RELS 387 CP, Christian Theology in Ecumenical Dialogue

Dr. Andrew Kaethler, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4 pm to 5:15 pm

RELS 387 CP, Christian Theology in Ecumenical Dialogue

A survey and analysis of the main achievements of the ecumenical theological dialogue process among the Christian churches, and the significant challenges still facing that dialogue today. This course utilizes texts from Catholic, Protestant Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican sources, and guest lecturers from Catholic, Evangelical, and Orthodox traditions.

In 1054, the cultural and linguistic differences of East and West came to a head and the Church divided down the middle. Some five hundred years later a German Catholic monk unwarily nailed 95 theses to a Church door, instigating another division that rippled West crossing the English Channel. The pattern continues; every year numerous splits occur spawning new denominations. What is the root of these divisions? Ignorance? History? Cultural differences? Doctrinal divergence? In this course, rather than erase the dissimilarities, in the spirit of true ecumenical dialogue we will clarify the differences and set them in their proper place. We will explore the overarching ‘metaphysical’ differences, focusing mainly on Evangelical Protestants and Catholics, and enucleate some of the specific notions and practices that continue to separate (e.g., sola scriptura, sola fide, the priesthood, sacraments, justification, veneration of Mary, liturgy, the Holy See, and transubstantiation). By explicating the differences, the course aims to inform students about doctrinal and practical differences, deepen their understanding of their own Christian tradition, and bring about mutual respect. I hope that my experience as a former Evangelical Protestant will help bridge the gap and provide a certain amount of experiential insight.

   • Prerequisite(s): RELS 160. (0-0; 3-0)

   • The course meets the University Core Requirement for Religious Studies - C&C/ICRS (6-9), and meets the requirements for Christianity and Culture: Catholic Studies Minor.

   • In order to use this CPC course for any TWU Religious Studies Department degree requiring Christianity & Culture (6-9) courses, please seek permission from the Religious Studies Chair.

   • All CPC courses may be counted as electives for any TWU Degree.

   • CPC courses may count towards CPC certificates as listed in the Course Requirements for each Certificate.

Image: Pope Francis and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (Church of England), embrace at a meeting in Rome.