Indice > Dialoghi Interconfessionali > M-RC > Paris (Singapore) Rep. 1991 | CONT. > Introduction
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   1. Jesus Christ was sent among us by God the Father to make known and to bring to completion the divine purpose of salvation, the "mystery of Christ " hitherto hidden and "now revealed in the Spirit" (Col 1:26 and Eph 3:5). In the power of the Holy Spirit, this mission continues in and through the Church, the family Christ gathers together in common obedience to the Father's will. As Christ's servant, the Church proclaims to the world the message of his victory over sin and death, provides a living sign of that victory, and summons everyone to repent and believe the gospel and so receive the promised Spirit.

   2. It is Christ's will that his disciples should live at peace with one another; he binds them together through the gift of divine grace. The New Testament documents do not present us with an unattainable ideal but describe the actual life of a real society brought into being by Christ. This society is not a closed fellowship of perfect observance: its members have not already attained all that God intends, and it is open to all the world. It acknowledges that by his grace true followers of Christ may be found everywhere and welcomes them into its company as they affirm their Christian discipleship.

   3. This Roman Catholic-Methodist dialogue, and the whole movement for unity in the faith, follows the path Christ set for his Church in obedience to the mission he himself received from God the Father and transmitted to us (Mt 28:18-20). It is a movement that breaks down the barriers sin en Christians, drawing all believers into a single fellowship of praise and turning lifelong enemies into friends for eternity. Today as Catholics and Methodists we both face the urgent task of evangelizing a world deeply affected by superstition and secularism, by indifference and injustice; we must look together to the one Lord who sends the Spirit upon us all that we may go out and witness in his name. Doing this with credibility entails a common understanding of the Gospel and the ability to recognize in each other's lives and confessions an authentic witness to the faith.

   4. In order to build on previous work in the dialogue, the Commission pursued a theme which has proved increasingly important throughout the whole ecumenical movement, namely the Apostolic Tradition, understood as the teaching, transmission and reception of the apostolic faith. It is hoped that this approach may set the difficult problem of ministry in a new light, since this topic has hitherto been predominantly considered in its relationship to the administrative and sacramental life of the Church rather than in relation to its teaching.

   5. In the overall title of this report, The Apostolic Tradition, the word "Tradition" signifies the living transmission of the Gospel of Christ, by manifold means, for the constant renewal of every generation. Christians do not order the life of the Church by the fixed repetition of rigid routine laid down in the past. Rather, by recalling and holding fast to the treasured memory of the events of our salvation, we receive light and strength for our present faith as, under God, we seek to meet the needs of our own time. It is Christian hope that makes possible our wholehearted and active contribution to the continued handing on of the transforming power contained in the Gospel.

   6. Our knowledge of the past life of the people of God, witnessing to their experience of God's action among them, enables us to recognize and to comprehend the risen Christ as he speaks to us today. We learn to express ourselves in his language in the midst of the people he has made; he sends the Spirit to us to open our understanding and to guide our words and actions in the service of his loving purpose for the extension and completion of God's kingdom. We enter into his loving purpose as, by God's grace, we receive in faith the benefits of Christ's saving death on the Cross and with him, dying to self, are raised to new life (Rom 6:3-4). This is the mystery that constitutes the true life of every believer and gives meaning and effect to all preaching and teaching of the Church, to every practice, ministry and ordinance.


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