I’m honored that the New Epistles blog has been put on the “Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs” at Biblical Learning Blog (http://BibleCollege.org). I guess this means that I’m ecumenical…but what does “ecumenical” mean? Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines “ecumenical” as:
promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation.
However, there are different levels of ecumenism. On a basic level, ecumenism tries to overcome barriers to unify congregations through cooperative efforts to increase our understanding of one another’s religious/spiritual beliefs. This is where I’m at. I am all for this type of ecumenism because God calls us to enter into a true spirit of Christian unity.
On a much grand scale, ecumenism tries to unify the ecclesiastical structures of denominations in order to form one official worldwide church with the ultimate goal of achieving a single “organic union”. This type of ecumenism is not true ecumenism; rather, it is dictatorial and can even border on the tyrannical through a forced and artificial structure devoid of a true spirit of unity. My personal feelings toward this is that this oversteps the will of God (e.g., Tower of Babel in Genesis 11).
An inherent weakness or danger in this type of ecumenism is that our preferences for various and beautiful expressions of the Christian faith (e.g., biblical interpretation; worship styles; etc.) can easily be diminished, or even squashed, through a single organic union. Personally, I would much rather prefer to see a multiplicity of theologies and worship styles. This is natural to human nature because each person has different personalities, tastes, and ways of understanding religion and the world. Therefore, I think a multiplicity of Christian denominations, with a heart for true ecumenism, is the most desirable way for a “one holy catholic church”.
What is your view of ecumenism?