Institut œcuméniqe de Bossey

Baptism into the body of Christ : an exploration of its ecumenical implications

Heller, Dagmar

This article takes its starting point from the fact, that among the churches the often quoted notion of “baptism as bond of unity” is still questioned. Especially from those churches which practice believers’ baptism there are doubts, whether we can talk about one baptism. And from the Orthodox churches this notion is questioned, because their requirements for unity are going beyond just... Di più

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    Summary
    This article takes its starting point from the fact, that among the churches the often quoted notion of “baptism as bond of unity” is still questioned. Especially from those churches which practice believers’ baptism there are doubts, whether we can talk about one baptism. And from the Orthodox churches this notion is questioned, because their requirements for unity are going beyond just baptism. Going back to the biblical idea of ‘one baptism’ in Eph 4 the article shows, that one of the problems is the different interpretation the ‘body of Christ’ and therefore the ecclesiological differences. In order to find a new approach, the author reminds churches, that parts of Eph 4:4-6 can be agreed upon by all, which is ‘one Lord’ and ‘one Spirit’. Practically all churches have reacted to the contradiction that they confess one baptism, but in reality Christians are baptized in different churches. Consequently they are all saying, that the respective others are not totally deprived of God’s grace, but indirectly this means still, that each church is of the opinion, that the others are not quite right. In order to overcome this situation, the author is proposing to read Eph 4:4-6 in the context of the whole paragraph Eph 4: 1-6. Then it becomes clear, that for the apostle unity is closely connected with peace. And peace is based on the four attitudes humility, gentleness, patience and love, which are major virtues of Christian life, as Jesus Christ himself has shown. To live these virtues in the relationship between churches would mean mutual acceptance of the others in their otherness, but also the willingness to learn from the others and to change.