The Ecumenical Movement Part 2 -- By: Rene Pache

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:428 (Oct 1950)
Article: The Ecumenical Movement Part 2
Author: Rene Pache


The Ecumenical Movement
Part 2

Rene Pache

(Continued from the July-September Number, 1950)

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition were numbered 36–76, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–41 respectively.}

Protestants in the Movement

Now that we have spoken of the background and the constitution of the ecumenical movement we must also acquaint ourselves with some of its more representative members, Protestant and Greek Orthodox. First a consideration of the former group.

Anglicans. The Anglican church occupies a unique position in Christendom. In leaving Rome she retained the traditional forms of the church and of its worship, and her episcopacy still claims apostolic succession. The Anglican church is also seeking to serve as a bridge (via media) between the confessions found in the ecumenical movement. If we may use an expression of Archbishop Soderblom, she wishes to have “an evangelical spirit in a Catholic body.” Dr. C. F. Garbett, Archbishop of York, declared that Anglicanism has received a special calling from God to lead Christians back to unity, “because it is composed of both Catholic and Protestant elements.” As early as the last century the well-known Catholic writer Joseph de Maistre observed, “If Christians ever unite—as everything calls them to do—it seems that the impulse should come from the Church of England.” The Anglican church has the Archbishop of Canterbury as its head, and is spread throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. Since 1867 the Lambeth Conference brings together its bishops every decade for consultation.

As to individual character, the Anglican church is

composed of groups differing widely in their faith. The High Church element is very ritualistic and tends strongly toward Catholicism, but in many places the Low Church element is very evangelical and even “fundamentalist,” while between these elements lie all the shades of liberalism. Father Congar defines the situation in these terms: “The Anglican church is a body whose unity is sociological and historic, or even liturgical, but not doctrinal. In her midst denial and affirmation of the points which we consider the very substance of the faith go hand in hand. In fact, we cannot consider an organization in which it is possible to live and exercise authority, all the while denying the miraculous birth and historic resurrection of our Lord, as possessed of the full and true unity of the church.”1 In the first lecture we have already quoted the opinion of Doctor Garvie on the matter. We mention further an article from the Ecumenic...

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