Raiser Konrad, Ecumenism in Transition. A Paradigm Shift in the Ecumenical Movement? (in Greek the title is: The future of Ecumenism. A Paradigm Shift in the Ecumenical Movement?), Paratiritis Publications, 1995, pp. 221.
Konrad Raiser has been General Secretary of World Council of Churches and Professor of Ecumenical Theology in German universities. The initial motive of writing this book, as he says in his prologue, has been his desire to understand more deeply the condition of ecumenical movement, the uncertainty of its future and the lack of a concrete vision. Is the called “crisis” of ecumenical movement, a sign of decline and disruption or an element of growth and transformation?
The book is divided into five units.
In the first unit “uncertainty in the ecumenical movement” Raiser traces the present situation of the ecumenical movement. According to the author, the main characteristic of ecumenical movement is an uncertainty of aims, methods and membership, that is about who is taking the initiative for starting and continuing the ecumenical dialogue.
In the second unit, Raiser analyses the classic self-understanding of ecumenical movement. The author examines the ‘shift of paradigm’ in the ecumenical movement, the repetition of a Christ centric universality and its use as ecumenical paradigm.
In the third unit the author refers to the new challenges faced by the ecumenical movement as Christ centrism, religious pluralism, unity and plurality in the church etc.
In the fourth unit Raiser sets out his model according to which a new frame of dialogue and ecumenical co-existence is possible to be build, that of “an oikoumene as household of life” .
In his last unit, Raiser stresses the ecclesiological importance of World Council of Churches and the meaning of synod cal process for justice, peace and integrity of creation. According to the author the struggle and self-restraint for truth with dialogue, the common sharing of goods with solidarity, readiness for mending in the process of ecumenical learning are some of the characteristics of the future ecumenical vision and hope.