Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baptists, catholicity, and the restorationist impulse

New publication update: my article "Qualitative Catholicity in the Ignatian Correspondenceand the New Testament: The Fallacies of a Restorationist Hermeneutic" appears in the current issue of Perspectives in Religious Studies, a journal sponsored by the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion (vol. 38, no. 1 [Spring 2011], pp. 33-45). I presented earlier versions of this article in the form of a visiting scholar lecture for the New Testament Studies Ph.D. Colloquium in the Department of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and as the presidential address to the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion—Southeast Region. The article is currently available only in the print edition of the journal; at a later date the full text will also be available electronically via the ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials maintained by the American Theological Library Association and accessible through many institutional libraries. In the meantime, the abstract of the article appears below:

Although “catholic” as a mark of the church has often been understood quantitatively with reference to the universality of the church, in early Christian usage it also qualitatively described the pattern of faith and practice that distinguished early catholic Christianity from heresies and schisms. This understanding of catholicity is almost as old as the later New Testament documents, as the letters of Ignatius of Antioch demonstrate, and indeed may be found in the New Testament itself. This article addresses some historical and hermeneutical fallacies of the restorationist impulse at the heart of Baptist biblicism, contending that to restore New Testament Christianity is to restore at least some dimensions of the patristic coming of age of Christian faith and practice.

By the way, here's another way to keep up with new posts at Ecclesial Theology: since March The Christian Century has been linking new Ecclesial Theology posts from the periodical's web site. From the Christian Century Theology page, scroll down and check out the "What We're Reading (Theology)" sidebar for links to new posts at Ecclesial Theology along with posts of interest from elsewhere in the theological blogosphere.


  1. sounds interesting steven. What else is in this edition of PRS?

  2. Andy, this issue includes the following articles:

    "Unthinkable Theological Thoughts" (Dan R. Stiver)

    "The Gilgamesh Traditions and the Pre-History of Genesis 6:1-4" (David Melvin)

    "Qualitative Catholicity in the Ignatian Correspondence--and the New Testament: The Fallacies of a Restorationist Hermeneutic" (Steven R. Harmon)

    "Jonathan Edwards, a Mystic?" (Fredrick Youngs)

    "Salvation Is a 'Group Project': An Ecclesial Soteriological Imagination" (Richard D. Crane)

    "Knowledge of God as Assimilation and Anticipation: An Essay on Theological Pedagogy in the Light of Biblical Epistemology" (Bryan C. Hollon)

    (plus book reveiws)