From conciliar ecumenism to transformative receptive ecumenism

Plaatjies van Huffel, Mary-Anne (2017)

CITATION: Plaatjies van Huffel, M. A. 2017. From conciliar ecumenism to transformative receptive ecumenism. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 73(3):1-13, doi:10.4102/hts.v73i3.4353.

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


This article attends to ecumenicity as the second reformation. The ecumenical organisations and agencies hugely influenced the theological praxis and reflection of the church during the past century. The First World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has been described as the most significant event in church history since the Reformation during the past decade. We saw the emergence of two initiatives that are going to influence ecumenical theology and practice in future, namely the Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Learning research project, based in Durham, United Kingdom, and the International Theological Colloquium for Transformative Ecumenism of the WCC. Both initiatives constitute a fresh approach in methodology to ecumenical theology and practice. Attention will be given in this article to conciliar ecumenism, receptive ecumenism, transformative ecumenism and its implications for the development of an African transformative receptive ecumenism. In doing so, we should take cognisance of what Küng says about a confessionalist ghetto mentality: ‘We must avoid a confessionalistic ghetto mentality. Instead we should espouse an ecumenical vision that takes into consideration the world religions as well as contemporary ideologies: as much tolerance as possible toward those things outside the Church, toward the religious in general, and the human in general, and the development of that which is specifically Christian belong together!’

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