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The Apostles' Creed is a Christian creed often used during baptism that declares a summary of the Apostles' teachings. This creed shows a trinitarian structure to affirm the belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Apostolic succession means a series of bishops consecrated by other bishops consecrated similarly in succession, going back to apostles. Another view is witnessing the apostolic faith, in communion with the other churches, who are witnesses of the same apostolic faith.
A bilateral dialogue involves two parties seeking awareness and deepening the relationship. In ecumenical dialogue, it is by two churches coming together to consider past disagreements and seek ways toward unity.
The Charismatic Movement is the international Christian movement promoting beliefs and practices focused on individuals and communities experiencing, through the Holy Spirit, the presence, power, and love of God. This movement began around 1960 among Protestants and Orthodox, and around 1967 among Roman Catholics.
Conciliar fellowship is the full communion of churches which is realized through the confession of the same faith and the acceptance of the same sacraments and ministry.
Confessionalism is giving loyalty and affirmation to a formal and written statement by someone who wants to be a member of the organization. In the confessional denomination or confessional church, the affirmation is centered on the creeds or doctrinal statements of the denomination or church.
Consensus is a process of finding the common mind of a group without formal voting, engaging in dialogue that is respectful, mutually supportive, and empowering while prayerfully seeking to discern God’s will. Consensus decision-making is used in all WCC governing and consultive meetings.
Christian tradition is the beliefs that are shared from one generation to the next. It also represents the process through which those beliefs are transmitted.
Christian Churches Together
Christian Churches Together gathers various churches and organizations to promote loving relationships, cultivate theological learning, and discern how best to witness together. Instead of attempting to compromise their distinctiveness, Christian Churches Together urges churches to develop relationships among themselves.
Christian World Communions
Christian World Communions are the globally organized churches or groupings (families) of churches with common theological and historical roots, confessions, or structure. A few examples are Anglican Churches, Baptist Churches, Evangelical Churches, Lutheran Churches, Orthodox Churches, The Catholic Church, etc...
Doctrines are the particular teachings on concepts of Christian belief by particular churches. For example, different churches have different understandings of salvation, and so these churches hold different “doctrines” on salvation.
Doctrine of Church/Ecclesiology
Ecclesiology is derived from the Greek words ekklēsia (congregation, church) and logia (knowledge). It is the study by the church of its own existence, historical development, identity, polity, and purpose.
Doctrine of Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity refers to the one being of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the primary statement of faith that distinguishes Christianity from other monotheistic religions and unites the Christian Church.
The doxology is a liturgical expression of praise to God. Three common doxologies are
-Gloria in Excelsis - mainly used by Catholic and Anglican traditions,
-Gloria Patri - used by most traditions at the close of psalmody
-metrical doxology - most Protestant traditions in conjunction with the presentation of tithes and offerings.
The ecumenical councils were the official gatherings of church leaders from all over the world. These councils aimed to discuss various issues of theology and church practice and make binding decisions for the church at large. The first two ecumenical councils are The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) and The Council of Constantinople (AD 381).
Ecumenism is the movement towards worldwide Christian unity. The focus is to recover the apostolic sense of the early church’s unity in diversity and help the church witness as one body of Christ among all peoples and nations.
The 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference was both the culmination of the nineteenth century missions movement and the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement in the twentieth century. It brought together churches for the sake of world evangelization.
The episcopacy is the office of a bishop. The church government system exists in various denominations to oversee congregations in a region, usually with three ministry orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. Bishops are meant to help preserve the teachings of the apostles.
The word Eucharist (Holy Communion or Lord’s Supper) is from the Greek eucharistia, which means “thanksgiving.” Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Despite doctrinal differences, all churches practice a form of it.
Faith and Order Movement
The “faith” represents what different churches believe and what disagreements prevent unity. The “order” represents how different churches organize their ministry and which disagreements prevent unity. The Faith and Order movement undertakes theological studies to agree on their differences to move closer to unity on belief and organization of ministry.
Federal unity is unity that keeps denominational autonomy by recognizing differences and coherence. Denominations remain separate while covenanting to cooperate together in practical matters.
The addition of filioque (“and from the son”) in the Nicene Creed split the Western (Roman Catholic and Protestant) and Eastern churches in 1054. The relationship improved following the Second Vatican Council, which recognized the validity of the sacraments in the Eastern churches. The Catholic–Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965 withdrew the exchange of the ex-communications and created new ecumenical relationships.
Formation of the Bible Canon
A biblical canon is a collection of books in the Bible that emerged through a prolonged period of debate, but the final list is considered inspired by God. However, differences still exist between the canons of different Christian denominations.
Global Christian Forum
The GCF is a global gathering of Christian churches and organizations, bringing together all the major streams of world Christianity. It is an open space where all Christians can meet to nurture unity by fostering mutual respect and understanding and by addressing common challenges.
Life and Work Movement
The Life and Work Movement focuses on the cooperation of churches in the practical application of faith in ethical, social, economic, and political problems in the world.
The liturgical movement began in the Catholic Church and spread to many other Christian churches, including the Anglican, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches in the twentieth century to reform worship. The efforts of the ecumenical liturgical movement began in 1937 when the Edinburgh Conference on Faith and Order established a Commission on Ways of Worship.
The word comes from the Greek leitourgia, which means “work of the people.” For Christians, it is our corporate worship service. Churches are united through the worship practices that we share.
Local Ecumenical Partnerships
Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs) are formed locally when Christian denominations work together under a formal agreement. This is done by setting up a single congregation, sharing a church building, or co-operating in chaplaincy.
Marks of the Church (One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic)
The Marks of the Church are used to describe the Christian Church, which is expressed in the Nicene Creed: 1) "One" means the single, united Church, 2) "Holy" means the Church belongs to God, 3) "Catholic" means the Church is universal across the world, and 4) "Apostolic" means the Church is rooted in the origins and beliefs handed to the apostles.
The multilateral dialogues involve more than two parties seeking awareness and deepening the relationship. In ecumenical dialogue, more than two churches are coming together to consider past disagreements and seek ways toward unity.
National Council of Churches
A national council of churches is an ecumenical organization that is formed at the national level to further unity among different Christian communities. The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, usually called National Council of Churches (NCC), is a partnership of 37 member communions and over 30 million individuals.
The Nicene Creed is an ecumenical creed that most churches accept. This creed regards Jesus as divine and "begotten of the Father," and this became part of Christian teachings.
North American Academy of Ecumenists
The NAAE is an academic society of ecumenical scholars and activists from across North America. It promotes scholarship, church life, and pastoral practice in the service of Christian unity.
Organic unity is the dissolution of separate denominational churches into a unity with a common structure. This will reflect the traditions and practices of the inherited denominations.
“Orthodoxy” means “right belief” or “right worship.” It stands for the commonly accepted thoughts and beliefs from the early stages of Christianity.
Receptive ecumenism is asking other church traditions what our tradition needs to learn from them rather than asking what other traditions need to learn from us. This is to deepen the respective authentic identities and improve the relationships among different traditions.
Recognition is the goal of acknowledging something as valid, whether a person’s confession of faith as genuine, whether a sacrament is valid, or whether a community is truly a church.
The word is derived from the Latin sacramentum, which means obligation, oath, mystery, or rite. In the Church, the sacrament represents a sign or symbol in which God’s grace is seen through material elements. Baptism and Eucharist are the commonly accepted sacraments by all the traditions of the Christian community.
Spiritual ecumenism is the “change of heart and holiness of life” that leads to unity. It includes public and private prayer for the unity of Christians as the driving force of the ecumenical movement.
Synodality is a collegiality of bishops or representatives from various levels in the church's structure. Synods can also be an advisory panel to the head of a denomination.
The word theology (Latin theologia) is derived from the Greek theos (“God”) and logos (“reason”), which literally means the “study of God.” Later, the word theology became the expression of the academic study of Christian belief. In the 18th century, this broadened into multiple branches such as Biblical, Systematic, Historical, Practical, etc.
The Second Vatican Council is the 21st worldwide council recognized by the Catholic Church. The Decree on Ecumenism recognizes that the Holy Spirit has used, and continues to use, other Churches as means of salvation. This opened ecumenical dialogues between the Catholic Church and other Christian traditions.
Visible Church vs. Invisible Church
The visible church consists of all those who identify themselves as Christians regardless of their tradition and denomination. The invisible church is the fellowship of chosen people by God from all generations and places.
Week of prayer for christian unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international ecumenical Christian observance in the Christian calendar when Christians come together to pray for unity. Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18-25 January, between the Feasts of St Peter and St Paul.
World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches is the worldwide fellowship of churches that confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures. WCC aims to work together for unity, justice, and peace to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.