Convergence Movement

The Convergence Movement is a movement among evangelical and charismatic churches in the United States and elsewhere to blend charismatic worship with liturgies from the Book of Common Prayer and other liturgical sources.

The movement was inspired by the spiritual pilgrimages of modern Evangelical writers like Thomas Howard, Robert E. Webber, Peter E. Gillquist and the ancient Christian writers and their communities. These men, along with theologians, scripture scholars, and pastors in a number of traditions, were calling Christians back to their roots in the primitive church.[1][2][3]

Evangelicals look eastward

In 1973 Campus Crusade for Christ missionary Peter E. Gillquist (1938-2012) of Chicago established a network of house churches throughout the United States, aiming to restore a primitive form of Christianity, which was called the New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO). Researching the historical basis of the Christian faith, Gillquist and his colleagues found sources for this restoration in the writings of the early Church Fathers. This led the group to practice a more liturgical form of worship than in their previous evangelical background. In 1979, the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) was organized. The belief of needing apostolic succession led most members of the EOC to join the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in 1987.

The Chicago Call

In 1977 “The Chicago Call” was issued by the National Conference of Evangelicals for Historic Christianity, meeting in Warrenville, Illinois. Led by Dr. Robert Webber (Assoc. Professor of Theology at Wheaton College), along with Peter Gillquist, Thomas Howard, Richard Holt, Donald Bloesch, Jan Dennis, Lane Dennis, and Victor Oliver, the Conference discussed the need for evangelical Christians to rediscover and re-attach to the Church’s historic roots. The Conference issued several documents which together are known as The Chicago Call. Components of the Call include: A Call to Historic Roots and Continuity; A Call to Biblical Fidelity; A Call to Creedal Identity; A Call to Holistic Salvation; A Call to Sacramental Integrity; A Call to Spirituality; A Call to Church Authority; and A Call to Church Unity.

"The Three Streams, One River?"

In 1984 Charisma magazine, one of the most influential magazines of th charismatic movement, published an article by Dr Richard Lovelace entitled "The Three Streams, One River?" (Sept 1984). Lovelace approvingly noted the trend of Catholics, evangelicals, and charismatic/Pentecostals moving closer together.

Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail

Robert Webber's 1985 book Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals are Attracted to the Liturgical Church documents the stories of six evangelical Christians who, for various reasons, had converted to the Episcopal Church. Publication of this book stirred up a great deal of interest in the evangelical press, generating numerous reviews in Christianity Today and other widely read evangelical publications. In the following years Webber wrote several additional books that had great influence on evangelical churches seeking to incorporate liturgy and traditional practices into their worship, and numbers of evangelical Christians continued to migrate to the historic liturgical denominations.

Convergence communions

See also


  1. J. Gordon Melton Encyclopedia of American religions - 2003 "In the years after World War I, negotiations began to create a broad union that would include the Anglican and ... the "convergence movement," the term referring to the "convergence" of various streams of renewal that shared an understanding of the church as one Body with a variety of diverse but contributing parts. Following the lead of British bishop Lesslie Newbigin, the convergence movement affirmed the threefold essence of the church as Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox/Pentecostal. The church is Catholic as it relates to the emphases of "incarnation and creation," Protestant with an emphasis on "biblical proclamation and conversion, " and Orthodox/Pentecostal in relation to "the mystical and the Holy Spirit."
  2. Vinson Synan The Holiness-Pentecostal tradition: Charismatic movements in the ... - 1997 p294 "By 1990, like minded pastors were banding together in what they called a "convergence movement" designed to bring the three streams together in a new and powerful spiritual configuration. Even more striking were the cases of charismatic ..."
  3. The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature 1 p93 e.d George Thomas Kurian, James D. Smith, III - 2010 "It foreshadows the convergence movement of the late twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century churches that are liturgical/sacramental and evangelical/ reformed."

Further reading

External links

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