Venice, Italy, July 14-21, 1991


The second meeting of the fourth phase of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue was held in Venice, Italy, July 14-21, 1991, at Casa Cardinal Piazza. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal churches and leaders. The participants were officially welcomed by Msgr. Giuseppe Visentin, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Venice.

The general topic chosen for this meeting was: The Biblical and Systematic Foundation of Evangelization. Theological position papers were prepared by Rev. Karl Müller, SVD (Director of the Missiological Institute, St. Augustin, Germany) on the Catholic side, while the Pentecostal view of the same issue was presented by Dr. William Menzies (Assemblies of God) of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio City, Philippines. Although the unity of the Church is a concern of Pentecostals and Roman Catholics alike, the dialogue has not had as its goal or its subject, either organic or structural union. These discussions were meant to develop a climate of mutual understanding in matters of faith and practice; to find points of genuine agreement as well as to indicate areas in which further dialogue is required.

The dialogue team explored Roman Catholic and Pentecostal understandings of evangelization, and differences in approaches to evangelization. Building from the Report of the previous quinquennium Perspectives on Koinonia, a major issue which emerged in the discussions was the relationship between the individual and the church community in the work of evangelization. Other issues which surfaced from the discussions included the biblical mandate for evangelization, the role of laity in evangelization, the accountability of evangelists, the demonic and evangelization, and the basis on which salvation of non-Christians might be accomplished. The discussions which took place in an open and warm atmosphere were concluded by a joint prayer service.

Serving as co-chairs were Rev. Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B. (St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, U.S.A.) and Rev. Justus du Plessis (Apostolic Faith Mission, Faerie Glen, Republic of South Africa).

Official delegates sent to the dialogue from the Pentecostal side included Dr. François Muller, (Apostolic Faith Mission, Sandton, Republic of South Africa); Rev. Japie Lapoorta, (Apostolic Faith Mission, Kuils River, Republic of South Africa), Dr. Coleman Phillips (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Escondido, California, U.S.A.) and Dr. James D. Jenkins (Church of God Cleveland TN, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.).

Other Pentecostal participants included: Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. (Assemblies of God, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.); Dr. Miroslav Volf (Yugoslavian Pentecostal Church, Osijek, Yugoslavia); Dr. Ronald Kydd (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Keene, Ontario, Canada); Dr. Del Tarr (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A.); Dr. Vinson Synan (Oral Roberts University, Pentecostal Holiness, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.).

Rev. Chris Stathis (Church of God of Prophecy, Ano Glyfada, Greece) was delegated by the Church of God of Prophecy (Cleveland, Tennessee, U.S.A.) to serve as an official observer, Dr. Cees Van der Laan (Dutch Assemblies of God, Doorn, The Netherlands) and Rev. Luiz Carlos Pinto (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Campinas, Brazil) were also officially delegated by their denominations. Dr. Edith Blumhofer (Assemblies of God, Wheaton, Illinois), and Rev. Paul Tinlin (Assemblies of God, Schaumburg, Illinois, U.S.A.) attended the dialogue as Pentecostal Observers.

Increased Pentecostal interest in the Dialogue may be seen in the growing number of Pentecostal denominations who are sending official participants and observers to the discussion.

Other Roman Catholic participants included Msgr. John A. Radano, (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City); Rev. Heinz- Albert Raem, co-secretary (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Vatican City); Prof. Hervé Legrand, O.P. (Institut Catholique, Paris, France); Rev. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., (Milan, Italy): Rev. John C. Haughey, S.J. (Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.); Rev. John Redford, (Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England); Sr. Helen Rolfson, O.S.F. (St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA).


[Information Service 78 (1991/ III-IV) 204-205]