A New Sociocultural Agenda in the Quest for the Unity of the Church
This chapter argues that during the twentieth century, the central theological agenda for working toward greater visible unity by overcoming existing confessional disagreements has been too narrowly defined. Instead it contends that a broader agenda that takes into consideration the sociocultural diversity within and among the Christian World Communions is necessary. National, ethnic, racial, or tribal differentiation codefines the identity of many churches, either officially or unofficially. These sociocultural identities should no longer be dismissed as nontheological factors but require sustained theological reflection and become part of the ecumenical ecclesiological discourse. It presents the inclusion of sociocultural diversity in theological labor as a new pathway for ecumenical dialogue in the twenty-first century.
KeywordsEthnic Identity Racial Identity Christian Tradition Local Church Christian Community
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- 1.The conference produced a longer and a shorter report on the theme of “Church and Community.” They can be found in J. H. Oldham, The Churches Survey Their Task: The Report of the Conference at Oxford, July 1937, on Church, Community and State (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937), 67–76, 188–240.Google Scholar
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