Church, Ecumenism, and Eschatology

Douglas Farrow

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

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A teleological approach to ecumenism is directed precisely to making the partial communion existing between Christians grow towards full communion in truth and charity. But a sound ecumenism must be eschatological as well as teleological. Indeed, it must be eschatological if it is to continue being teleological. If teleology occupies itself with the divine imperative of growth in unity and communion, eschatology occupies itself with the conditions that pertain in the fulfillment of that imperative. It takes account of the Catholic Church's situation in the last times—or of history's new situation in the time of the church—and of its expectation of the last things. The modern ecumenical movement has from the beginning suffered from designs and agendas that fall short of full respect for the divine imperative. One root of the problem is the failure of eschatological nerve in the West, particularly in the liberal Protestantism shaped by Friedrich Schleiermacher's landmark work, The Christian Faith.

Keywords: Catholic Church; ecumenism; teleology; Christians; unity; communion; Protestantism; Friedrich Schleiermacher; The Christian Faith

Article.  9472 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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