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Differences, Do They Still Make a Difference? a Response to Martien Brinkman

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This article is a reponse to Martien E. Brinkman's contribution 'A Different Kind of Ecumenism' in: F. L. Bakker (ed.), Rethinking Ecumenism. Strategies for the 21st Century (Zoetermeer: Meinema 2004, 93-104). Brinkman presents a methodological description of ecumenism, which focuses on a hermeneutics of coherence or confidence. In this perspective he sees spiritual ecumenism as 'a different kind of ecumenism'. Is it not rather a different dimension of ecumenism? In a second paragraph some serious questions are presented with regard to the way Brinkman connects this approach with the idea of complementarity. This seems not to do justice to the concept of complementarity as it is developed in science. The last part of this article regards the issue of inter- or cross-cultural theology. Brinkman sees the same hermeneutics as valid in inter-religious dialogue as well. But is complementarity to be expected here? E.g., are Muslims or Hindus complementary parts of a wider religious unity which in fact already exists, but has not yet been formulated adequately?


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