The Protestant Understanding of Ministry, Ordination and Episkopé

The understanding of ministry, ordination and spiritual leadership of the church (episkopé) is one of the core questions in ecumenical conversation. This applies not only in dialogue with non-Protestant churches but also – as is shown for example by the debate over the ordination of women – within the CPCE. That is why LA 39 calls ministry and ordination a theme on which further work must be done.

The Neuendettelsau theses (1982/86), the Tampere Theses (1986) and the study “The Church of Jesus Christ” (1994) are important stages on the way to consensus (The Church of Jesus Christ 2.5.1.1), but at the same time show the need for more comprehensive further work. The results of international dialogues (especially between the LWF and the WARC) need to be noted here.

The General Assembly recommends to the Council that it should initiate the forming of a doctrinal conversation group “The Protestant Understanding of Ministry, Ordination and Episkopé”. The aim of the doctrinal conversation group is to deepen and develop the consensus that has been achieved. Here not only the fundamental understanding of the ministry of public preaching in the face of contemporary challenges but also the compatibility of the different shapes of episkopé will be examined, taking account of the results of dialogues in which the CPCE churches have participated, for example the Meissen Agreement, the Porvoo and Reuilly Common Statements.

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