If you care about the ecumenical movement or would like to know enough to care about it, read Michael Kinnamon's book. No one is a more engaging guide into the questions of ecumenism in our day. In clear, accessible language Kinnamon presents a careful account of the movement and a thoughtful assessment of its pres­ent moment. And the book's appendices make readily available the key ecumenical documents of the past century.

Kinnamon, the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission and Peace at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, identifies eight central elements in the movement's vision: The ecumenical movement understands the unity of the church as a gift from God that we seek to manifest more fully and faithfully, not as something we humanly create. It links unity and renewal. Though good in itself, interchurch cooperation is not the goal of the movement, which is oriented toward a renewed life as church. It brings together unity and justice, calling the churches to greater unity in matters of faith and order and to new insight and action in matters of justice. It is not about reconciling diversities but about seeking unity in a multivocal expression of the one truth. It "moves" through the churches' recognition of sin, repentance and ever deepening conversion; it is a process not of growth but of radical change. It is truly a "movement," with a strong lay component and a notable protest character. It ascribes ecclesial significance to councils of churches. And, finally, though it may--indeed ought to--engage in dialogue with other religions, it has a goal of its own, appropriate to itself.

To Kinnamon's list I would add one additional element. For some early ecumenical leaders a sense of reconnection with the whole of the church through the ages was particularly important. Tellingly, Willem Vis­ser 't Hooft, the first general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), remarks in his memoirs that those who attended the first Life and Work Conference in 1925 felt that the days of the ancient ecumenical councils had come again. Though I myself do not see this as a vision that has become impoverished, some present-day ecumenists express deep concern that this dimension may have been sacrificed or lost in recent years.