Catholicity and Ecumenism: Learning from the Life and Practice of John Ryland Jr

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Lon Graham


John Ryland Jr (1753–1825) was a celebrated leader among the British Particular Baptists, serving as he did as pastor of two influential churches, as co-founder of the Baptist Missionary Society, and president of the Bristol Baptist Academy. He was known in his own day, and increasingly in ours, for his catholicity. This article is, in a sense, a retrieval of Ryland. It examines his theology of catholicity, demonstrating that he rooted his catholic practice not necessarily in agreement upon precise theological propositions but, rather, in a shared experience of Christ shown through a life of holiness. The article then shows how Ryland’s catholicity can help inform present-day ecumenical activity.

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Author Biography

Lon Graham

Lon Graham (PhD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is the Executive Director of the Matt 25 Hope Center in Clovis, New Mexico.