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Does Doctrine Still Divide?

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image of Ecclesiology

Against an old adage that ‘doctrine divides, service unites’, this article argues that all features of the ecumenical enterprise - evangelistic, humanitarian, moral, liturgical, sacramental, ecclesiological - bear a doctrinal dimension; the point is to discern and foster the unity in doctrine that is necessary to their pursuit. Twentieth-century doctrinal dialogues are surveyed, both in the multilateral arena (notably Faith and Order’s Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry) and in some representative bilateral cases. Their achievements are measured, and the remaining (and new) issues are noted. Attention is paid to the effect of the Roman Catholic Church’s official entry into the Ecumenical Movement with the Second Vatican Council’s decree ‘ Unitatis Redintegratio’, and Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical ‘ Ut Unum Sint ’ is viewed as both a recognition of a century’s progress in ecumenism and the setting of an agenda for continuing work.


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