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Leading thinker on Anglicanism and ecumenism Paul Avis focuses on the perennial Christian issues of argument, debate, polemic and conflict, on the one hand, and dialogue, search for common ground, working for agreement and harmony, on the other. Exploring the tension and interaction between them in a range of contexts in modern theology and the Church, Avis offers a rigorous but accessible vision of church which moves beyond the usual dichotomy of liberal or orthodox.
1. ‘Unreal Worlds Meeting’? Illusion and Reality in Ecumenical Dialogue 1
2. Transcending Denominationalism 21
3. Contested Legacy: Vatican II after 60 Years 49
4. Polity and Polemics 78
5. Unreconciled Church – Counter-sign of the Kingdom 106
6. To Heal a Wounded Church 129
7. Mutual Recognition – Gateway to Reconciliation 159
8. Envisioning a Reconciled and Reconciling Community 196
Index of Names 257
“This important book is both personal and profound. Personal because it draws on decades of engagement in the ecumenical vocation of the church. Profound because it penetrates to the heart of the theological task – to provide faithful witness to the reconciling God who has called a people to be one in Christ, to serve God’s reconciling purposes in the world.There is passion in these pages to stir the heart, awaken the spirit and move the will to press, with urgency, for the reconciliation of the churches” --Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry
"The author draws on his extensive experience in ecumenical relations, and upon many years of thought as a distinguished theologian, to produce a work of critical importance for a divided church in the world of today. Writing with thorough scholarship, a warm personal commitment to the task, a sharp insight into what causes disagreement, and a persuasive voice, he outlines the way that the reconciliation of different theologies can result in a theology that reconciles. Helping us to see what a reconciled community looks like, the book is essential reading for all who want to move towards visible union among the churches." -- Paul Fiddes, University of Oxford
"Reconciliation is a path towards peace and unity as well as a process of acknowledging the multiplicity of identities. Paul Avis outlines an ecumenical programme of reconciliation, connecting it with honest disagreement and mutual recognition. In this robust theological vision, Christians and their churches can only be reconciled to God when they come together in peace." -- Risto Saarinen, University of Helsinki, Finland