This week, we’ll be celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by highlighting historical figures who were practicing ecumenism before it was cool, acting with charity and forbearance toward their fellow Christians.
John Dury (1596 – 1680) was a Scottish-born theologian, preacher, and writer who traveled Europe working for the cause of Protestant ecclesial unity. Although his efforts were mostly directed at a political union in the interests of mutual preservation, they were supported by his understanding of the Christian ideals of unity and the common good.
Dury explained his life’s work of ecclesiastical reconciliation as follows:
“The spiritual work of ecclesiastical reconciliation is a negotiation whereby the spirits of spiritual persons are wrought upon by spiritual means, tending to induce them to peaceable dispositions toward those with whom they are at variance for matters of Religion.”
In his 1641 work, A Briefe Relation of That Which Hath Been Lately Attempted to Procure Ecclesiasticall Peace Amongst Protestants, Drury wrote:
“…the passionate affection of some which are chiefly set upon the work [of ecclesiastical reconciliation] rather for a private advantage, and to exclude their professed adversaries from all means of Christian unity & peace, then to win and save all, is not to be allowed of; because in true Christianity there is no partiality, but the good, which we for our own selves seek in Christ Jesus, ought to be made, so far as in us lyeth, common to all men, and we in seeking it ought not to intend our selves only, but should crave it of God and apply it also unto others. For this was the mind of Christ in procuring all his Father’s benefits unto us, as the Apostle sheweth, Rom. 15. v. 1, to 8. and Phil. 2. v. 1, to 9.”
Have a suggestion of an ecumenical trendsetter? Leave us a comment or let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other posts in this series: