There was grace, generosity and humility behind this remarkable proposal adopted at the Inaugural Conference of the Evangelical Alliance in 1846. The contemporary ethos of Evangelicalism seems less gracious, less generous and less humble given the turf wars between factions who want to define Evangelicalism by defining others out.
My own ecumenical sympathies, balanced by the convictions of a Baptist identity, are able to co-exist much more fruitfully in the kind of atmosphere out of which the EA emerged. With the chronological snobbery C S Lewis memorably scorned, we look back on the earlier years of Christian tradition uninformed of the spiritual values that gave birth to our tradition, therefore much of our thinking unformed and uncorrected by that earlier generous spirit. Or so it seems to me as I browse and ponder on that Evangelical fractiousness and fragmentation that pretends to defend the truth and merely succeeds in reducing truth to the capacities of minds lacking precisely that grace, generosity and humility in which we greet each other in Christ
"That this Conference, composed of professing Christians of many different Denominations, all exercising the right of private judgment, and, through common infirmity, differing in the views they severally entertain on some points, both of Christian doctrines and ecclesiastical Polity, and gathered together from many and remote parts of the World, for the purpose of promoting Christian Union, rejoice in making their unanimous avowal of the glorious truth, that the Church of the living God, while it admits of growth, is One Church, never having lost, and being incapable of losing its essential unity. Not, therefore, to create that unity, but to confess it, is the design of their assembling together. One in reality, they desire also, as far as they may be able to attain it, to be visibly one; and thus, both to realize in themselves, and to exhibit to others, that a living and everlasting union binds all true believers together in the fellowship of the Church of Christ."
Report of the Proceedings of the Conference, London, From August 19th to September 2nd Inclusive, 1846, page 44. Quoted in One Body in Christ. The History and Significance of the Evangelical Alliance, Ian Randall and David Hillborn (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2001) page 55.
The sculpture below is by Scott Rogers, and is called "That they all may be One".