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The Authority of the Church in the World
 

From 2000 through 2007, in response to requests from participating churches and other sending bodies, the Faith and Order Commission engaged in a study of the Authority of the Church. During the 2000-2003 period, two groups worked on the topic, one studying Authority in the Church and the other, the Authority of the Church in the World.  One completed outcome of this work was a response of the Commission to a Roman Catholic document, A Petrine Ministry: A Working Paper, seeking to learn how the pope can carry out the ministry he is called to exercise by the self-understanding of the Catholic Church, in a manner that all may perceive as a "ministry of love," and that fosters the unity of the churches. The response, completed in 2003, is available here.

The Commission has now completed a second major text, drawing on these eight years of work. The Authority of the Church in the World brings together voices from a very wide spectrum of Christian bodies: Evangelical, Pentecostal, Holiness, Emergent, Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopalian, Historic Peace Churches, Historically Black Churches, Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist and Baptist.
(See Dr. Kireopoulos' introduction to the document here.) Perspectives of Commissioners of differing racial communities and ethnicities were incorporated and theological colleagues from communities not represented in the Commission generously continued as well. While some serious differences are carefully noted, the study found much on which the churches agree. The convergence document is available here.

As part of the Study Group's work, various Faith and Order members composed papers on the Authority of the Church from their respective church's perspective. These 24 communion reflections are collected with an introductory essay here.

A Reflection on the Nature and Mission of the Church

A reflection by the Faith and Order Commission in light of the World Council of Churches document, The Nature and Reflection of the Church.

A Journey to Open Up Other Journeys: Justice and Salvation

The story that unfolds here is one that portrays several struggles and breakthroughs during an eight-year period of ecumenical discussion that revolved around the themes of justification, salvation, and justice.


New Horizons in Faith and Order

The Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) prepared for its 50th anniversary last year (2007) with a clear eye on the next generation of theological leaders in the ecumenical movement. One of the projects that emerged is a new online electronic journal written and edited by younger theologians and judged by senior scholars. Watch this space for developments.


2008-2011 Study Groups

In planning the study group topics for the 2008-2011 quadrennium, the Future Studies Committee has heard from the member churches of the NCCC and from the non-member churches. We have tried to initiate studies that are both relevant and critical at this stage in our ecumenical journey.

For complete descriptions, click here.


An Appreciation of Susan Davies

Former staffer Dr. Keelan Downton interviews Dr. Susan Davies, former chair of the Faith and Order Commission.