Baptist Catholicity — What Is That? And Why Does It Matter to Baptists and Other Christians?

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Steven R. Harmon


This article, originally presented as a lecture to the German Baptist seminary Theologische Hochschule Elstal, offers an overview of the concept of a ‘Baptist catholicity’ as envisioned in the author’s 2006 book Towards Baptist Catholicity and explains how the concept has been extended in more explicitly ecumenical directions in his subsequent work, in particular the 2016 book Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future. The article explores the patristic antecedents of Catholic theologian Yves Congar’s concept of a catholicity that is both ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’, applying them to the Baptist tradition, before framing Baptist ecclesiology ecumenically in terms of a ‘pilgrim church’ vision in which Baptists share with other churches the pilgrim journey to a visibly united church fully under the rule of Christ.

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Author Biography

Steven R. Harmon, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity

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.