Die konkretisering van eenheid in 'n plurale en gebroke ekumeniese gemeenskap : 'n gereformeerd-kerkregtelike beskouing
Van der Merwe, Rudolph Marthinus
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Reformed ecclesiastical fellowship worldwide implies the vocation for unity in ecumenicity and is confessed as an integral part of faith. The realization/embodiment of this vocation, however, has resulted in various, even diverging, points of view. The study of the concretization of unity in a plural and fractional ecumenical fellowship was undertaken by examining Scripture and confession, and focuses inter alia on the following aspects: the concepts of ecumenicity and ecclessiastical unity; the relation between kingdom and church; unity as an attribute of the church, and the diversity in the unity. The practice of the pursuit and realization/embodiment of reformed ecumenicity has been tested according to founded guidelines that Scripture and confession have revealed. The findings or this reformed church-polity study are the following: 1. Aspects like ecclessiastical ethos and tradition, historic church-political development and the interpretation of Scripture and confession effect church political points of departure in such a way that different, and sometimes diverging (and scismatic), points of view obstruct the fuller realization of ecumenical unity. 2. Reformed church polity can serve the embodiment and functioning of ecumenical fellowship in a more effective way, as far as it is based on the requirements of Scripture and confession. 3. A justified/well-founded concept of Scriptural and confessional requirements, and the thorough embodiment thereof in church-political guidelines, effectively enhance the uniform, effective and functional embodiment of unity in a plural and broken ecumenical fellowship: The following church-political guidelines ought to contribute to the concretization of unity in a plural and fractional ecumenical fellowship to further a more effective realization and functioning of unity in ecumenicity: • The fact that the King of God's kingdom, who is Head and King of his church, is also the Firstborne of the oikomene, grants an unlimited vocation to churches in ecumenical fellowship. • Churches in ecumenical fellowship acknowledge that only Christ has the sovereign authority to determine fellowship with His one and only church. Reformed churches should therefore practise ecumenicity only in accordance with the requirements of Scripture. • Ecumenical unity ought to be lived according to the concept correspondence, perceived from the semantic field of its original meaning, that is unity in dogma, lithurgy an discipline. • In principle the one catholic (or general) church, that is locally embodied, exercises ecumenical fellowship within a bond With other churches. Local churches, in contact · with another church denomination, act together in a bond of one fellowship of churches. Ecumenical fellowship should therefore not be exercised from a paradigm of a "structure of churches". • The point of departure for ecumenical fellowship cannot be sought in the brokenness of this sinful world, but in fellowship with Jesus Christ, the Head and King of his church.
- Theology