Eating as One? Dutch Mennonite Anti-sacramental Response to the 1982 WCC Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry Report

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Abstract

In 1982, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches published a report on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (hereafter BEM), describing what the Commission then saw as ecumenical convergence on three ecclesiological matters that had divided churches for centuries. The WCC asked its member churches to offer responses “from the highest appropriate level of authority” on the extent to which each could recognize “the faith of the Church through the ages” in the text of BEM. Churches were asked to answer “as precisely as possible” and to organize a process of reception among their respective constituencies.1 As a WCC member, the Dutch General Mennonite Society2 gave a response that can be characterized as a searing critique of the sacramental language of the report, particularly the section on the Eucharist.
Although a sense of anti-sacramentality was not uncommon among Mennonite theologians, I want to problematize it in this essay. I will take the discourse between BEM and the Dutch Mennonite response on the Lord’s Supper as the point of departure for a reflection on the usability of sacramental language in Mennonite theology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)154-175
Number of pages22
JournalThe Conrad Grebel Review
Volume36
Issue number2 (Spring)
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Mennonites
  • Ecumenism
  • Sacramentality

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