Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision (Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 27; Milton Keynes, U.K.: Paternoster, 2006 / Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2006) contends that the reconstruction of the Baptist vision in the wake of modernity’s dissolution requires a retrieval of the ancient ecumenical tradition that forms Christian identity through liturgical rehearsal and ecclesial practice. Themes explored include catholic identity as an emerging trend in Baptist theology, tradition as a theological category in Baptist perspective, the relationship between Baptist confessions of faith and the patristic tradition, the importance of Trinitarian catholicity for Baptist faith and practice, catholicity in biblical interpretation, Karl Barth as a paradigm for a Baptist and evangelical retrieval of the patristic theological tradition, worship as a principal bearer of tradition, and the role of Baptist higher education in shaping the Christian vision. This book submits that the proposed movement towards catholicity is neither a betrayal of cherished Baptist principles nor the introduction of alien elements into the Baptist tradition. Rather, the envisioned retrieval of catholicity in the liturgy, theology, and catechesis of Baptist churches is rooted in a recovery of the surprisingly catholic ecclesial outlook of the earliest Baptists, an outlook that has become obscured by more recent modern reinterpretations of the Baptist vision and that provides Baptist precedent for a more intentional movement towards Baptist catholicity today.
Steven R. Harmon teaches Christian Theology at the Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, having previously served on the faculties of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama and Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina and as visiting professor at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. A member of the Baptist World Alliance delegations to the international theological conversations with the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and a plenary member of the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order, he is the author of Ecumenism Means You, Too: Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christian Unity (2010) and Every Knee Should Bow: Biblical Rationales for Universal Salvation in Early Christian Thought (2003).
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