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Christianity in the Twentieth CenturyA World History$
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Brian Stanley

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196848

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196848.001.0001

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Is Christ Divided?

Is Christ Divided?

The Ecumenical Movement and Its Converse

(p.127) Chapter Six Is Christ Divided?
Christianity in the Twentieth Century

Brian Stanley

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the ecumenical movement. The twentieth century has sometimes been denominated by historians of Christianity as “the ecumenical century.” Narratives of the ecumenical movement typically begin with the World Missionary Conference, held in Edinburgh in June of 1910, which assembled some 1,215 Protestant delegates from various parts of the globe to devise a more effective common strategy for the evangelization of the world. Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, the Edinburgh conference has been widely identified as the birthplace of the formal ecumenical movement. Without it, there would be no World Council of Churches. Yet serious attempts to bridge divisions between Protestant Christians were already under way in India and China before 1910. Furthermore, the World Missionary Conference was precisely that—a gathering of mission executives and missionaries convened to consider questions of missionary policy. Delegates represented missionary agencies rather than churches, and discussion of questions of doctrine and church order was forbidden, in deference to the Church of England, whose endorsement would not have been given if the conference had been expected to discuss matters of faith and order with Nonconformists. The chapter then looks at the failure and success of the ecumenical movement.

Keywords:   ecumenical movement, Christianity, World Missionary Conference, World Council of Churches, Protestant Christians, evangelization, missionaries, church order

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