Ecumenical means world-wide or universal. Applied to Christian churches, it implies the oneness of Christians in the faith, wherever they may be found. This unity can be either a spiritual reality apart from organizations of men or an effort to create some federations of churches or some merger of denominations. We call the spirit of unity "ecumenicity"; and the organizational effort the "ecumenical movement." The creation of national and world-wide councils of churches we label "counciliar ecumenism."

The first significant effort in modern times to encourage cooperation among Protestants was the Evangelical Alliance. Organized in London in 1846. Then in 1908 thirty-one American denominations joined in the Federal Council of Churches. In 1950 this Council was absorbed by a larger body, the National Council of Churches of Christ. Yet the most ambitious expression of ecclesiastical ecumenism is the World Council of Churches, formed in 1948 at Amsterdam.

The early decades of the ecumenical movement were overshadowed by four towering leaders: an American, John R. Mott; a Canadian, Charles H. Brent; a Swede, Nathan Soderblom; and a Dutchman, Willem A. Visser’t Hooft.

[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, Ecumenism, Evangelical, Federal-Council-of-Churches, history, John-R.-Mott, Nathan-Soderblom, National-Council-of-Churches, World-Council-of-Churches[/tags]


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