Tuesday, 16 January 2007
Following on from recent conversations with the Anglican Communion, the Baptist World Alliance has now begun a round of conversations with the Roman Catholic Church. The first meetings were in December 2006 and the talks with last over five years. Paul Fiddes is on the Baptist delegation, as is Steve Harmon, associate Professor of Divinity at Campbell Divinity School, and author of Towards Baptist Catholicity. I was privileged to meet Steve at the Annual Meeting of the Baptist Professors of Religion last November. You can find out more information about the conversations and Steve's role within them here.
Monday, 12 June 2006
Later this summer I will be attending the conference "Baptists Doing Theology in Context: A Continuing Consultation" here at Luther King House from 29th August - 1st September. I have just heard that my paper proposal has been accepted. Here it is:
“Ambiguous Genitives, Pauline Baptism and Roman Insulae: Exegetical Resources in Romans to Support Pushing the Boundaries of Unity”
The recent report of the Baptist-Church of England Conversations, Pushing the Boundaries of Unity was recently criticised by some members of the Baptist Union Council for pushing a Baptist understanding of the place and function of baptism beyond acceptable scriptural boundaries.
In this paper I argue that such criticisms fail not only at the level of theology and history, but also at the level of exegesis. I offer a reading of aspects of Paul’s letter to the Romans, which draws attention to the following features:
• the ambiguity inherent in the key phrases δικαιοσυνη θεου and πιστις Χριστου suggesting that the focus of Paul’s theological presentation in the letter is on God’s objective work of salvation through Christ’s own faithfulness prior to and not dependent upon the nature of the human response to that work.• the understanding of Baptism found in Romans 6, which is best interpreted by those who broadly affirm a “Baptist Sacramentalism”.• the exhortation to reciprocity and mutual welcome among the divided house churches in Rome, found in Romans 14-15.
Thus the concern to push the boundaries of unity on the issue of baptism should be seen not only as a response to the present ecumenical paradigm, or a recovery of aspects of our own Baptist history and tradition, but also as an attempt to do justice to neglected elements within the biblical texts that have traditionally formed the basis for central Baptist convictions.
Tuesday, 15 November 2005
I am sat in the back row of the Baptist Union Council at Swanwick where there is a nice new lecture hall with WiFi. As I sit here, other Baptists are at General Synod presenting the results of the 10 year Baptist / Church of England Conversations to the Church of England. At this stage I will just refer people to the text itself which is available here at £10.99. Discussion of the contents will have to wait until another time.
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
Further signs that the Pontificate of Benedict XVI may not turn out to be as reactionary as some had feared. Apparently he met with Hans Küng on Saturday for the first time in over 20 years. Hat tip to Benjamin Myers whose post also has links to the news reports.