Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Georgian Baptist-Orthodox dialogue text published

The International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church has published "A dialogue between the Orthodox Church of Georgia and the ‘Evangelical Christians-Baptists’ of Georgia (1979–1980) with its wider Baptist context" by Paul S. Fiddes and Malkhaz Songulashvili, to which is appended the full agreed text from the dialogue (published in full and in English translation for the first time). The abstract of the article appears below:

In 1979–80 conversations were held between representatives of the Orthodox Church of Georgia and the ‘Evangelical Christians-Baptists’ of Georgia in a situation of oppression by the Communist state. The agreed document that emerged from this dialogue is printed here, and is preceded by an article which expounds it from a Baptist perspective, sets it in the wider context of Baptist theological and ecumenical theology, and relates it to the practices of the present-day Baptist Church of Georgia. The stated purpose of the dialogue was to achieve reconciliation and unity between Orthodox and Baptist Christians in Georgia, first by agreeing substantial matters of doctrine and then by adopting a common liturgy and common sacramental life. Among the range of subjects reviewed, including the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saints, nationalism, confession and icons, the discussion on baptism is perhaps the most adventurous, and remains promising though flawed. The document does not represent the views of the present-day Orthodox Church of Georgia, and its contents clearly reflect the political pressures under which it was composed. However, it is of historical interest, and some will see it as a sign of hope for co-operation in the mission of God.

The full text of this article is published online by Taylor & Francis, the journal's publisher, in advance of its print publication as part of a rapid online publication program explained as follows: "For most journals, accepted articles are copy-edited and typeset and appear in a 'Latest articles' list on the journal's webpage. This counts as formal publication.  They are identical to the print edition in every way except that they lack page spans. They may be formally cited using their DOI and year of publication. These 'Latest articles' are later assigned to a particular issue of the journal, and given page numbers." Thus the time during which the article is available in this fashion may be limited; it is possible that at some point after being assigned to a specific print issue that article may only be downloaded through libraries that have electronic access subscriptions to Taylor & Francis journals. In the meantime, readers of Ecclesial Theology may try to access the article by clicking on the hyperlinked title above.

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