Interdependency without Imperialism: Neville Callam’s Ecumenical Contributions

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Steven R. Harmon


This article, originally presented as the presidential address for the annual meeting of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion Region-at-Large,1 explores the contributions to the ecumenical movement of Neville Callam, who served as General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance from 2007 until 2017. The article treats Callam’s contributions to ecumenism in terms of the background of his own ecumenical formation, the ecumenical service of his ministerial career prior to his election as BWA General Secretary, his ecumenical leadership of the BWA, and the ecumenical theology articulated in his publications. The article characterises Callam’s ecumenical vision as one rooted in the ecclesial interdependence that marks Baptist congregational ecclesiology despite its tendencies toward a more radical congregational independence, but an interdependent ecumenism that resists an imperialism to which some approaches to ecumenical convergence are susceptible.

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Author Biography

Steven R. Harmon

Steven R. Harmon is Professor of Historical Theology at Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, USA, and previously served on the faculties of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and Campbell University Divinity School in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, USA.