Christian Unity Evening at Mount Angel Seminary
by Brother Peter Tynan, OSB
On the evening of January 24th, the seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary were treated to an experience they do not often have. They had the opportunity to hear a Protestant theologian speak about Christian unity and action in the contemporary world. The occasion was Christian Unity night, and the speaker was Dr. Paul Metzger of Multnomah Biblical Seminary and University in Portland.
|Dr. Paul Metzger at the the beginning of his talk at Mount Angel Seminary.|
Dr. Metzger spoke about his work with The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, which is based at Multnomah University. According to Dr. Metzger, we are living in a post-Christendom world where culture and the Gospel are often at odds with each other. In such a world Catholics and Evangelicals need to move out of their mutual suspicions and work together at bringing the Gospel to people in new ways. These ways will need to keep in mind that many today hunger for the Gospel but are scandalized by organized religion. Evangelization must take place at the interpersonal level, according to Dr. Metzger.
Why would a Catholic seminary ask a Protestant theologian to speak? In his 1995 encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, the late John Paul II reminded the Church that, "Ecumenical dialogue is of essential importance." Mount Angel Seminary takes this call to work toward Christian unity seriously. The fourth-year theology students take a class dedicated to ecumenism, and there is a standing committee for all the seminarians dedicated to promoting Christian unity. The mission of this committee is to help seminarians realize the importance of ecumenism has in the life of the Church and to give them opportunities to practice it.