Something very important happened in 1910 in Scotland. An event happened that was the birthplace of one of the most important movements in the modern international church.
In 1910, in Edinburgh, there was a World Missionary Conference. Christians from around the world met to think and talk and pray about how God was calling them to share the good news of Jesus around the world.
One of the most important results of that conference was the realisation that Christian mission was, and is, profoundly disrupted by the scandal of Christian disunity.
Christian mission is profoundly disrupted by the scandal of Christian disunity.
As people were following God’s call to tell people about Jesus, they found that they were sharing about Jesus who came to earth, lived among us, died for us, was raised to life and glory so that people could live at peace with each other and with God. They were then having to explain that for some reason Jesus’ representatives on earth, who were meant to live like him, were divided amongst themselves.
I experience this quite often when I go and talk to families who are thinking of bringing their children to baptism. Maybe one of the parents was bought up in a Roman Catholic household, and the other in a Church of England household. They want to know what the difference is, and how come there are two churches when there’s only one Jesus. To be honest, it is embarrassing to have to explain and it saddens me that over the centuries Jesus’ followers have failed so spectacularly to love each other as Christ loves us.
From this realisation, the modern ecumenical movement was born. People devoting time to listening to each other, hearing each others stories, and determining that unity between Christians and churches should be built up so that the voice of the church could speak of Christ without compromise.