Leuenberg Texts 13: Ministry, ordination, episkopé and theological education
The 2008 Consultation in Vienna confirmed: Baptism is of central significance for the life of the church. Bishops and theologians on the one side from the Orthodox Churches belonging to the Conference of European Churches and on the other from the Lutheran, Reformed and United Churches in the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe introduced each other to their own baptismal tradition.
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At the 3. Assembly of the churches participating in the Leuenberg Agreement (18.-24. 3.1987 in Strasbourg) an ecclesiological subject was put on the agenda of the doctrinal conversations: The "distinguishing marks of the church as a community called and sent forth by Jesus Christ - the contribution of the churches of the Reformation to the ecumenical dialogue on church unity".
The Assembly recommended the following aspects and foci for the project:
- "No merely historical elaboration, but one determined by current problems (the ethical-missionary challenge for Christians, contextuality, the growing minorisation on the one hand and the tradition of the Volkskirche on the other - cf. the Tampere Theses of the Copenhagen regional group: 'Church Ministry Today', thesis 6, and 'Ecumenical Openness', part I, findings of the Berlin group, Drübeck 1986)
- the relationship between the ministry (priesthood) of all believers and the ordained ministry
- the unity within the congregations and among the churches, and the diversity of gifts within the congregations and the churches
- the Church as an institution guided by the Holy Spirit
- the Church as sacrament and as the 'greatest sinner' (Martin Luther)
(compatibility of the Roman Catholic concept of the Church and the conception of Reformation theology)
the relationship of the Christian community to the Jewish people within the framework of Reformation ecclesiology and from the perspective of our identity as a church."
Furthermore it ought to be examined how far the topic 'Holy Scripture and Tradition' (for instance as a reflection of fundamental theology) can be linked to these ecclesiological questions" (Konkordie und Ökumene. Die Leuenberger Kirchengemeinschaft in der gegenwärtigen ökumenischen Situation. Texte der Konferenz von Straßburg, ed. André Birmelé, Frankfurt/Main 1988, 149f.).
Verlag Otto Lembeck, Frankfurt