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Ecumenism: A Guide for the Perplexed
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Ecumenism: A Guide for the Perplexed

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Bloomsbury 2017

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Ecumenism: A Guide for the Perplexed is a comprehensive introduction to the methods, achievements, and future prospects of the modern ecumenical movement. The authors begin the volume by charting out a serviceable definition of ecumenism, a term that has long been a source of confusion for students of theology and church history. They review the chronology of the modern ecumenical movement and highlight the major events, figures, accomplishments, and impasses. This historical survey is followed by critical examinations of three significant challenges for contemporary ecumenical theology and practice. Along the way, the authors provide commentary upon the difficulties and prospects that the ecumenical movement might anticipate as it enters this new millennium.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Offers an introductory history to the modern ecumenical movement
  • Focuses on the events, figures, themes, and issues related to the modern ecumenical movement
  • Highlights the ways evangelicals have contributed to ecumenical enterprises



  • Introduction: What is Ecumenism? Toward a Definition of A Perplexing Term

Part I: The History of the Modern Ecumenical Movement

  • From Edinburgh 1910 to the World Council of Churches: Early Trajectories of the Modern Ecumenical Impulse
  • The Great Decade: Ecumenical Advances During the 1960s
  • Conciliar Breakthroughs and the Flowering of the Ecumenical Dialogues
  • The Evangelical Trajectory of Modern Ecumenism

Part II: Three Ecumenical Challenges for Christianity’s Third Millennium

  • The Problem of Basic Differences
  • The Challenge of Ecumenical Reception
  • Criticisms of the Modern Ecumenical Movement

Praise for the Print Edition

This lucid introduction to the modern ecumenical movement offers an informative and reliable overview of its history and obstacles. The result is a broad, yet theologically astute orientation to ecumenism. Particularly noteworthy is the claim that contemporary ecumenism is unintelligible apart from the contributions of evangelical Christianity. Nelson and Raith’s passion for the church’s unity will draw in many of those skeptical of ecumenism

—Hans Boersma, Regent College, Canada

Nelson and Raith here offer a perceptive and penetrating analysis of the history, accomplishments, and difficulties attending the ecumenical movement. In briskly written chapters, entirely suitable for students, they summarize the debates over “basic theological difference”, over the ongoing reception of agreements, and over the ultimate goal of ecumenical dialogue. This volume is an exceedingly useful and deeply significant milestone in contemporary ecumenical studies

—Thomas G. Guarino, Seton Hall University, USA

This volume is a work of penitence. Recognizing the disjunction between Jesus’ prayer for unity and the indifference among contemporary Christians over the fragmented state of the church, Nelson and Raith come to us not as dispassionate commentators or naive idealists; they are personal guides on an honest journey toward ecclesial unity. Erudite and warm-hearted, they explain why ecumenism is an imperative for all Christians in whom the Spirit dwells

—Chris Cataldo, New Covenant Church, Naperville, USA

As a Catholic theologian, I know that I cannot do justice to any doctrinal topic without carefully reading and learning from what Orthodox and Protestant Christians teach about it—but before reading this book I doubted that anyone needed a book on the ecumenical movement itself. Nelson and Raith’s eloquent and incisive book has completely converted me. One finds here not only a short masterwork of historical theology, but also a properly theological approach to measuring the history and purposes of the past century of Christian ecumenism, attentive to important areas of difference and agreement alike. This jewel of a book is an extraordinary resource for all Christians who today hear the Spirit’s urgent call to draw near to each other in Christ

—Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary, USA

Product Details

About the Authors

R. David Nelson is Acquisitions Editor at Baker Academic and Brazos Press in Grand Rapids, MI.

Charles Raith II, Ph.D., (Ave Maria University, USA) is Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Director of the Paradosis Center for Theology and Scripture at John Brown University, USA. Along with numerous journal articles, he is author of Aquinas and Calvin on Romans: God's Justification and Our Participation (2014) and After Merit: John Calvin’s Theology of Works and Reward (2016).

Sample Pages from the Print Edition