Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"The magisterium-hood of all believers"

Today concludes the conference on "Evangelicals and the Nicene Faith" hosted by Beeson Divinity School, at which yesterday I presented the address "The Nicene Faith and the Catholicity of the Church: Evangelical Retrieval and the Problem of Magisterium." As this will be a chapter in a forthcoming book of the conference proceedings to be published by Baker Academic, I'll not post the text here, but I will offer this summary. Recent attempts by Baptists and others who might be broadly described as "evangelicals" to retrieve aspects of the ancient, lower-case "c" catholic faith raise the question of how this might be done without such a project being yet another example of American "consumer" Christianity based on personal preference. What beyond personal preference authorizes such retrieval? After describing and reviewing what I perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of Roman Catholic and Magisterial Protestant approaches to teaching authority in the church, I suggested that there is a another distinctive pattern of teaching authority in the Baptist and broader Free Church tradition that might be summarized with the slightly clumsy English coinage "the magisterium-hood of all believers." I'll provide information on publication details here when available.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WCC Faith & Order director previews Crete meeting (audio interview)

Anglican theologian Dr. John Gibaut from Canada, director of the World Council of Church Faith and Order Commission, explains why anybody with an interest in what churches consider to be their mission in the world and how they come to decisions on theological, ecumenical or moral questions should look forward with some excitement to the 7-13 October 2009 meeting of the Faith and Order Plenary Commission in this audio interview linked from the WCC web site (click on each question to hear Dr. Gibaut's response):

How significant is the upcoming meeting of the Faith and Order Plenary Commission in Crete?

What is on the agenda of this meeting?

At what other issues will the commission be looking?

Can you give some examples of the moral discernment issues to be studied?

Can you say some more about the membership of the Faith and Order Commission?

What does "Faith and Order" actually stand for?

Friday, September 18, 2009

WCC press release on Crete Faith and Order meeting

This press release from the World Council of Churches news service previews the plenary meeting of the Commission on Faith and Order in which I'll be involved at the Orthodox Academy near Chania in Crete, Greece in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The history of Faith and Order ecumenism

This article on the "History of Faith and Order" by G√ľnther Gassmann from the WCC web site originally appeared as an entry in the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd ed. (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2002). It traces the history of the Faith and Order movement from its early 20th-century origins through the merger of Faith and Order and Life and Work to form the World Council of Churches in 1948 to the work of the Commission on Faith and Order from 1948 through the present. A PDF of the pamphlet Churches Affirming Unity, Overcoming Division provides additional information about the study programs of the Commission on Faith and Order.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WCC Commission on Faith and Order overview

Leading up to my participation in the upcoming plenary meeting of the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches in Crete October 7-13, I will post a few links to information about the work of what some have called the "theological heart" of the modern ecumenical movement. The Commission on Faith and Order page on the WCC web site provides a helpful basic overview of the Faith and Order movement and the study programs of the Commission.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ecclesiology reviews Towards Baptist Catholicity

The issue of the journal Ecclesiology (vol. 5, no. 3; 2009) in which my article "Dei Verbum § 9 in Baptist Perspective" appears also includes a review of Towards Baptist Catholicity by Nigel G. Wright, Principal of Spurgeon's College in London (pp. 383-85).

Dr. Wright, by the way, is the author of Free Church, Free State: The Positive Baptist Vision, a book I've often recommended as a compelling statement of the distinctive ecclesial gifts the Baptist tradition has to offer the rest of the church.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Follow me on Twitter

If you want to know when I've posted something at Ecclesial Theology without checking the blog daily, you can now follow me on Twitter. There's also now a Twitter gadget on the right side of the page here, underneath "Books to Which I've Contributed Chapters" and above the blog archive.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Dei Verbum § 9 in Baptist Perspective"

The current issue of the journal Ecclesiology (vol. 5, no. 3; September 2009) includes my article "Dei Verbum § 9 in Baptist Perspective" (pp. 299-321). Those who have university-related computer access may be able to follow the linked table of contents to access the full text of the article if their institution has an electronic subscription to journals published by Brill. Here's the abstract:

The Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum is replete with affirmations about the nature of revelation and the authority of Scripture which Baptists can affirm, but the seeming equation of the authority of Scripture and tradition in article 9 is a sticking point that must be addressed before proceeding to other points of difference that owe much to differing perspectives on the authority of tradition. A close reading of article 9 highlights points of Baptist disagreement even while revealing some openings for a Baptist appreciation of the trajectory in the development of Catholic teaching on tradition evident in this text. Baptists cannot offer an unqualified endorsement of article 9, but they can find a place within the pattern of theological contestation that produced it. This text with which Baptists cannot unequivocally agree thus points to a larger opening for convergence between Roman Catholics in their practice of conciliar contestation and Baptists in their identity as dissenting catholics.