Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ecumenism Means You, Too quoted in Christianity Today

The March 2015 issue of Christianity Today includes Wesley Hill's article "Do-It-Yourself Church Unity: Healing the fractured body of Christ isn’t just for theologians to figure out," which includes a quotation from my book Ecumenism Means You, Too: Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christ Unity (Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2010). (The online CT article linked here offers a partial preview, sans the portion with the quote, to non-subscribers.) Thanks to Hill for the shout-out and to Tony Tench of First Baptist Church Shelby, NC for calling my attention to it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Church: Towards a Common Vision at Louisiana Interchurch Conference

On March 2 and 3 I will deliver two keynote addresses for the annual assembly of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, which has adopted as the theme for this year's assembly "The Church: Towards a Common Vision." The theme is related to the recent convergence text issued by the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, The Church: Towards a Common Vision (Faith and Order Paper No. 214; Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2013). My two addresses are titled "How Might We Envision the Unity We Have? Engaging The Church: Towards a Common Vision, Part 1" and "What Can We Do About the Unity We Envision? Engaging The Church: Towards a Common Vision, Part 2." The notice of the assembly and a link to the assembly program from the Louisiana Interchurch Conference web site appear below.

45 th
 Annual Assembly
March 2nd - 3rd,  2015
  The general public is invited!
to all Speaker Sessions, and to the
Monday evening
Ecumenical Worship Service
Our 45th Annual Assembly will take place at the beautiful retreat center of the United Methodist Church called the Wesley Center, in Woodworth, LA, on March 2nd & 3rd, 2015  (noon to noon).  The working theme is: 
“The Church, Towards a Common Vision”
Photo of Steven Harmon
Dr. Steven R. Harmon
     The keynote speaker will be Dr. Steven R. Harmon, a Baptist theologian from Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in North Carolina. 
     Dr. Harmon has made significant contributions to national and international ecumenical conversations and was actually part of the 2009 WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission meeting that offered input on a draft of the WCC publication for which the theme of our Assembly is named.
    The Assembly Sessions will be held in the Jesse B. Stafford Bldg, in Woodworth, on the Wesley Center campus.   The public is invited to all speaker sessions, free of charge.  

   The public is also encouraged to attend the evening Worship Service:
      The Monday Evening Worship Servicewill begin at 7:30pm at First UnitedMethodist Church of Alexandria, 2727 Jackson St., Alexandria. 
      The Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Bishop of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, will give the homily.   

First UMC, Alexandria
Click here for the overall tentative schedule

Again, the public is invited to all Speaker Sessions and to the Worship Service! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion--Southeast Region meeting program

The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion--Southeast Region will meet at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, March 6, 8:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. The program appears below. If you intend to attend this meeting, please RSVP to NABPR-SE Vice President Sally Holt (sally[dot]holt[at]belmont[dot]edu) so that she may plan for breakfast and lunch arrangements.

National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion
2015 Southeast Regional Meeting
Friday, March 6, 2015
Belmont University, Nashville, TN
All events will take place in the Inman Fourth Floor Conference Center

                8:30-9:00          Registration and Refreshments
                9:00-9:15          Opening Session
                                                Welcome from the President-              
                                                                Steven Harmon (Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity)
                                                Welcome from the Host –
                                                                Darrell Gwaltney
                                                                (Belmont University, Dean of College of Theology and Christian Ministry)
                9:15-10:00        Presidential Address:
                                                "What Have Baptist Professors of Religion to Do with Magisterium?"
                                                Steven Harmon (Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity)

                10:00-10:15      Responses from Membership
                10:15-10:30      Break
                10:30-11:45      Panel and Discussion
Teaching Religion and the Arts
Steve Guthrie (Belmont University)
Donovan McAbee (Belmont University)
David Dark (Belmont University)

                11:45- 12:00     NABPR Southeast Business Meeting

                12:00                    Adjournment for Lunch

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Journal of Baptist Studies engages Towards Baptist Catholicity and Contesting Catholicity

The current issue of the Journal of Baptist Studies (sponsored by California Baptist University) includes a pair of articles engaging proposals regarding the relation of Baptist identity to the larger Christian tradition in my book Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision and Curtis Freeman's more recent book Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists: “Baptists and the Catholicity of the Church: Toward an Evangelical Baptist Catholicity” by Matthew Y. Emerson and R. Lucas Stamps, and “Baptists and the Apostolicity of the Church” by James Patterson. Stamps also reviews Freeman's book in the issue. This engagement by Southern Baptist theologians is informed by a "post-conservative" theological trajectory exemplified by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, contrasted with the postliberal trajectory exemplified by George Lindbeck and within which they place Harmon and Freeman (a fair assessment). Last year Emerson and I had a constructive interchange regarding our perspectives on our respective blogs.

The full issue is available online; the Table of Contents appears below:

Volume 7 (2015)

Editorial, p. 1

Contributors, p. 3


“Baptists and the Unity of the Church,” by Christopher W. Morgan, p. 4

“Baptists and the Holiness of the Church: Soundings in Baptist Thought,” by Ray Van Neste, p. 24

“Baptists and the Catholicity of the Church: Toward an Evangelical Baptist Catholicity,” by Matthew Y. Emerson and R. Lucas Stamps, p. 42

“Baptists and the Apostolicity of the Church,” by James Patterson, p. 67

Book Reviews

Currid, John D. Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament, reviewed by Kenneth J. Turner, p. 83

Freeman, Curtis W. Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists, reviewed by R. Lucas Stamps, p. 86

George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers, rev. ed., reviewed by John Gill, p. 91

Hays, Christopher M. and Christopher B. Ansberry, eds. Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, reviewed by Matthew Y. Emerson, p. 95

Holmes, Stephen R. The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History and Modernity, reviewed by Michael A. G. Haykin, p. 99

Sanders, Fred. Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love, reviewed by Christopher Bosson, p. 101

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Creighton symposium on Unitatis Redintegratio; Baptist-Methodist dialogue continues

This Saturday I will speak at Creighton University's symposium on the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio along with William Rusch, former executive director of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Office for Ecumenical Affairs and former director of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches and now adjunct professor of Lutheran studies at Yale Divinity School, and Fr. John Crossin, executive director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The symposium is part of a three-year series on Celebrating the Legacy of Vatican II commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Council. A Creighton University press release provides details and links to additional information about the symposium and series.

Meanwhile, the second session of the international bilateral ecumenical dialogue between the Baptist World Alliance and the World Methodist Council is meeting in Singapore February 5-10. This year's round of conversations focuses on theological issues such as the nature of the church, the nature of authority, sanctification and justification. A Baptist World Alliance press release issued yesterday includes additional information and a roster of the Baptist and Methodist delegation members.