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December 23, 2004

I am walking through this door, making my entrance into the cyber-world of blogging. My self expressed in a new arena.

I am reading The Rebirth of Orthodoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity, by Thomas Oden. I am encouraged by his analysis of what is happening in this waning era of terminal modernity. Here are some quotes:

“What is happening in this new ecumenism? God is at work in grassroots Christianity, awakening a groundswell of longing for classic ecumenical teaching in all communions. There are many local and lay manifestations of this unity. Though some are calling it an alternative ecumenical movement, my own view is that it is not alternative, but the original and genuine oecumene, in fertile continuity with the communion of the saints.” (p. 57)

“The new ecumenism is already widely dispersed among Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox believers, not as an organizational expression of institutional union, but as a movement of the Spirit already gradually dawning. The old ecumenism was largely a liberal Protestant artifact, with Eastern Orthodoxy included as a frustrated minority partner, while in the new ecumenism, both lowercase orthodoxy and uppercase Orthodoxy are central features.

The new ecumenism is above all committed unapologetically to ancient classical ecumenical teaching. That means that it has a high doctrine of scripture, a long-term view of cumulative historical consensus, and a classical ecumenical view of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit that makes no concession to political correctness. It adheres to the classic consensual doctrines of incarnation, atonement and resurrection, and the return of the Lord”

“While the old ecumenism has been waning, the new ecumenism has been quietly rediscovering ancient Christian ecumenism, without press notice, without fanfare. It is silently reclaiming the courage of the martyrs and the faith of the confessors, the resolve of the early councils, and the wisdom of the church fathers. It is engaged in rediscovering the truth as revealed, once for all, in Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is deepening the spiritual unity of the community of baptized believers worldwide without being locked into denominationalism.” (p. 61)

“Christians whose traditions have long distanced themselves from each other through separate and often competing church memories are now finding their unity in the classic consensus. The early Christian commentators on scripture most clearly express this classic consensus in a way that can be trusted by those who might otherwise be partisans. Classic Christianity, with its texts of many cultures and epochs, is a wide and welcoming umbrella. On this ecumenical ship gather conservative Protestants alongside Eastern Orthodox, Baptists with Catholics, Reformed with Wesleyans and charismatics, Anglicans with Pentecostals, high- with low-church adherents, and premodern traditionalists with postmodern classicists.” (p. 64)

“After centuries of separation, the orthodox way is at long last discovering its evangelical partners. For too long, evangelicals have remained distanced from many of the classical themes of orthodoxy.”

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