Friday, August 29, 2014

Associated Baptist Press on Freeman's Contesting Catholicity

A previous Ecclesial Theology post linked a notice by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology blog of Curtis Freeman's new book Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists, due for release September 15 by Baylor University Press. Now Associated Baptist Press has issued a story by Bob Allen titled "New Book Proposes a Theology for 'Other' Baptists" offering a substantial preview of Freeman's book. Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

Four centuries after originating as a protest movement within the church, Baptists today have evolved into a distinct sect committed to preserving its place in a hierarchy of denominations, Baptist theologian Curtis Freeman argues in a new book.... (read the full article at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fr. William Henn on Pope Francis and Ecumenism

Fr. William Henn, O.F.M.Cap., has been one of the Catholic Church's leading ecumenical theologians since the 1987 publication of his dissertation on The Hierarchy of Truths According to Yves Congar. Currently serving as the Robert Bellarmine Professor of Ecclesiology and Ecumenism at Gregorian University in Rome and consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Henn represents the Catholic Church as a member of the Standing Commission of the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order and has served on the Catholic delegations to international bilateral dialogues with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, representatives of Pentecostal churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the Mennonite World Conference, and the second phase of conversations with the Baptist World Alliance. I had the privilege of serving as a member of the Baptist-Catholic joint commission with Fr. Henn, for which we both presented papers on the relationship between Scripture and tradition in the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum and co-drafted a preliminary version of the section on "The Authority of Christ in Scripture and Tradition" in The Word of God in the Life of the Church: A Report of International Conversations between The Catholic Church and the Baptist World Alliance 2006-2010.

A month after the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis last year, Fr. Henn granted an interview to the National Catholic Reporter offering his perspectives on the ecumenical implications of the beginning of Pope Francis' papacy. I discovered it only today, but it's such an insightful article, with observations that hold true a year-and-a-half later, that I thought it worth calling to the attention of readers of Ecclesial Theology now.

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of John L. Allen, Jr.'s interview article:

Rome – For years, experts on ecumenism have said that the main stumbling block to putting the divided Christian family back together again isn’t so much the papacy, but a certain overly monarchical model of it. If we could find new ways of exercising primacy, they prophesied, unity might move a massive step closer to reality.

One veteran expert believes those “new ways” may have arrived with Pope Francis, predicting that this pontiff will prove a “boon” to ecumenism.

“He’s bringing to life what Vatican II added about the role of the papacy being understood from within the college of bishops and the communion of churches,” said Capuchin Fr. William Henn of Rome’s Gregorian University....(read the full article at National Catholic Reporter)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology on "Baptist Catholicity"

The Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology blog has posted a notice for Curtis Freeman's book Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists, about which I'll say more here at Ecclesial Theology when it's released by Baylor University Press next month. The post situates Freeman's book in a trajectory of Baptist theology that includes my book Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision; it mentions Ecclesial Theology, too.

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the post:

An interesting development of the last decade or so has been the appearance of a distinctively Baptist strain of “evangelical catholic” theology.  It is strongly ecumenical and seeks to affirm Baptist links with the larger tradition of the Church  Perhaps the most prominent advocate of this approach has been Steven Harmon.... (read the full post at Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque for the 21st Century--now available

Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque for the 21st Century, ed. Myk Habets (New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark), a book to which I contributed the Foreword "Ecumenical Reception of Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque," has now been released in the North American market. It's available directly from the publisher and from (in both hardcover and Kindle formats). The book description and Table of Contents appear below.

About Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque for the 21st Century

The volume presents a range of theological standpoints regarding the filioque. With some contributors arguing for its retention and others for its removal, still others contest that its presence or otherwise in the Creed is not what is of central concern, but rather that how it should be understood is of ultimate importance. What contributors share is a commitment to interrogating and developing the central theological issues at stake in a consideration of the filioque, thus advancing ecumenical theology and inter-communal dialogue without diluting the discussion. Contributors span the Christian traditions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and Pentecostal. Each of these traditions has its own set of theological assumptions, methods, and politics, many of which are on display in the essays which follow. Nonetheless it is only when we bring the wealth of learning and commitments from our own theological traditions to ecumenical dialogue that true progress can be made. It is in this spirit that the present essays have been conceived and are now presented in this form.

Table Of Contents

Foreword: Ecumenical Reception of Ecumenical Perspectives on the Filioque. Steven R. Harmon
List of Contributors
1. Introduction: Ecumenical Perspectives and the Unity of the Spirit. Myk Habets
Part 1: The Filioque in Context: Historical & Theological
2. The Filioque: A Brief History. A. Edward Siecienski
3. Theological Issues Involved in the Filioque. Paul D. Molnar
4. The Filioque: Reviewing the State of the Question, with some Free Church Contributions. David Guretzki
Part 2: Developments in the Various Traditions
5. The Eternal Manifestation of the Spirit ‘Through the Son’ According to Nikephoros Blemmydes and Gregory of Cyprus. Theodoros Alexopoulos
6. The Spirit from the Father, of himself God: A Calvinian Approach to the Filioque Debate.
Brannon Ellis
7. Calvin and the Threefold Office of Christ: Suggestive Teaching Regarding the Nature of the Intra-Divine Life? Christopher R.J. Holmes
8. The Baptists ‘And The Son’: The Filioque Clause In Noncreedal Theology. David E. Wilhite
9. Baptized in the Spirit: A Pentecostal Reflection on the Filioque. Frank D. Macchia
Part 3: Opening New Possibilities: Origin, Action, & Intersubjectivity
10. Lutheranism and the Filioque. Robert W. Jenson
11. On Not Being Spirited Away: Pneumatology and Critical Presence. John C. McDowell
12. The Filioque: Beyond Athanasius and Thomas Aquinas: An Ecumenical Proposal. Thomas Weinandy
13. Beyond the East/West Divide. Kathryn Tanner
14. Getting Beyond the Filioque with Third Article Theology. Myk Habets