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Christianity and the Wider Ecumenism (New…

Christianity and the Wider Ecumenism (New Era Books)

by Peter C. Phan

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How has Christian tradition developed its understanding of the problem of salvation for non-Christians? How do the Christian churches appraise the spiritual values of those other religions whose members collectively make up the majority of mankind? Christianity and the Wider Ecumenism explores the growing shift from efforts toward unity within Christianity to broader, more far-reaching attempts at greater harmony among world religions (the "wider ecumenism"). Editor Peter Phan traces the trend back to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) but notes that, in the last ten years or so, the movement has become pronounced. in addition to Vatican II, the World Council of Churches has established a Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and ideologies. Also, the growing number of courses on campus in comparative religions testifies to the critical importance of interfaith studies and dialogue in our religiously plural world. Despite resistance by some Christians to this new trend, there is a willingness on the part of others to support the "wider ecumenism," even to abandon any claim to Christ's/Christianity's uniqueness, definitiveness, absoluteness, and superiority. They rightly point to the need for faith in God as Absolute Mystery, to Christian praxis in favor of justice and freedom, and to the enormous historical suffering and conflicts, caused by the myth of Christian uniqueness. They add that we live today in a world village in which dialogue with other religionists and societies, as full equals, is imperative, perhaps for our very survival. Not mere contact but active cooperation and mutual understanding is required now more than ever to deal with urgent global issues involving mass poverty and starvation, religious fanaticism, the threat to the environment, and the omnipresent danger of nuclear destruction. These problems are far too important to be left to governments. The essays in this volume are the Product of fifty leading scholars, from across the Christian spectrum, seeking to clarify and to affirm the immense significance of interreligious dialogue for Christianity in our new planetary society.… (more)
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