IDL TIFF file The Global Christian Forum, is a marvelous modern expression of missional-ecumenism. Its guiding purpose is to “create an open space wherein representatives from a broad range of Christian churches and interchurch organizations, which confess the triune God and Jesus Christ as perfect in his divinity and humanity, can gather to foster mutual respect, to explore and address together common challenges.”

I profoundly agree with the desire to “create an open space” for orthodox Christians to “foster mutual respect, to explore and address together common challenges.” Honestly, I do not see how any Christian could oppose such an idea, though I am quite aware that many (most?) still do.

In the spirit of John 17:21, “that all of them may be one,” we can all work at deepening our commitment to God’s Word and mission together. This seems like a bottom line concern for me. I wish more agree with that assessment but I am dedicated to promoting it as widely as possible.

We can, and should, work to enhance our understanding of contemporary expressions of Christian mission and pursue ways to enable us to respond freely, responsibly and peaceably to our differences. We can be “peacemakers” as Jesus taught us and lived for us. Why would any Christian want to pursue conflict and strife given what the Savior lived and taught?

This “open space” should also include theological reflection in areas of common concern to those in fellowship and dialog. This has been happening for more than a hundred years now but far too few still want to enter into this conversation, preferring rather to believe that they know the “last word” about theology. What does it say about us if we cannot engage our own brothers and sisters in the same family, who love the same Lord, with love and respect?

When we enter into such a dynamic human context we strengthen the wholeness of the global church by encouraging communication and cooperation. This fosters the kind of relationships that lead to common witness. This is why I call my vision “missional-ecumenism.”

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