Can a Renewal Movement Be Renewed? Questions for the Future of Ecumenism

Michael Kinnamon, Author
Michael Kinnamon. Eerdmans, $24 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7075-9
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The former general secretary of the National Council of Churches has assembled a series of speeches on the importance of ecumenism into a slim volume that offers good reasons for keeping the fires of cooperation kindled. Kinnamon (The Vision of the Ecumenical Movement and How It Has Been Impoverished by Its Friends) doesn’t shirk the truth: with the decline of mainline Protestant denominations, momentum for ecumenical relations has faltered. Still, there are worthy reasons to work together, not the least of which is theological: the Gospel demands it. In these pages are excellent suggestions for improving communication, forging trust, and creating hospitable working relations among diverse and disparate partners. Chapters on Jewish-Christian relations and interfaith dialogue offer useful dos and don’ts. Kinnamon is a passionate and skilled ecumenical leader, but the answer to the book’s central question remains in doubt. To the extent that the council was successful, it was because most of its members shared common stands on pressing issues. With the rise of non-denominational, evangelical, and Pentecostal churches, unity on pressing issues of the day will be harder to achieve. (Apr.)
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