Biography[ edit ] Bonino was raised in the Methodist Church , and participated actively in this denomination since his youth. He worked in church ministries in Bolivia , and after obtaining his degree he was a pastor in Mendoza. In , he became a professor of dogmatic theology in Buenos Aires. In , he left teaching to pursue further study at Union Theological Seminary in New York , where he obtained his doctorate in with a thesis on ecumenism.
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Next skip commitment, the roads that might lead to the visible manifestation of the unity of the Church. The sum of such efforts is what we call today "the ecumenical movement". We can all gratefully acknowledge and celebrate the devoted and intelligent efforts and the significant achievements of what has been called "the great new fact" or "the miracle of the Spirit" in the life of the churches.
Even the most cursory survey of Christian history since the beginning of this century could not fail to provide ample proof of the steady growth of a consciousness of unity and the imaginative efforts to give to such consciousness concrete expression. At the same time, as old prejudices vanish, ancient controversies subside and traditional oppositions prove irrelevant, history seems to raise new obstacles, kindle new discussions, uncover other oppositions. A superficial observer could conclude that, while the traditional divisions turned around religious and theological questions, the recent ones tend to gravitate towards social, political or ideological ones.
When one surveys the nuclei which have centred the oppositions and contradictions in the life of the WCC during the last two decades, such observation might seem justified.
Let us remind ourselves briefly of some of them: the relation between salvation and the transformation of society discussions about evangelization , the Central Committee statements or public declarations concerning critical situations in Africa, South East Asia, Near East or Latin America, the Program to Combat Racism and other forms of support of popular movements with political concerns, the discussions about the characterization of a Just, Participatory and Sustainable Society, are only some of the instances that come to mind.
On the other hand, some observers have called attention to the fact that it was the participation of the Third World churches in the ecumenical movement that brought to the agenda some of these controversial issues. The presence of Asia raised the problems of "rapid social change" and "nation building", Africa forced the consideration of racial discrimination and radical questions of intercultural relations, Latin America challenged the notions of development and insisted on the relations between cultural, social and economic issues.
The traditional Western answers, as articulated in the idea of "the responsible society" proved unsatisfactory. The questions of radical change, ideology, political involvement could not be postponed. How should we speak of unity in the face of such developments? The immediate answer -- which is still supported in many ecumenical quarters -- has usually taken two lines sometimes combined in different ways.
One is the appeal to "unity in faith" in the midst of all these conflicts. We all believe in the same God, confess the same jesus Christ, have been made brothers and sisters through the same baptism.
The second is the idea of "pluralism": the unity of the Church is a "complex unity", which embraces many, and sometimes seemingly contradictory options. Such notion tries to reconcile unity and diversity in non-conflictive ways -- the diverse elements are in principle understood as complementary and mutually enriching.
Neither of the two answers is in itself wrong. There is indeed a unity which relativizes our conflicts and to that extent there is also a legitimate plurality. But, at the same time, both answers are only partially true. Moreover, when they are assumed as adequate solutions to the problem of division, they become ideological in the negative sense of the word -- instruments of domination that hide the true nature of our conflicts.
Phenomenologically, these are the only "faiths" that exist and, although they claim to respond to a transcendent reality that is beyond them, even that very claim -- and all the ways in which they articulate it dogmatically, liturgically,
José Míguez Bonino
He also offered a critical perspective on the ecumenical movement and its ideal of unity and its practice of mission and service. His was one of the first Protestant voices in the movement, and his work La fe en busca de eficacia Faith in search of effectiveness contained his characteristic emphases on contextual analysis, engaged faith, and political involvement. His convictions were tested in the period of Argentinian dictatorship, following his cofounding in of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights. He helped create key ecumenical structures in Latin America; was a delegate to the New Delhi, Uppsala, Nairobi assemblies; and served from to on the Faith and Order Commission. His liberation perspective on the option for the poor dramatically reframed the classic ecumenical search for unity. Whatever produces unity is good; whatever destroys or threatens it is bad. In some areas of the world and some sectors of society, however, experience has taught us to ask questions about the frequent calls to unity that are addressed to us - who calls for unity?
José Miguez Bonino - La fe en busca de eficacia.pdf