Denomination: Assessing an Ecclesiological Category, ed. Paul M. Collins and Barry Ensign-George (Ecclesiological Investigations, vol. 11; T & T Clark International, 2011), a book to which I contributed the chapter written from a Baptist perspective: "The Ecumenical Dimensions of Baptist Denominational Identity." The book will be released in North America on August 18. The book description, table of contents, and reviews from the book's page on the Continnum / T & T Clark International web site appear below.
The term "denomination" is now widely used to describe a Christian community or church. But what is a ‘denomination’? In this highly creative collection of essays representatives of all major Christian traditions give an answer to this question. What does the term mean in their own tradition? And does that tradition understand itself to be a ‘denomination’? If so, what is that understanding of ‘denomination’; and if not, how does the tradition understand itself vis à vis those churches which do and those churches which do not understand themselves as ‘denominations’? In dialogue with the argument and ideas set forth in Barry Ensign-George’s essay each essay offers a response from the perspective of a particular church (tradition). Each essay also considers questions concerning the current landscape of ecumenical dialogue; ecumenical method and the goals of the ecumenical movement; also questions of Christian identity and belonging.
Table of Contents
Introduction Paul M. Collins
'Denomination as Ecclesiological Category: Sketching an Assessment' Barry Ensign-George (Reformed/Presbyterian)
Anglican 'Denomination: An Anglican Appraisal' Paul Avis
Baptist: 'The Ecumenical Dimensions of Baptist Denominational Identity' Steven R. Harmon
Lutheran: 'The Lutheran Church: Church, Confession, Congregation, Denomination' Gesa Thiessen
Methodist: 'United Methodism: Its Identity as Denomination' Russell Richey
Orthodox: 'The Orthodox Church on Denomination' Elena Vishnevskaya
Pentecostal: 'The Denomination in Classical and Global Pentecostal Ecclesiology: A Historical and Theological Contribution' Wolfgang Vondey
Quaker: 'Denomination beyond the North Atlantic Ecclesial World' Ann Riggs
Reformed/Presbyterian: 'Presbyterianism and Denomination' Amy Plantinga Pauw
'Is there a future for denominationalism? Reflections from the perspective of Roman Catholic ecclesiology and from the perspective of the future of the ecumenical movement' Peter de Mey
'Afterword: A Global Perspective' Kirsteen Kim
Revd Dr Paul M. Collins, formerly Reader in Theology at the University of Chichester, is Parish Priest on Holy Island, Northumberland, England.
Barry Ensign-George is a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which he serves as Associate for Theology in the denomination’s Office of Theology & Worship. His reaserch is focused on ecclesiology, particularly on formulating a theological assessment of denomination as an ecclesiological category.
‘With the collapse of classical ecumenism and the emergence of new divisions in the church, the time is ripe for a fresh theological look at the contentious issue of denominationalism. This volume tackles the thorny issues cleanly and forthrightly. Both those who are repelled by the whole idea of denominationalism and those who want to retrieve and fix it will find this splendid volume invaluable in thinking through their positions.’ - William J. Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, USA.
‘What is a denomination? Does it differ from a convention, fellowship, synod, or church? Is it primarily a sociological or a theological term? Denominational consciousness stands for particularity relative to the whole church. The premier ecclesiologists who discuss the nature, function, and relevance this term in an ecumenical age display the diversity of their denominational points of view. As denominations wane in the West and never quite take hold in cultures that do not share the history that generated them, will the gifts that each preserves for the whole church be lost? These analysts throw distinctive light on these issues and by so doing relativize the narrowness of denominational consciousness and help expand the vision of the larger church in which the denominations participate. This topic and these superb treatments of it provide a unique entrée into the ecumenical vision that people from all the denominations will appreciate. As a whole the book represents a quiet, conversational but brilliant essay in comparative ecclesiology that no course in ecumenism can neglect.’ - Roger Haight, S. J., Scholar in Residence, Union Theological Seminary, USA.