Reconciling Theology: Three Concepts for Convergence

  • Paul Avis
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)


This chapter is an essay in reconciling or mediating theology. Its presupposition is that, in the Church of Christ, there is an imperative to reach out to those with whom we disagree. It expounds three heuristic ‘concepts for convergence’. ‘Conversation’ points to genuine dialogue that identifies common ground, pin-points real differences and looks for a path of convergence in the future. ‘Communion’ (koinonia) refers to the very being of the Church and—in obedience to the ‘love commandment’ of the New Testament—contains an obligation to maximize the degree of communion that is possible ‘beyond all differences’. ‘Conversion’ is the transforming dynamic of all reconciling theology and signifies a turning from our own preferences to the one Church of Jesus Christ.


  1. ARCIC III. 2018. Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal. London: SPCK.Google Scholar
  2. Avis, Paul, ed. 1995. Divine Revelation. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2006. Beyond the Reformation: Authority, Primacy and Unity in the Conciliar Tradition. London/New York: T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2010. Reshaping Ecumenical Theology. London/New York: T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2016. The Vocation of Anglicanism. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2019a. The Elusiveness of Consensus and a Pathway to Deeper Communion. Unpublished Paper Given at a Conference on Ecumenical Dialogue at DePaul University, Chicago, May.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2019b. The Conciliar Tradition and the Anglican Communion. In Incarnating Authority: A Critical Account of Authority in the Church, ed. Paul Avis, Angela Berlis, Nikolaus Knoepffler, and Martin O’. Malley. München: Herbert Utz Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2020. Revelation, Epistemology and Authority. In The Oxford Handbook of Divine Revelation, ed. Balázs M. Mezei, Francesca Aran Murphy, and Kenneth Oakes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bunyan, John. 1942. The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to that Which Is to Come Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream, with illustrations by Harold Copping. London/Redhill: Lutterworth.Google Scholar
  10. Burke, Edmund. 1910. Reflections on the Revolution in France. London/New York: Dent/Dutton.Google Scholar
  11. Davis, Charles. 1980. Theology and Political Society: The Huslean Lectures in the University of Cambridge 1978. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Flannery, O.P, Austin, ed. 1992. Vatican Council II: Volume 1, The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents. New Revised Edition. New York/Dublin: Costello Publishing Company/Dominican Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Freud, Sigmund. 1962. Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis. In Two Short Accounts of Psycho-Analysis. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  14. Flynn Gabriel. 2008. Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning. Ed. Paul Murray. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Groupe des Dombes. 1993. For the Conversion of the Churches. Geneva: World Council of Churches.Google Scholar
  16. Habermas, J. 1972. Knowledge and Human Interests. Trans. Jeremy Shapiro. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Haight, S.J, Roger. 2008. Christian Community in History, Volume 3: Ecclesial Existence. London/New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  18. Hietamäki, Minna. 2010. Agreeable Agreement: An Examination of the Quest for Consensus in Ecumenical Dialogue. Ecclesiological Investigations 8. London/New York: T&T Clark.Google Scholar
  19. Humble, Nicola. 2000/1861. Introduction. In Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, ed. Nicola Humble. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kasper, Walter. 2004. That They May All Be One: The Call to Unity. London/New York: Burns and Oates.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 2009. Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue. London/New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Kempis, Thomas. 1952. The Imitation of Christ. Trans. Leo Shirley Price. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  23. Kittel, G., ed. 1964–76. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Trans. G.W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.Google Scholar
  24. Lonergan, S.J., Bernard. 1973. Method in Theology. 2nd ed. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.Google Scholar
  25. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. 2013. Silence: A Christian History. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  26. MacIntyre, Alasdiar. 1985. After Virtue. 2nd ed. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 1988. Whose Justice? Which Rationality? Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  28. Mishra, Pankaj. 2005. Introduction. In E. M. Forster, A Passage to India, ed. Oliver Stallybrass. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  29. Morgan, Michael L. 2007. Discovering Levinas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Oakley, Francis. 2003. The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church 1300–1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Peukert, H. 1984. Science, Action, and Fundamental Theology: Toward a Theology of Communicative Action. Trans. James Bohman. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Rahner, Karl. 1975. Conversion. In Encyclopedia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi, ed. Karl Rahner. London: Burns and Oates.Google Scholar
  33. Richardson, Alan. 1958. An Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
  34. Rowell, Geoffrey. 1981. Cor ad Cor Loquitur: Newman’s Choice of His Cardinalatial Motto as a Pointer to His Understanding of Christian Faith and Its Communication. In Theologian and Cardinal; Atti del Symposio Internazionale. Studia Urbaniana 1o, ed. John Henry Newman, 49–73. Rome/Brescia: Urbaniana University Press/Paedeia Editorice.Google Scholar
  35. Rush, Ormond. 2009. The Eyes of Faith: The Sense of the Faithful and the Church’s Reception of Revelation. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.Google Scholar
  36. Ruttle, Stephen. 2015. Mediation and the Church’s Mission. In Good Disagreement? Grace and Truth in a Divided Church, ed. Andrew Atherstone and Andrew Goddard. Oxford: Lion.Google Scholar
  37. Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism. 1966. Unitatis Redintegratio. In The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott. London/Dublin: Geoffrey Chapman.Google Scholar
  38. Small, J.D. 2005. What Is Communion and When Is It Full? Ecclesiology 2 (1): 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. The Eames Commission. 1994. The Official Reports. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Communion and Women in the Episcopate. Toronto: Anglican Book Centre.Google Scholar
  40. Yeats, W.B. 1962. The Lake Isle of Innisfree. In Selected Poems, ed. A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Avis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Theology and ReligionUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of Theology and ReligionUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

Personalised recommendations