Religious Diversity

As the Canadian Council of Churches’ work frequently raises questions involving interfaith relations, the Council asked the Faith and Witness Commission to engage theologically on religious diversity and how the member churches respond to such questions. The Commission did so in three ways: by helping to create the Christian Interfaith Reference Group, now a permanent body of the CCC; by undertaking an intra-CCC survey among the member churches, leading to the resource Who Is My Neighbour?; and by taking Religious Diversity as its triennial study topic in 2012-2018.   

For the theological study in 2012-2015, the Commission members prepared denominational responses to the World Council of Churches’ background document, Religious Plurality and Christian Self-Understanding (2006), which is intended to start theological discussions on this topic. They then spent time hearing and responding to each other’s papers. When the scope of the reflection became clear, the Commission extended the topic of Religious Diversity to a second triennium (2015-2018), wanting to engage all the churches in this valuable forum and listen for consensus as well as divergences. 

Out of this careful and interesting study, a response emerged. This response included both a consensus statement on the vital importance of inter-religious relations in ecumenical and church life in contemporary Canada, and separate statements on the member denominations’ different theological approaches to religious diversity in Canada. The consensus statement forms the theological and pastoral grounding for the denominational statements. We hope you will find in both a sense of the urgency of the question for Canadian churches, and the theological depth and richness of the multilateral dialogue which engaged the Commission during these years.