Posts Tagged ‘ecumenism’

People of Bread

Monday, November 8th, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Bread is a remarkable food. Growing up on bread in rural Germany, I often contemplated why the Church used paper-thin, tasteless substitutes to represent the bread at the celebration of the eucharist. As a child, I was a regular visitor at the local bakery, which belonged to a friend’s father. The aroma of the freshly baked loaves filled the entire building, and we couldn’t wait to eat the first slice. The corner piece was generally the most desired part of the bread, although we also enjoyed eating the entire loaf with our hands, starting from the center. In the 1980s, bread took on new forms to entice the community: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds were added to the dough and, when baked, created a nutty scent that was almost irresistible. Getting together was as simple as putting bread on the table. At church, little was found of that table fellowship. Read the rest of this entry »

Pentecostalism and Christian Unity by Wolfgang Vondey

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 by Timothy Lim Teck Ngern

Wolfgang Vondey (ed.), Pentecostalism and Christian Unity: Ecumenical Documents and Critical Assessments (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2010). 277 pp. $ 33.00

Pentecostalism and Christian Unity is a remarkable collation of fourteen essays by nine international scholars. The 277-page volume discusses Pentecostalism’s affinity with predicaments regarding the pursuit of Christian unity. In my opinion, the book shows promise as a textbook on Pentecostal ecclesiology and ecumenism. Following an editorial introduction to the nature of Pentecostal involvement in ecumenism, part 1 contains six essays analyzing the heritage of Pentecostalism and the ecumenical movement. Historian Douglas Jacobsen examines the perspectives of eight early North American Pentecostal theologians on Christian dis/unity. Historical theologian and ecumenist Harold Hunter investigates to what end global Pentecostalism and the modern ecumenical movement represent “two movements of the Holy Spirit.” Carmelo E. Alvarez recounts the struggle of Pentecostal Church of Chile and the Pentecostal Mission Church of Chile in joining the World Council of Churches. Paul van der Laan draws from Pentecostals’ long and successful dialogue with the Reformed communities in the Netherlands as a model for moving from rejection (of the other) to that of acceptance and choosing unity. Raymond Pfister’s chapter focuses on a Pentecostal pedagogy for reconciling Christian divisions. Finally, Cecil Robeck Jr. shares lessons from his long-standing involvement in the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue, a must read for Pentecostals serious about the potentials and pitfalls for ecumenical participation. Read the rest of this entry »

My Church, Your Church, but not Everybody’s Church

Monday, June 21st, 2010 by Wolfgang Vondey

Driving down the East Coast through small towns and cities confirmed again the overtly Christian character of the American countryside. Steeples, towers, simple brick buildings, store front churches, ornate houses of worship, temples, cathedrals, and basilicas. You name it, we got it. But wait. There’s more. Come now and also receive a free church building around the corner, right next to the other church, across the street from the next one. Baptist churches right next to Methodists, exactly across the street from a Presbyterian church, and only a block away from a Pentecostal. Make that two Pentecostal churches. No, wait, three. Where does it stop? What is the point of having six churches within a mile from each other? What really distinguishes these churches and what exactly justifies their distinction and visible separation? You tell me, I’m at a loss. Read the rest of this entry »