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Document Details :
Title: Learning from Others
Subtitle: Baptists and Receptive Ecumenism
Author(s): FIDDES, Paul S.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 33 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2008
In response to the proposal for a process of 'receptive ecumenism,' this article asks what Baptists might learn and receive from other Christian traditions. It extends the proposal in suggesting that Baptists can also make a contribution to ecumenism in the new millennium through witnessing to the particular way that truths are received from others in the context of their own tradition. I suggest four issues. First, Baptists might learn from recent Roman Catholic teaching about the dynamic nature of tradition as a living dialogue between Christ and his church. This in turn might lead to the extension of 'congregational hermeneutics' beyond the local church, and to a more regular use of historic creeds, while advocating the place of consent in the development of doctrine. Second, Baptists might learn from recent Anglican thought about the nature of episcopacy as a God-given sign of apostolicity in the context of the apostolic succession of the whole community, leading to the discovery of a new depth of meaning in Baptist forms of trans-local ministry. Third, with regard to baptism, Baptists might learn from paedobaptist churches about prevenient grace and the importance of corporate faith, while asking other churches to recognize that the process of Christian initiation is incomplete until someone is commissioned as an active Christian disciple. Fourth, Baptists might learn from the Orthodox about the visibility of the universal church, while realistically recognizing that the visible church is not, as yet, indivisible.