Bolton, Ontario, Canada - June 23-30, 1998



The fifth phase of the international Raman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue began in Bolton, Ontario, Canada, June 23-30, 1998. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal Churches and leaders.

The goal of the Dialogue is a deepening of mutual understanding and respect, not organic or structural unity. An atmosphere of candour and trust prevailed during discussions. Each day, the Dialogue was preceded and followed by devotions which were led alternatively by members of the two teams.

The previous phase focused on Evangelisation, Proselytism and Common Witness. The topic was difficult due the tension existing between the two groups in various parts of the world. However, discussions within Dialogue produced a well-balanced report, which has been circulated widely.

The topic of the current phase is "Christian Initiation and the Baptism in the Spirit". In this session papers were re ad by Fr. Kilian McDonnell (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Ronald Kydd (Pentecostal). The focus was upon the process by which a person becomes a Christian. Participants struggled to understand each other's theological frameworks and language. Throughout the discussion the attempt was made to gain a perspective drawn from the Bible and Christian authors from the first eight centuries of Christian history.

One major question which emerged had to do with the understanding of the term "Baptism in the Holy Spirit ". Catholics identify it in a broad sense as applicable to the graces communicated by God in the Rites of Christian Initiation, i.e., Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Many Pentecostals think it refers to an experience, distinct from conversion, which gives power to bear witness to Jesus Christ as Saviour.

Upcoming sessions of the Dialogue will explore aspects of the same topic. The meaning of faith and conversion in Christian Initiation will be examined. The place of Christian Community as the context of Christian experience, charisms, and growth will also receive careful attention.

Co-Chairs of the Dialogue are Rev. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. (Assemblies of God, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.) and Rev. Father Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B. (St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, U.S.A.).

Pentecostal participants included: Rev. Ronald Kydd (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) who served as co-secretary; Dr. Cheryl Bridges-Johns (Church of God, Cleveland, TN, U.S.A.); Rev. David Cole (Open Bible Standard Churches, U.S.A.); Rev. Gary McGee (Assemblies of God, U.S.A.); Rev. François M611er (Apostolic Faith Mission, South Africa); Rev. Steve Overman (International Church of the Four Square Gospel, U.S.A.); Rev. Raymond Pruitt (Church of God of Prophecy, U.S.A.). Also Rev. Peter De Witt (Apostolic Faith Mission. South Africa), attended as an observer;

Roman Catholic participants included Dr. Ralph Del Colle (Marquette University., Milwaukee, U.S.A.); Mr. Hans Gasper (Deutsche Bischofskonferenz, Germany); Rev. Father William Henn, O.F.M. Cap. (Rome, Italy); Sister Maria Ko, F.M.A. (Hong Kong, China); Rev. Father Patrick Lyons, O.S.B. (Rome, Italy); Msgr. John A. Radano, U.S.A. (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity); Rev. Father Luis Ramos, O.P. (Mexico); and Rev. Juan Usma G6mez, Colombia (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) who served as co-secretary.

Rev. William Morrow, General Superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and Rev. Kenneth Birch, Executive Director of Canadian Ministries, The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, both attended several sessions of the Dialogue. The members of the Dialogue attended Sunday worship at Mississauga Gospel Temple and afterwards were hosted at dinner by Rev. Evon Horton.


[Information Service 98 (1998/III) 161]