his book, by a Methodist minister with wide experience of churches in Britain and abroad, has arisen out of a consuming interest in the ecumenical movement in England over a period of years. Written in an open and attractive way, it describes the history of relations between churches since their earlier divisions, and focusses particularly on the situation at the present time. Was the church united in New Testament times, and what were the problems which caused divisions? After looking at these questions against the background of the early church and the Reformation, David Butler then looks at beliefs which have so often been in conflict in the past as they appear to others. What are the 'strange ideas' of Protestants and Catholics and why is each side so suspicious of the other? Why can't Anglicans and Methodists agree, and what about Catholics and Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics? Of course great progress has been made, and in particular growing convergence on understanding the Bible is highlighted, and the reconciliation over Reformation controversies is noted. There are also chapters on most recent ecumenical developments and on ecumenical spirituality. Then comes a description of the new scene: the role of the Black churches in the ecumenical movement, and the contribution of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements.
Here is a book which any Christian can understand, and its infectious enthusiasm brings to life a vital cause which to some seems to have got bogged down with impasses or dulled by uninspiring statements reading perilously like bureaucracy.