From the Greek oikoumeneµ , “the inhabited world,” “the whole world,” and thus “universal.” Generally “ecumenism” is associated with the movement to bring the Christian churches together in united action and belief, and eventually in some form of organic union. However, as the end of the second millennium approached, the goal of most “ecumenists” was no longer organic unity, but “visible unity.” Oikoumeneµ occurs 15 times in the NT , as, for example, in Luke 2:1 of the extent of the Roman registration mentioned and in Matt. 24:14 of the extent of the preaching of the gospel. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Protestant ecumenical efforts began to focus on social service and foreign missions, through such organizations as the YMCA (founded in Lond...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.