This is the sixth of eight posts reflecting upon a recent paper released by the Conference of European Churches. The background can be found in a post on Methodist Ecumenical News. The paper is Visions of Unity in Our Churches - Points of Convergence.
The report includes eight points of convergence and I thought it might be interesting to consider them one by one.
“One Holy Catholic and Apostolic” is the starting point of the theological reflection on unity. The unity of the Church has to find expression in a Catholicity formed by a common confession of the Apostolic faith, common worship/liturgy, and a shared life and mission.
So, 'One Holy Catholic and Apostolic' is the starting point? A starting point, maybe a good one. But the starting point? Really?
Let's be clear, the creeds divided the church. There were disagreements before the creeds but the great schism between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions are based upon one instance of particular reading. Furthermore, the non-Chalcedon's are highly significant in Christian history, even though they were divided from the Roman Empire because of differences over the creeds.
And how on earth are they intending to enforce common worship and liturgy? Once again we're back to control and the inability to conceive of the church without entrenched leadership. It is the accumulation or centralisation of power that leads to divisions.
We need a much more careful analysis of what causes divisions and how we might order our lives as Christians so that we share our traditions rather than enforce them.