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Younger theologians: Keep in mind the realities of life

05 August 2004

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Pleasure at seeing theological studies on issues like peace and violence as well as gender and sexuality located next to classic studies on baptism and ecclesiology was expressed by nine "younger theologians" in a message to the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order plenary commission meeting in Kuala Lumpur, 28 July - 6 August, 2004.

However, they asked for a more visible connection of theological formulations and ethical implications in the documents in order to make them meaningful from the perspective of local communities and so-called grassroots. "We are afraid that all these theological formulations go to waste if not integrated to the realities of our lives," said their statement.

Quoting the theme of the plenary "Receive one another, just as Christ has received you, for the glory of God", the "younger theologians", aged between 25 and 37, wondered whether enough time had been spent in the meeting to reflect on the idea of receiving our very identity as a gift from God. Receiving each other as an expression of hospitality had been a primary theme of the discussions.

The group of theologians, coming from different continents and confessional families, stated their concern that too much use was made of the word "context: "It gives the impression that we are the owners of our context". Instead of stressing one's own identity, for example, "as Orthodox" or "as Latin American", more emphasis should be put on what one can receive from one another, and from God.

The group, including Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant theologians from Brazil, Canada, Greece, Kenya, India, and the Philippines "welcome further exploration into the notion of unity we so often invoke."

"The quest for unity is not a choice we are free to make. It is an imperative for all Christians," they said. "While the reality of visible unity may continue to elude us, we refuse the temptation to be discouraged and remain committed to the journey towards Christian unity however long and unpredictable it may be."

The full text of the message of the younger theologians is available at

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