About the author: The Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Baima is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and provost of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Illinois, where he teaches in the areas of ecclesiology, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. For more than twenty years, Father Baima has been involved in the ecumenical movement at the local, state and national levels including as Ecumenical Officer of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
2003 0-7734-6701-7 Although the Concordat of Agreement passed the 1999 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly, there was still a solid bloc of Lutherans who refused to receive its theology. This study examines the decision-making process which led to the failure of the Concordat at the 1997 ELCA Churchwide Assembly for the deeper causes of the ongoing non-reception. Using insights from several theological disciplines (canon law, ecclesiology, ecumenism, and sacramental theology), as well as organizational behavior and management, it analyzes the verbatim transcripts of the 1997 assembly. The data gained from this research identifies and analyzes both the method of bilateral dialogue and the content of the theological propositions regarding historic episcopacy and three-fold ministry which form the causes of the non-reception of the Concordat. The findings identify a flaw in the method used in the ELCA bilateral dialogues – the lack of inter-governance to balance the intercommunion. This insight challenges other bilateral dialogues to examine their method as well. Also, by reviewing these findings from the standpoint of ecclesiology, it is able to generalize how the flaws could affect the communion at the global level.