Date Thesis Awarded

4-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Religious Studies

Advisor

Alexander Angelov

Committee Members

Marc Raphael

Christopher Grasso

Abstract

In 1997, four American Protestant denominations (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ) signed a document entitled "A Formula of Agreement," which brought them into full communion partnership. This thesis analyzes the history of these four Churches, the conversations preceding the signing, the document itself, and its dissenters' arguments. It situates "A Formula of Agreement" within Charles Taylor's A Secular Age and examines the Holy Communion as an example of Victor Turner's communitas for the twentieth-century ecumenical movement. "Children of the Bible" argues that ecumenism is a product of the modern era in which people have a choice to be not religious, and it provides a framework for understanding how the de-emphasis of historical divisions and scriptural interpretation enables ecumenical partnerships.

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