The Ecumenical Movement Part 1 -- By: Rene Pache

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:427 (Jul 1950)
Article: The Ecumenical Movement Part 1
Author: Rene Pache

The Ecumenical Movement
Part 1

Rene Pache

[Editor’s note: The 1950 Griffith Thomas Lectures of Dallas Seminary had ecumenicity for their subject. As in the past, Bibliotheca Sacra will print the addresses in successive numbers beginning with the present issue. This year the lectureship was given April 18–21 by Dr. Rene Pache, principal of Institut Emmaus in Switzerland, one of the leading evangelicals from abroad.]

The Beginnings

Origin. Ever since the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches in 1054 which was followed in turn by the Reformation, Christendom has been divided into three major parts each estranged from the others and often even hostile. In addition there came the Conference of Marburg (1529 A.D.) at which the Reformers themselves split—and thus the religious world broke up into a multitude of different churches, sects and movements. Centuries went by, during which time all thought of reuniting seemed vain.

A bit more than a century ago, however, a profound change began to manifest itself, which was to dominate the religious scene more and more. Different movements appeared whose influence was to become world-wide: the world’s Evangelical Alliance (1846), the YMCA (1855) and a bit later the YWCA and the world’s Christian Student Federation (1895).

Here is what the Ecumenical Review says of the last-named: “It is well known and often acknowledged that the World’s Student Christian Federation has prepared the way for the ecumenical movement and has been the training ground for many of its leaders. This can be said of men like Soderblom, Mott and Visser’t Hooft,”1 and others might easily be named. “It is a truism that the

World’s Student Christian Federation has been in the past and is in the present one of the main life-streams from which the Ecumenical Movement sprang and is nurtured.”2

One may also mention the international temperance organization, the international Sunday School committee with its 35,000,000 scholars enrolled, and the Universal Alliance for International Friendship among the Churches formed in 1905. In 1892 a conference took place at Grindelwald between Anglicans and nonconformists. There Father Hyacinthe declared, “Luther saved the church in the sixteenth century by dividing it; it will be our task in the twentieth century to save the church by reuniting it.”

In 1910 the first International Missionary Conference at Edinburgh brought together 1200 delegates from 160 missionary societies. It was there that Bishop Brent of t...

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