Monday, February 15, 2016

William Henn on Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

Fr. William Henn
Fr. William Henn, Professor of Ecclesiology and Ecumenism at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, offers this endorsement of my new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community (Baylor University Press):

"This book was written ‘in the hope that the tribe of those who long for the visible unity of Christ’s church might increase among Baptists, and that other Christians might recognize them, so that together we can make our pilgrim journey toward the ecumenical future.’ Based on extensive experience of dialogue with other Christian...s, his richly documented and insightful treatment of such crucial themes as scripture, tradition, sacraments, authority, and the pilgrim church open fresh avenues for moving toward the unity for which Jesus prayed."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Henk Bakker on Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

Dr. Henk Bakker
Henk Bakker, Professor of Baptist Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, offers this endorsement of my new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community (Baylor University Press):

"Harmon’s book is a thorough and challenging appeal for visible unity in faith and order between Baptists, Catholics, and all other Christians. After all, ‘Baptists are dissenting catholic Christians’—they are a pilgrim community brought to visibility by ecumenical engagement. This is a must read for every Baptist student."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Michael Kinnamon on Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon
Michael Kinnamon, former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the USA, offers this endorsement of my new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community (Baylor University Press):

"Steven Harmon challenges his own Baptist tradition to receive the gifts held in trust for the whole body of Christ by other churches, even as he implicitly challenges others to recognize the gifts that Baptists, with their 'pilgrim church theology,' bring to the wider church. I strongly endorse his essential premise: not only do Baptists need the ecumenical church, the rest of us need the full, mutually receptive engagement of Baptists if this movement for unity is to move. The book is creative, well researched, passionate, and practical."

Order Baptist identity and the Ecumenical Future from Baylor University Press or Amazon.

About the Book
Michael Kinnamon on Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future--Contents

What's inside my new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community? Here's the table of contents:

Part I: The Baptist Vision and the Ecumenical Moment
1. A Radical Baptist Proposal
2. Seizing the Ecumenical Moment

Part II: Baptists, Biblicism, and Catholicity
3. One Sacred Story
4. One Contested Tradition
5. Radically Biblical, Radically Catholic

Part III: Baptist Identity and Receptive Ecumenism
6. The End of Baptist Denominationalism
7. Receiving the Gift of Magisterium

Part IV: Baptist Theology and the Ecumenical Future
8. The Ecumenical Task of Theology
9. The Theology of a Pilgrim Church
10. The Baptist Eschatological Vision and the Ecumenical Future

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

International Baptist-Methodist dialogue continues in Germany

The Baptist World Alliance has issued the following press release regarding the continuation of the international dialogue between the Baptist World Alliance and the World Methodist Council this week in Elstal, Germany:

Baptists and Methodists hold third dialogue session in Germany

Participants at a preivous BWA/WMC dialogueThe Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the World Methodist Council (WMC) will be engaged in the third session of the international theological dialogue between the two Christian World Communions. Both teams will meet at the Theological Seminary at Elstal, Germany, from February 3-10.
Previous sessions of the BWA/WMC dialogue were held in the United States in 2014 and in Singapore in 2015.
The week of meetings will cover the theme, “Making Disciples: Baptism as Christian Initiation” and will explore topics such as “Ecumenical conversations and agreements on baptism in Germany” and “Regional soundings on baptism from various parts of the world” such as Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Historical, theological, liturgical and ecumenical perspectives and understandings of baptism will be explored.
Relevant excerpts from international and regional ecumenical texts regarding baptism are being selected, collated and distributed, with participants encouraged to contribute material from their respective region.
Other activities will include a tour of the German capital of Berlin and a visit to the birthplace of Martin Luther. Protestants, Baptists included, will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.
Luther had nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, German, in 1517, an act that sparked the Protestant Reformation movement and a major break from the Roman Catholic Church.
The BWA delegation comprises dialogue Co-chair Curtis Freeman, research professor of theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke University Divinity School in the United States; Deji Isaac Ayegboyin, professor of Church History and African Christianity and at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan in Nigeria; Valérie Duval-Poujol, professor of biblical exegesis at the Catholic Institute, Paris, France, and director for its Institute for Bible and Orientalism; Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in the US; Stephen Holmes, senior lecturer in theology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland; and R. L. Hnuni, principal of Calcutta Bible Seminary in Kolkata, India.
Methodist representatives are dialogue Co-chair Tim Macquiban, minister of Wesley Church and superintendent minister in the United Kingdom; Paul W. Chilcote, academic dean and professor of historical theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in the US; Christine Gooden-Benguche, secretary, Jamaica District Conference, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas; Lauren Claire Matthew, minister in the Umngeni Circuit, Natal Coastal District in South Africa, district supervisor of studies of the General Committee of Education for Mission and president of the Youth and Young Adult Committee of the WMC; Ulrike Schuler, professor for Church History, Methodism, and Ecumenism at Reutlingen School of Theology in Germany; and Malcolm Tan, pastor, Barker Road Methodist Church in Singapore.
BWA director of Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection, Fausto Vasconcelos, who serves as co-secretary along with Paul Chilcote, will also be present.
Baptist World Alliance®
© February 2, 2016

Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future--About the Book

Here's the dust jacket flap "About the Book" description for my new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community:

Baptists tend to be the “problem children” of the ecumenical movement. The Baptist obsession to realize a true church birthed a tradition of separation. While Baptists’ misgivings about ecumenism may stem from this fissiparous genealogy, it is equally true that the modern ecumenical movement itself increasingly lacks consensus about the pathway to a visible Christian unity.

In Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future, Steven R. Harmon explores the relationship of the Baptist calling to be a pilgrim community and the ecumenical movement. Harmon argues that neither vision can be fulfilled apart from a mutually receptive ecumenical engagement. As Harmon shows, Baptist communities and the churches from which they are separated need one another. Chief among the gifts Baptists have to offer the rest of the church are their pilgrim aversion to overly realized eschatologies of the church and their radical commitment to discerning the rule of Christ by means of the Scriptures. Baptists, in turn, must be willing to receive from other churches neglected aspects of the radical catholicity from which the Bible is inseparable.

Embedded in the Baptist vision and its historical embodiment are surprising openings for ecumenical convergence. Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future urges Baptists and their dialogue partners to recognize and embrace these ecumenically oriented facets of Baptist identity as indispensable provisions for their shared pilgrimage toward the fullness of the rule of Christ in their midst, which remains partial so long as Christ’s body remains divided.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future releases March 1

My new book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community will be released March 1 by Baylor University Press. A book description, table of contents, and endorsements are on the Baylor University Press site along with ordering information; it's available via Amazon as well. More details are forthcoming here at Ecclesial Theology between now and March 1.