Friday, December 3, 2010

Upcoming UK travels--Baptist/Catholic conversations (Oxford) and guest lecture (Durham)

In a few days I will depart for the UK to participate in the fifth and final meeting of the 2006-2010 series of bilateral ecumenical dialogues between the Baptist World Alliance and the (Roman Catholic) Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (photo at left is from the 2008 meeting at Duke University). This year's meeting will be hosted at Oxford University by Regent's Park College and will be devoted to the preparation of the official report from this series of conversations. In advance of the December 12-18 meeting in Oxford I will travel to Durham (the "proper Durham," as a former colleague from Scotland insists) to deliver a guest lecture on the theme "Ecumenical Theology and/as Systematic Theology" for the Theology and Ethics Seminar at Durham University led by Professor Paul D. Murray.

Below is a précis of the 2006-2010 conversations between the BWA and the PCPCU:

Theme for the 2006-2010 cycle of Theological Conversations: “The Word of God in the Life of the Church: Scripture, Tradition and Koinonia

This theme is being handled in 5 sessions, one each year in 2006-2010:

2006, Birmingham, AL (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University)

“The Authority of Christ in Scripture and Tradition”

(1) The meaning of ‘The Word of God’ (as God’s self-expression in the Koinonia of the Trinity and the Church; understanding of Koinonia).

(2) Relation of Scripture and Tradition (new Baptist appreciation of tradition; Catholic discernment of the authentic Tradition; the self-giving of Christ in the Spirit in scripture and tradition).

(3) The use of scripture in the church.

2007, Rome, Italy (International House Paulus VI)

"Baptism and Lord’s Supper/Eucharist as Visible Word of God in the Koinonia of the Church”

(4) The notions of sacrament and ordinance in our respective traditions (in light of an understanding of scripture and tradition; as means of grace and as requiring faith).

(5) Baptism as part of the process of initiation, or the journey of Christian beginnings (including the place of the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper in the process; the role of faith in the life of the church; salvation itself as a process; relation of initiation to the life of discipleship).

2008, Durham, NC (The Baptist House of Studies, Duke Divinity School)

“Mary in the Communion of the Church”

(6) Mary in the light of scripture and the early church (e.g. the Mary to whom Christ directs us, the Virgin mother, the handmaid of the Lord, Theotokos, the hearer of the Word, the daughter of Zion, witness to the cross, resurrection and Pentecost).

(7) Mary in the light of ongoing [T]tradition, in relation to Christology and ecclesiology (e.g. development of doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity and the Assumption of Mary; the honoring of Mary by the Protestant Reformers; Mary in the celebration of Christmas; the intercession of Mary in the context of intercessory prayer).

(8) Mary and contemporary issues of inculturation and spirituality (e.g. the ‘local identities’ of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the relation of culture to scripture and tradition; the distinction and confusion between intercession and mediation, and between devotion and worship; Marian issues in feminism; Mary and the sanctity of life).

2009, Rome, Italy (International House Paulus VI)

“Oversight and Primacy in the Ministry of the Church”

(9) The notion of oversight in relation to scripture and tradition (local and universal episkope; oversight and servanthood).

(10) Contemporary developments of the Petrine Office, including the ministry of unity as outlined in “Ut Unum Sint.”

2010, Oxford (Regent’s Park College), England

The main focus will be the preparation of the report of this current cycle of conversations.


  1. Steve: sounds like an incredible opportunity to further the conversation. Having returned recently from the UK, I hope to be participating in the conversation soon myself. Grace - Jay

  2. Thanks, Jay! Hope it was a productive and rewarding time for you. I look forward to reading the end result.

    Grace--and peace, too,