Friday, November 1, 2013

Baptists and the veneration of the saints

Today is All Saints' Day, and today the Baptist World Alliance circulated a link to an October 31 blog post by BWA General Secretary Neville Callam commending the Baptist retrieval of the practice of the veneration of the saints, invoking Baptist theologian James Wm. McClendon Jr.'s theological rationale for such a renewed and renewing practice offered in his book Biography as Theology (cf. a previous Ecclesial Theology post making this connection and argument, referencing a recommendation made in a chapter in my own book Towards Baptist Catholicity). Below is an excerpt from Callam's post:

Shouldn’t Baptist churches retrieve the practice of venerating the saints, that is, engaging in corporate worship acts designed not to worship the saints, but to remember, honor, learn from, and celebrate saints from our Baptist family and from other Christian communions? Until we regularly include commemoration of the saints in our worship celebrations, we will continue to neglect the opportunity to give proper value to those from our past who have borne courageous witness to faithful discipleship. Commemorative acts done in our Sunday morning services would provide a suitable accompaniment for the tradition some have already developed as part of their Vacation Bible School program, in which stories are told of great spiritual leaders worthy of emulation.... (Read the full post on the BWA General Secretary's Blog)

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