This remains an issue in which ecumenical theologians are yet to unravel. The argument is that if other sacraments establish some form of connection among Christians traditions, why has the Eucharistic Communion remained exclusive? If so, it appears the Eucharist is a huddle yet to be crossed in other to reach full communion of Christians. The question then is, is there any other connective point on which the unity of Christians can be built upon? Or, if the Eucharist is the determining factor for the actualization of Christian unity, what ecumenical theology and method can one reconstruct in this regard? Would ecumenical theology be based on the sacraments, practice or Christ in other to make headway towards the unity of Christians? These intriguing questions constitute part of the argument of this research by examining how the sacramental theology of the church could be translated into the life of the Christians in collaboration with the movements from the perspective of the Body of Christ.
Moreover, there appears to be a reinterpretation of the unifying role of the Eucharist in order not to downplay the significance of the Eucharist in ecumenism. Accordingly, George Hunsinger’s approach which tries to bring Catholic and Evangelical theology into dialogue by looking at the Eucharist as Christian worship gives an insightful clue. He remarks that “Christian worship is essentially a eucharistic worship or it is not Christian at all”. It becomes interesting to see the Eucharist from a different perspective. One discovers that Hunsinger employs the Eucharist from a metaphoric angle in other to bring it into the ecumenical discussion. Accordingly, the sacramental dimension of Eucharist is not an obstacle to engage other Christians in the pursuit of Christian unity. Hunsinger’s view seems to present a dilemma that circumvents the value unity which receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist signifies for the Christians in the mainline churches and the perception of the Eucharist as a symbol of unity. The presupposition is that Christians of the mainline denominations are united internally (spiritually) in Christ by this reception of the Eucharist. This already indicates inner unity. The issue is does union with Christ (internal unity) requires an external structure of unity or is the external structure of unity of churches a condition or verification of the internal unity? While we do not ignore this potential threat to a new meaning for unity, this research aims to theologically focus on the human person to enable us to discern the unity of Christians as a people of God which is not in contradiction to the doctrine of Eucharist communion.
By so doing, Hunsinger’s reconstruction of the Eucharistic theology will not constitute a big problem of ecumenical discourse. His reconstruction will provide insight for our research in distilling the communion objective of the Eucharist from what he termed ‘enclaved theology’ and modern academic liberal theology. Hence, I infer from his Eucharistic theology for this research an idea which seeks to explore specific Christian beliefs and practices as not exclusive to them, but to bring out their inclusive intent. I shall return to this insight in our third chapter and clarify it in the methodological approaches.