Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > M-RC > Nairobi Rep. 1986 | CONT. > Sez. 3
  (PREFACE) - select
  section 1 (THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH) - select
  section 2 (CHURCH AND SACRAMENTS) - select
Called to Unity - Sec. 3
  section 4 (WAYS OF BEING ONE CHURCH) - select
  section 5 (STRUCTURES OF MINISTRY) - select
  section 6 (THE PETRINE OFFICE) - select


    17. Already in the New Testament the term ekklesia is used for the community of those who accepted Jesus. proclamation of the Kingdom, transmitted by apostles and disciples. In this Church their response of faith was sealed in baptism, as they confessed their sins and were forgiven, received the Holy Spirit, and were joined together in Christ.

   18. More specifically, ekklesia or Church is applied in the New Testament to Christians meeting together in a house or living in the same city. We also find the term "the Church" used in a more universal way for the body of Christ which is the fulness of Him who fills all in all, the communion of the saints on earth and in heaven.

   19. All these usages of the word "Church" have continued throughout - Christian tradition. In addition, as a result of further factors, geographical and historical, the term came to be used in other ways. Some of these usages arose because of diversities of language or rite, such as Syrian Church, Coptic Church or Latin Church. Others came about because of fundamental differences in doctrine, faith or ecclesial polity, such as Lutheran Church, Methodist Church, or Roman Catholic Church.

   20. As Methodists and Roman Catholics we recognize that the divisions underlying this last usage are contrary to the unity Christ wills for his Church. In obedience to Him who will bring about this unity we are committed to a vision that includes the goal of full communion in faith, mission and sacramental life.

   21. Such communion, which is the gift of the Spirit, must be expressed visibly. This visible unity need not imply uniformity, nor the suppression of the gifts with which God has graced each of our communities.


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