Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"The magisterium-hood of all believers"
Today concludes the conference on "Evangelicals and the Nicene Faith" hosted by Beeson Divinity School, at which yesterday I presented the address "The Nicene Faith and the Catholicity of the Church: Evangelical Retrieval and the Problem of Magisterium." As this will be a chapter in a forthcoming book of the conference proceedings to be published by Baker Academic, I'll not post the text here, but I will offer this summary. Recent attempts by Baptists and others who might be broadly described as "evangelicals" to retrieve aspects of the ancient, lower-case "c" catholic faith raise the question of how this might be done without such a project being yet another example of American "consumer" Christianity based on personal preference. What beyond personal preference authorizes such retrieval? After describing and reviewing what I perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of Roman Catholic and Magisterial Protestant approaches to teaching authority in the church, I suggested that there is a another distinctive pattern of teaching authority in the Baptist and broader Free Church tradition that might be summarized with the slightly clumsy English coinage "the magisterium-hood of all believers." I'll provide information on publication details here when available.