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Christ Our Peace: The Radical Concept of Christian Unity (Guest Blog)

photo-48For He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

What a radical concept Christian unity is! The fact that in Christ, we are one! 

This heavenly reality certainly does not appear to be true when we look around the world. We all come from various backgrounds and cultures, life experiences, and we have our own denominational distinctions. Each person sees the world very differently, and because of this, we are inherently prone to disagree with and distance ourselves from those who are culturally, denominationally, and ethnically distinct from us.

Yes, it is easier to worship with people who look like us, act like us, and have the same theological beliefs as us.

Cardinal O’Malley’s Magnificent Address on Unity at Gordon College

One of the most remarkable addresses I have watched this year was on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of historic Gordon College (Massachusetts). Gordon College is the flagship evangelical college in New England. Like all such evangelical colleges it is openly growing into deeper relationship with Catholics with each passing year. This lecture marks one of the most wonderful calls to deep, public unity that I have seen within the leadership of our churches in the United States.

Please pray for the visit of Pope Francis in September. On his heart, besides all the public meetings that you will see, is his deep concern for unity with evangelicals. Cardinal O’Malley is one with all of us who are seeking first the kingdom of God. Let us pray and rejoice at such an address and the historic symbolism of where it was given.

I know that I say this often but this is address is worth every minute you can invest in watching it. I know the trend says that very few people will watch such a long speech on their computer. But if you love Christian unity this presentation is

A Reformed Evangelical and Eastern Orthodox Conversation (Video)

This is an “older” video of a dialogue that I did with Fr. Jon Braun, who is an Antiochian Orthodox priest. Fr. Braun was a Campus Crusade for Christ staff leader when I was a college student in 1967-1971. Eventually, along with several of his good friends on Campus Crusade for Christ staff, Fr. Braun entered the Orthodox Church. (He was a Presbyterian before his conversion to Orthodoxy.) We were both invited to share in this conversation together by an Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana. I have never publicly posted this particular video. As you will note, if you follow me online, I was “the old John” in this video. (I was about 50 pounds heavier). I have been asked over the past three years, “Are you sick?” No, I intentionally lost a lot of weight and as a result I look thinner. More importantly, I feel much, much better. I hope you will find this dialogue interesting and helpful. It is the only one I’ve ever done “one-to-one” with an Orthodox priest in a public context.

David Hickman on Christian Unity

During the Lausanne Catholic-Evangelical Conversation in 2014 ACT3 Network video taped a number of short interviews about unity. This one is from my friend David Hickman, an evangelical leader in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A Unique Dialogue on the Eucharist and a Prayer Service for Unity

R6LkmS_ntYwCOn Saturday, July 11, the Focolare Movement hosts a special day (within their larger annual event called Midwest Mariapolis) on Christian unity and the role of the eucharist. I am leading a workshop, along with my good friend, Fr. Thomas Baima. There is also a prayer service for unity that evening. You are welcome to register, or just come and sign up on site, as a one-day guest. If you live in Chicago, Indianapolis or West Michigan this is an easy drive. I hope to see some of you share in this event and please say “hello” to me if you come. You are welcome to attend more of this wonderful event but the Saturday activities are the ones I am actively sharing in as a leader.

Mariapolis 2015, “The Eucharist in a Communitarian Spirituality”

The Focolare Movement’s annual meeting, the “Mariapolis,” will include an exploration of the Eucharist and its connection to ecumenical dialogue.  The public are invited to two events that will take place at Valparaiso University’s Harre Union on Saturday, July 11, 2015

Workshop: Harre Union University Ballroom,

Pope Francis Speaks to the John 17 Movement at Pentecost Celebration

I have mentioned in the past few months that I am deeply supportive of what is called the John 17 Movement. This movement held a wonderful Pentecost event in  Phoenix, Arizona, last Saturday, May 23. The event was at the Phoenix Convention Center. I could not attend but spoke by video to this gathering. The same friends who invited me to address this magnificent crowd also invited Pope Francis to speak. Here is his address given from his office at the Vatican. Watch it and then pray for the unity of the church of Jesus Christ globally. His words about the role of theologians are so moving and faithful. Pray for Pope Francis and then pray for the unity of the church.

A Film Series on the Protestant Reformation

Two weeks ago I did a three-and-a-half hour video session in Souderton, Pennsylvania. I sat down with Vision Video, one of the premier Christian video production companies in the world. I had a profoundly enjoyable experience and hope that the time I invested in a forthcoming project will bear much fruit.

IMG_5027Vision Video is making and producing a three-hour series for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I believe this series will be available in 2016. It is to be determined how many videos there will be in the series, what kind of resources will be added and how it will be marketed. The entire project anticipates the anniversary year of 2017. It has a number of well-known people in the series. It should make a significant contribution to churches and Christian viewers in general. Vision Video has produced some noteworthy films and won a number of awards for their work over the years.

This particular series was nearing completion when the production and film team decided that the series was missing several things that were needed.

Mark Moore on Christian Unity

My friend Rev. Mark Moore, of Plano, Texas, spoke with ACT3 about Christian Unity during our Lausanne Catholic-Evangelical meeting last September. Mark has just recently become a regional director for International Justice Mission, a ministry that is a fantastic gift to the whole church.

What a Classic Movie Can Teach Us About the Church

Quiet ManToday’s Guest Blogger is Dr. Dave Lescalleet

Every year our family watches the 1952 classic movie The Quiet Man as a way to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day.  This film, because of its Ireland location, is more and more associated with this national holiday.  The story, set in the 1920’s, stars John Wayne as retired American boxer Sean Thornton who returns to the village of Inisfree, Ireland, where he was born, in the hopes of finding peace and quiet but in the process finds love.  The beautiful and equally talented Maureen O’Hara plays the female lead as Mary Kate Danaher.  The feisty Danaher, quickly falls in love with the affable Thornton and easily proves his equal, giving as good as she gets.

The Quiet Man is a ‘fish out of water’ story as Wayne’s Thornton must not only integrate himself into the odd but endearing community of Inisfree, but along the way learn their old Irish customs and how they do life together.  To say that this is one of my all-time favorite films is an understatement.  From the

Christianity East & West: An Evangelical Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Dialog (Video)

Several years ago ACT3 staged a dialogue on unity and diversity between two Orthodox theologians and two Protestant evangelical theologians. This Sunday evening event was hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Greetings were given by Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, an Orthodox priest who served as chairman of the ACT3 board for a number of years. I moderated the conversation. This is the first time we’ve made this older resource available for wider usage.

This dialogue runs for nearly two hours so you might want to mark it for use when you have the time to watch it. There are some real gems within the discussion we had on this evening.

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