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Why ecumenism fails: taking theological differences seriously.

Authors
  • Engelhardt, H Tristram Jr
Type
Published Article
Journal
Christian bioethics
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
Volume
13
Issue
1
Pages
25–51
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/13803600701282997
PMID: 17453838
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Contemporary Christians are separated by foundationally disparate understandings of Christianity itself. Christians do not share one theology, much less a common understanding of the significance of sin, suffering, disease, and death. These foundational disagreements not only stand as impediments to an intellectually defensible ecumenism, but they also form the underpinnings of major disputes in the culture wars, particularly as these are expressed in healthcare. There is not one Christian bioethics of sin, suffering, sickness, and death. In this article, the character of the moral-theological visions separating the various Christianities and thus their bioethics is examined. Particular emphasis is placed on the differences that set contemporary Western theology at odds with the theology of the Christianity of the first millennium. As is shown, the ground for this gulf lies in the divide between traditional and post-traditional views of the appropriate role of philosophy in theology, a difference rooted in disparate understandings of the meaning of church and of the meaning of the logos, the Son of God.

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