The article titled, “Baptist and the Ecumenical Movement” by Briggs (2005) explores the Ecumenical Movement in Europe, especially the actions of Baptist churches in the movement that gained prominence across Europe.
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Briggs takes a historical approach, tracing back the developments to the 17th century in order to elaborate on the phases of the movement and to bring out the nature of contributions to the movement by the Baptist churches across Europe.
This is in a bid to expand on the drive of the Baptists to, “separation from a corrupt state church”.1 Briggs also focuses on the synthesis of information that points at the elimination of sectarian elements in the movement.
Briggs focuses on a number of issues in the article to broaden knowledge on the course of the ecumenical movement as pursued by the Baptist churches in Europe. The first thing that comes out in the article is the search for the position of the Baptist church in the ecumenical movement.
At this point, it is imperative to bring up the assertion that, “If you perceive anything of the Spirit of Christ in other Christian bodies you are bound to relate to them.” The other critical thing that can be noted about the article is the attempt by Briggs to ascertain the role of religious reprieve and the attainment of cooperation by the Christians as they embrace ecumenism, like in the Baptist ecumenism in Europe.
The author is of a strong opinion that the maintenance of evangelical elements in the ecumenical movement is not attained because of the seeming disunity among the Baptist churches, especially when compared to other churches in Europe.
Intent of the article
As observed, this article focuses on the nature of approaches by the Baptist churches in Europe in the ecumenical movement. Therefore, it is worth noting that the author seeks to establish the nature of contribution of the Baptists to the ecumenical movement in Europe.
This comes out in the attempt by Briggs to tie evangelical revival to the ecumenism where the two are looked at in relational terms, with ecumenism being seen as a child of evangelical revival. This is evident in the assertion that, “evangelicalism and ecumenism are far from being opposed: rather the one is the child of the other”2.
Briggs seeks to answer a number of critical questions revolving around the goals of the church in promoting ecumenism. The issue of commitment to ecumenism by Baptists is later reflected in the works of Briggs about the ties of Baptists to ecumenism.3
The author takes a historical approach to the ecumenical movement in order to attain the main goals of the article. This helps to expand on the objectives and the roles of the church in the movement. Also, taking the twenty one short-points helps Briggs to focus on the critical goals of the research.
The main weakness of the article is that Briggs pays a lot of attention to his personal opinions, something that hinders the attainment of the objectives of the research. The emphasis on the opinions evokes emotions, thereby watering down objectivity in bringing out the attributes of the Baptists in regard to ecumenism.
In his article, Briggs pays a lot of attention to the history of the ecumenical movement, more so the contribution of the Baptists to the ecumenical movement. The article is accomplished by bringing out twenty one points that provide grounds on which churches ought to examine their thoughts and contributions to ecumenism.
Briggs, John H. Y. “Baptists and the Ecumenical Movement.” Journal of European Baptist Studies 6, no. 1 (Sept. 2005): 11-17.
Briggs, John. “Baptists and Ecumenical Engagement.” Baptistic Theologies 5, no. 1 (May 2013): 84-102.
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1 John H. Y. Briggs, “Baptists and the Ecumenical Movement,” Journal of European Baptist Studies 6, no. 1 (Sept. 2005), p. 12.
2 Briggs (2005), p. 14.
3 John, Briggs, “Baptists and Ecumenical Engagement,” Baptistic Theologies 5, no. 1 (May 2013), p. 84-85.