire ecclesial community (koinonia), then ecumenism has at its core the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5).”
“Ecumenical dialogue is not an end in itself. The intrinsic motivation arises from the serious effort to ensure the credibility of Christian witness. A Church that is divided into separate, mutually-condemning “institutional churches” can hardly be convincing in its proclamation – in either its words or actions.”
“The Church – in the sense of the ecumenical community – is then the very capacity of being able to live free from violence. It is a welcoming community, which, through its nature and essence already changes realities, not in spite of but because its members see themselves as simul justus et peccator – at once as sinners and justified.”