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Ecumenical Babel

Ecumenical Babel

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Published by Acton Institute
A critical engagement of the ecumenical movement’s approach to ethical and economic issues, Ecumenical Babel updates a line of criticism articulated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul Ramsey, and Ernest W. Lefever. Arguing for the continuing importance of Christian ecumenism, Jordan J. Ballor seeks to correct the errors created by the imposition of economic ideology onto the social witness of ecumenical Christianity as represented by the Lutheran World Federation, the newly formed World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the World Council of Churches. Ecumenical Babel is a voice for sustained ecumenical dialogue, vital ecclesiastical witness, and individual Christian conscience.

Visit http://www.clpress.com/publication/ecumenical-babel
A critical engagement of the ecumenical movement’s approach to ethical and economic issues, Ecumenical Babel updates a line of criticism articulated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul Ramsey, and Ernest W. Lefever. Arguing for the continuing importance of Christian ecumenism, Jordan J. Ballor seeks to correct the errors created by the imposition of economic ideology onto the social witness of ecumenical Christianity as represented by the Lutheran World Federation, the newly formed World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the World Council of Churches. Ecumenical Babel is a voice for sustained ecumenical dialogue, vital ecclesiastical witness, and individual Christian conscience.

Visit http://www.clpress.com/publication/ecumenical-babel

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Published by: Acton Institute on Jun 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/30/2013

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“Jordan Ballor has written a useful guide for those wishing to venture
into the smelly swamps of ecumenical social and economic thought.
 Why should non-swamp dwellers care what goes on there? Ballor’s
quite reasonable answer is that ecumenical bodies claim to speak on
behalf of churches, churches which many of us are part. Whetheranyone outside is listening is another question — one which Ballordoesn’t address but which others such as Anthony Waterman have
considered — that being less and less so. Ballor’s book is distinguished
by considering not just the content of ecumenical statements on
economic matters (which have given grief to a long line of profes-sional economists), but also the theological self-understanding of 
the various bodies when they speak. He asks the deeper question of 
whether the bodies are adequately constituted to be the (or even a)Christian voice on economic matters, as well as the not irrelevant
questions of their actual theological and economic competence.
Fundamental questions are raised about the relationship between
theological and economic discourse, and the sorts of institutionsthat support helpful discourse. Christian faith certainly bears on
economic matters — the briefest acquaintance with the Scriptures isenough to dispel any doubts. Ballor’s book is part of the movementtowards a better discussion of the links in our churches, universities
and political forums.”
P
 aul
O
slingtOn
Professor of Economics, Australian Catholic University, andVisiting Fellow,St. Mark’s National Theological Centreand Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra
“With
 Ecumenical Babel 
Jordan J. Ballor gives us a much neededconsideration of modern ecumenism. In particular he grappleswith this daunting question: whether ecumenical bodies indeed
speak for the church in their pronouncements on the hot-button
social issues of the day. Wedding compassion with clear-headed
thinking, Ballor questions whether ecumenical bodies may right-fully make such assertions on behalf of God’s people, and — moreto the point — whether ecumenism is getting its economics right.”
 V 
ictOr 
V. c
laar 
 Associate Professor of Economics,Henderson State University,and coauthor,
 Economics in Christian Perspective:Theory, Policy and Life Choices
 
“Drawing on a long running and coherent critique that begins
with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and is picked up later by Paul Ramsey,
 Ecumenical Babel 
explains why the activism of the social justice curiaof churches and ecumenical bodies so often works at cross purposes
to the great moral imperatives of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
This is particularly so in the areas that are receiving so much atten-
tion now — social ethics and economic globalization. Jordan Ballor
 vividly illustrates how the ideologies of these church bureaucracies
are grounded in faulty economic thinking, which leads to policy
positions that seem to be impervious to the facts of the situation.
 Ecumenical Babel 
is an invaluable introduction to the world of con-
temporary ecumenical social thought and should be required read-
ing for anyone interested in the future of Christian social witness.”
M
ichael
c
rOMartie
Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center,and Vice Chair, United States Commissionon International Religious Freedom
“Inter-Christian dialogue is more important than ever as Christen-
dom lurches from one crisis to the next. The problem is that many
of the bodies created to foster this dialogue end up beholden to
neo-Marxist, collectivist, and statist paradigms that ostensibly solve
the crisis but are in fact no more than temporalized, millennialknock-offs of the Christian faith. Jordan Ballor offers us a shorthistory of strong Protestant thinkers (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul
Ramsey, and Ernest Lefever) who recognized the vulnerability of these ecumenical bodies to the ideologically inclined. In
 Ecumenical 
 Babel 
, the author reminds us that the original intention of ecumenical
dialogue was not to subvert the Christian social witness, but discern
how to bring it into an increasingly secular world — a world that every
day seems to drift farther from its moral moorings. The takeover of the WCC, NCC, and other groups by ideologues represents neither
a corruption of the original intent of the ecumenical movement,
nor does it represent the inevitable end of the dialogue. Rather,
the lesson of failure is that we learn, once more, what Bonhoefferand Ramsey and Lefever taught: We follow no one but Christ.”
eV 
. J
Ohannes
l. J
 acObse
President, American Orthodox Institute

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