Prague, Czech Republic, June 30-July 6, 2005


The eighth year of the fifth phase of the International Dialogue between Classical Pentecostal churches and leaders and the Catholic Church was held at Centrum Mariapoli, in Prague, Czech Republic, June 30 - July 6, 2005. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal churches and leaders.

The dialogue, which began in 1972, is not seeking to establish structural unity. Instead its purpose is to promote mutual understanding and respect by becoming acquainted with aspects of each other's spiritual life and engaging in genuine, frank dialogue on the understandings and practices of the respective communions.

The current phase of dialogue began in 1998. It has considered both biblical and patristic perspectives on how one becomes a Christian. The dialogue has addressed the following topics: "Christian Initiation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit", "Faith and Christian Initiation", "Conversion and Christian Initiation", "Christian Experience in Community" and "Christian Formation and Discipleship". The meeting in Prague was dedicated to the drafting of the final Report of this fifth phase of dialogue. Particular attention was given to the sections on Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Christian Experience. Reports of the previous phases of dialogue are available from the Information Service, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity or from Pneunia: Iournal for the Soclety of Pentecostal Studies.

An added feature of this phase of the dialogue has been to include explicit reference not only to the Sacred Scriptures but also to the writings of key theologians of the early Church, the Church Fathers. Though Pentecostals and Catholics differ over the degree of authority to be granted these patristic writings, it is hoped that including them in this phase will enrich the ongoing exploration of the dialogue.

While staying and working at Centrum Mariapoli, the members of both teams received a warm welcome from the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, and enjoyed rich fellowship with him at the Center.

Co-chairs of the Dialogue were Rev. Cecil M. Robeck Jr. (Assemblies of God, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA) and Msgr. John Radano (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City/USA).

Delegates from the Classical Pentecostal churches included: Rev. David Cole (Open Bible Churches, Eugene Bible College, Eugene, OR, USA), Rev. Clayton Endecott (General Presbyter for Europe and the Middle East, Church of God of Prophecy, Germany); Rev. Steve Overman (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Eugene, OR, USA) and Rev. Huibert Zegwaart (Verenigde Pinkster - en Evangeliegemeenten, Azusa Theological Seminary, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Delegates from the Catholic team included: Dr. Ralph Del Colle (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA); Mr. Hans Gasper (German Bishops' Conference, Bonn, Germany); Rev. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap. (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome/USA); Sr. Maria Ko, F.M.A. (Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong, China); Rev. Patrick Lyons, O.S.B. (Mary Immaculate College, University of Lìmerick, Ireland); Rev. Luis Ramos, O.P. (Centro de Estudios Filosoficos Tomàs de Aquino, Leon, Mexico); and Msgr. Juan Usma Gόmez, (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City/ Colombia), who serves as Secretary to the Dialogue.


[Information Service 119 (2005/III) 142-143]