Tonight ACT 3 hosts another in its series of ecumenical dialogues that are aimed at giving Christians the opportunity to meet believers from traditions and churches other than their own. We have done several of these events with Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant discussions over the past twelve months. A major ecumenical dialogue was held in September of 2007 at North Central College, Naperville, Illinois. Then on March 30th of this year I shared the platform with my good friend Fr. Thomas Baima, the provost of Mundelein Seminary at St. Mary of the Lake. This event was focused on our agreements and differences regarding the Eucharist, as seen in my book: Understanding Four Views of the Lord's Supper (Zondervan, 2007).
Tonight I will moderate a discussion between two Protestant evangelical scholars, Dr. George Kalantzis and Dr. Grant Osborne, and two Orthodox scholars, Dr. Bradley Nassif and Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. The site for this Sunday Forum is First Presbyterian Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, located at 550 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, which is the town just east of Wheaton. An audio and video presentation will be produced from this event. This will be made available in about six weeks or so.
One of the unusual parts of our evening will be the opening comments given by the former chairman of the ACT 3 Board, Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth. (He did not step down from the Act 3 Board because he entered the Orthodox Church, but held this position both before and after becoming a priest.) Fr. Ellsworth was a Baptist minister until after his 60th birthday. One would expect him to be a fierce polemicist for Orthodoxy, and thus against evangelicalism, but such is not the case. While he is "deeply convinced" of Orthodoxy, as you would expect, he remains personally self-reflective and fair-minded toward evangelical Protestants. Some of you know that Wilbur and I are the best of friends. For these reasons I asked him to speak to this issue of friendship across significant ecclesiastical division.
This event is free and open to all. We begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. Questions from the audience will be taken in the second half of the evening. I hope everyone within driving distance of Glen Ellyn will come. I hope that others, who cannot attend, will want to learn more when the audio and video resources are made available. My prayer is that we will all demonstrate the love of Christ in a powerful way while we discuss what unites and divides us.