Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book announcement: Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future

I'm pleased to announce that my book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community has entered the production phase and is scheduled for a March 2016 release by Baylor University Press. I'll post updates regarding the book's publication, including pre-ordering information, here at Ecclesial Theology during the next few months. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's a draft of the copy for the catalog and back cover description:

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: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community, 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 is 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.

Also in the meantime, check out some other forthcoming releases from Baylor University Press.


  1. Hearty congratulations, Steve, on seeing this baby through to this stage. It sounds great, and I certainly look forward to reading it. Baptists have produced too few ecclesiologies with any thickness; this looks to be among the exceptions to that habit. (I love the cover too!)

  2. Many thanks, Jason! Blessings to you in your own good theological work "down under" and beyond.