Zürich-Horgen, Switzerland, June 20-24, 1972


A meeting was held in Zürich-Horgen, Switzerland, June 20-24, 1972, between the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church and leaders of some Pentecostal Churches and participants in the Charismatic Movement within Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Churches.

This was the first meeting in an international dialogue which is scheduled to go on over a period of five years and which will focus on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian and of the Churches,

Co-chairmen were Rev. David Du Plessis, prominent international figure in classical Pentecostalism, and Father Kilian McDonnell, osb, Executive Director of the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, Collegeville, Minnesota.

The topic on this occasion was the scriptural basis of the understanding which both sides have of the fullness of life in the Holy Spirit.

Major papers were presented by Canon J. Giblet, Catholic University, Louvain, Belgium, Dr. Rodman Williams, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Texas, Prof. Arnold Bittlinger, Ecumenical Academy, Schloss Craheim, Germany, Father Donatien Mollat, S.J., Gregorian University, Rome, and Dr. F. M611er, President, Apostolic Faith Mission, South Africa.

Areas on which agreement began to emerge were the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, the way in which this is experienced, and the manifestation of the experience through those charismata which can build up the life and unity of the Chris- tian community. Among these special attention was given to the gift of tongues.

The participants emphasized that in the New Testament the expression "to baptize in the Holy Spirit " is used to refer to the baptism of Jesus who gives the Holy Spirit to the People of God, the Church. All men are called to enter into this community through faith in Christ who converts them, makes them disciples through baptism, and makes them sharers of his Spirit.

In the Pentecostal movement particular stress is laid on the full participation in the reality of being "baptized in the Holy Spirit". This is understood as occurring in a decisive experience whereby the Holy Spirit takes hold of a person, an event that empowers and transforms his life, and gives him a new perception of the whole reality of the Christian mystery,

The participants in the dialogue were able to agree that it is the Spirit of Christ who makes one a Christian, and that the life of the believer is "Christian" inasmuch as it remains under the influence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the papers from this meeting will eventually be published.

The dialogue in this present phase is not intended to take up questions of church union nor to enter into the problem of ecclesiastical structures. Rather it aims at discovering what unity already exists in the life, spirit and experience of the various traditions represented around the conference table.

Like other formal international dialogues in which the Roman Catholic Church engages, this one works on the academic theological plane. Hence it does not claim to be a complete approach to the ethos or operation of Pentecostal churches and movement.

Further meetings will take up historical and theological questions as well as sociological and psychological dimensions of Pentecostalism.

Also present were:

Dr. John McTernan, President, International Evangelical Church and pastor, Rome, Italy.
Professor Heribert Mühlen, Paderborn University, Germany.
Professor Rusell Spittler, Southern California College, USA.
Pastor John Meares, Vice-President, International Evangelical Church and U.S. Director, Washington, D.C., USA.
Rev. Michael Harper, Director, Fountain Trust, England.
Father J. Garrigues, O.P., Ecumenical Institute, Paris, France.
Father Athanasios Emmert, Holy Spirit Orthodox Parish, Huntington, West Virginia, USA.
Pastor Jean-Daniel Fischer, Reformed Church, Wittenheim, France.
Pastor F. Hölscher, Apostolic Faith Mission, South Africa.
Rev. Pierre Duprey, W.F., and Rev. Basil Meeking, both of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome, Italy.


[Information Service 19 (1973/I) 8]