Christian Counseling and Ecumenism: What Type of Dialogue
Christian Counseling and Christian Dialogue with the world involves a sharing of ideas and values, it does not mean denying core beliefs of Christ or trading them for other ideals. In essence, many mistake Christian ecumenism as indifferentism. People interpret that since Christians are open to dialogue, then they are willing to compromise or water down. When people discover that this dialogue is not about compromise but sharing the truth, then Christians are accused of evangelization under the guise of ecumenism.
The problem lies in what Christian Ecumenism really is. It is a dialogue with the world, but it is not a compromise of truth. It also is not direct evangelization but a more passive form. A form where the Christian does not come as a missionary but a brother. The dialogue seeks to find common cultural and religious ideals that can begin a relationship of understanding that seeks unity instead of division. Christian Ecumenism looks to unite all of God’s creatures and hopes to expose the truth of Christ to other brothers and sisters as equal partners in God’s world.
So many past images have existed where missionaries treated the indigenous people as savages. While both sides have their stories from history, Christian Ecumenism looks to other people as enlightened and equal in human dignity. While Christian Ecumenism can never lower Christ to Buddha or Mohammad, we can find value in some of the moral teachings in our open dialogue in understanding other people.
Christians involved in ecumenism do not seek to convert via debate but via example. The open dialogue allows Christians an opportunity to share the gospel in an non-evasive way via example. Through interaction, the ideal is not to weaken one’s faith but to understand others and to show others the value of Christ through action.
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Mark Moran, MA