As Christians listen to the voice of the Shepherd and seek to follow, we will leave some of our traditional securities, yet we will gain deepened identities as God's people in mission. Perhaps we will understand more fully Jesus' prayer, "I ask not only on behalf of these [disciples], but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one" (John 17:20, NRSV). The Lutheran-Moravian Dialogue and our churches' movement toward full communion are set in the contexts of dialogues and journeys toward unity in which Christians and their churches encounter each other anew. Today we have con-cluded that Christian unity need not mean corporate unification, but involves what we have previously called "full communion."
At the same time, the twentieth century, for all its startling scientific and technological advances, has also witnessed the often lethal fragmentation of the human family along racial, ethnic, religious, gender, political and economic lines. The deconstruction of shared meanings between and within communities, together with rising levels of anxiety and violence, underscore the need and hunger for coherence without coercion and community with continuity. In this time Christians hear and seek to respond to God's summons to recognize the unity which we already have and to manifest our confidence in the Lord who calls all persons to himself.
Part of the response to God and the Church's mission to the world involves new approaches in ecumenical dialogues and actions. One such approach is indicated in Baptism, Eucharist And Ministry (BEM) developed by the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission.1 The Commission invited the churches to consider how one church recognizes the apostolic faith in the life and thought of another church. At that level the respective communities are freed from insisting on verbal or conceptual exactitude or uniformity of practice in their formulations and actions. Here BEM foreshadowed what we term shortly "Mutual Affirmations." Next, each church was asked to consider whether it could learn from others so as to gain a fuller understanding of and richer expression for its witness to and praise of God. At this level BEM foreshadowed what we call "Mutual Complementarities."
The Moravian and Lutheran dialoguers recognized that our conversations were roughly analogous to the methods used in BEM and the bilateral dialogues in which Lutherans have engaged in recent decades. We encountered frequently the need to explain our perspectives on theology and theology's roles in the spheres of personal, ecclesial, and social life. In effect, we realized the importance of the fourth goal of our original charge: "to test and articulate Moravian and Lutheran theology and theological methodologies." Our attitudes toward, understandings of theology's functions, and the means we employ to express ourselves emerged as vital to our self-understandings and our understandings of each other. The balance of this Report follows the pattern Perspectives On Theology, Mutual Affirmations, Mutual Complementarities, and Concluding Statement
1 Baptism, Eucharist And Ministry, Faith and Order Paper 114, Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982. The way that churches were asked to respond to Baptism, Eucharist And Ministry provides a meaningful paradigm for the way churches are called upon to respond to each other. This could be summarized as:
Several American church bodies of the Reformed tradition have been engaged in dialogue with Lutheran churches since 1962. In the wake of mergers and the formation of new ecclesiastical entities, those churches are now the Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, and United Church of Christ, and the ELCA. The Formula of Agreement to establish full communion between the Reformed churches and the ELCA was presented to the respective church conventions/assemblies in 1997 and accepted by all bodies.