Current tensions within and between churches are often the result of disagreements over moral issues. Seeing the urgency of the matter, the World Council of Churches’ Faith and Order Commission took up the task to assist the churches in finding a way to deepen mutual understanding. Learning from the moral discernment processes of different church traditions and a range of historical examples, this study document proposes a tool to deepen knowledge about the processes, recognize how and why differences might emerge, affirm shared commitments, and in so doing, to build koinonia.
Instead of just focusing on the outcomes of a discernment process, understanding the process can lead to a new pathway for dialogue. The study document proposes the concept of the conscience of the church. Acknowledging that churches seek to pursue God’s will as they want to remain faithful to the gospel implies that a dialogue can begin with a presumption that the partner is sincere without necessarily accepting the outcome of their discernment process.