The Interdenominational Assembly of Churches
An Association of Churches, Para-Churches, Clergies and Lay Leaders
Ecumenism, also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any initiative that encourages greater cooperation and union among Christian denominations and churches.
The fact that all Christians belonging to mainstream Christian denominations profess faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour over a believer's life believe that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant and inspired word of God (John 1:1), and receive baptism according to the Trinitarian formula is seen as being a basis for ecumenism and its goal of Christian unity. Ecumenists cite John 17:20-23 as the biblical grounds for striving for church unity, in which Jesus prays that Christians "may all be one" in order "that the world may know" and believe the Gospel message.
The term ecumenism as it is now commonly used refers to interdenominational cooperation between different Christian churches. These initiatives can range from local churches of different denominations operating a soup kitchen for the poor, hosting an ecumenical Bible study with participants from different Christian traditions, inviting all baptized Christians to partake in a Lovefeast when churches celebrate them, to holding an ecumenical Stations of the Cross service on Fridays during the Christian liturgical season of Lent with the service being held at a different local church each Friday (e.g. Catholic, Lutheran, Moravian, Anglican, Reformed and Methodist). The ultimate goal of ecumenism is the recognition of sacramental validity, eucharistic sharing, and the reaching of full communion between different Christian denominations. There are a variety of different expectations of what that Christian unity looks like, how it is brought about, what ecumenical methods ought to be engaged, and what both short- and long-term objectives of the ecumenical movement should be.
Baptism according to the Trinitarian formula, which is done in most mainstream Christian denominations, is seen as being the grounds for Christian ecumenism, the concept of unity amongst Christians. With respect to ecumenism, A. W. Tozer maintained that "Unity in Christ is not something to be achieved; it is something to be recognized." Ecumenists cite John 17:20–23 as the Biblical basis of striving for church unity, in which Jesus prays that Christians "may all be one" in order "that the world may know" and believe the Gospel message. As such, ecumenism has a strong implication for the Church's mission of evangelism, which is referenced in John 13:35: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another". Additionally, Jesus emphasized that the ties of Christians to one another are much greater than those to blood relatives.
Historically, the term "ecumenism" was originally used in the context of the larger ecumenical councils organized with the support of the Roman Emperor. The aim of these councils was to clarify matters of Christian theology and doctrine, leading to the meaning of unity behind the term "ecumenical". The ecumenical councils brought together bishops from across the Roman Empire, with a total of seven ecumenical councils, accepted to have been held by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches before the Great Schism dividing the two churches; the first four ecumenical councils are recognized by the Lutheran Churches, Anglican Communion and Reformed churches though they are "considered subordinate to Scripture". The Assyrian Church of the East acknowledges the first two ecumenical councils, while Oriental Orthodox Churches accept the first three ecumenical councils.
The IAoC Association Membership:
Our Groups 2018 - 2019:
District 01 Canada 8 Members