Baptist Catholicity: A Reading List

by David Rathel

The establishment of the Center for Baptist Renewal excites me about the potential of contemporary Baptist life. It calls on evangelical Baptists to consider the rich resources of the historic Christian tradition. Its staff, fellows, and supporters all rightly believe that the retrieval of these resources will work to strengthen Baptist churches.

I am convinced that the Center for Baptist Renewal (CBR) has the potential to make significant contributions to Baptist theology and practice in the days to come, but I also humbly acknowledge that many Baptist theologians have already involved themselves in discussions about Baptist catholicity. Not all of the participants in these conversations would agree with the aims outlined on the Center for Baptist Renewal’s website; many are not self-professed conservative evangelicals. Still, their voices represent important perspectives we should not ignore.

I provide below a bibliography that documents books and articles relevant to conversations about Baptist catholicity. I do so with the hope that it will introduce interested readers to noteworthy works in this field. The list is not exhaustive, but I do attempt to highlight contributors from a variety of viewpoints. I encourage readers to examine the pieces I mention here with a critical eye and a strong measure of Christian charity.

Note: It must be said, of course, that the staff and fellows of CBR do not necessarily agree with everything written in every resource on this list. You can also check out the annotated bibliography compiled by the CBR staff.


Belyea, Gordon Lansdowne. “Living Stones in a Spiritual House: The Priesthood of the Saints in the Baptist Santorum Communio.” PhD diss., Toronto School of Theology, 2012.

Broadway, Mikael N., Cutis W. Freeman, Barry Harvey, James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Elizabeth Newman, and Philip E. Thompson. “Re-envisioning Baptist Identity: A Manifesto for Baptist Communities in North America,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 24, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 303–310.

Bullard, Scott W. “James William McClendon, Jr., the New Baptist Sacramentalists, and the Unitive Function of the Eucharist,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 38, no. 3 (2011): 267–288.

Cross, Anthony R. Baptism and Baptists: Theology and Practice in Twentieth-Century Britain. Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2000.

_____, ed. Ecumenism and History: Studies in Honor of John H. Y. Briggs. Studies in Christian History and Thought. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2002.

_____. Recovering the Evangelical Sacrament: Baptisma Semper Reformandum. Eugene: Pickwick, 2013.

Cross, Anthony R. and Philip E. Thompson, eds. Baptist Sacramentalism. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 5. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2003.

_____. eds. Baptist Sacramentalism 2. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 25. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2008.

Emerson, Matthew Y., Christopher W. Morgan, and R. Lucas Stamps, eds. Baptists and the Christian Tradition: Toward an Evangelical Baptist Catholicity. Nashville: B&H Academic, forthcoming.

Emerson, Matthew Y. and R. Lucas Stamps. “Baptists and the Catholicity of the Church: Toward an Evangelical Baptist Catholicity,” The Journal of Baptist Studies 7 (2015), 42–66.

Fiddes, Paul. S. “Learning From Others: Baptists and Receptive Ecumenism,” Louvain Studies 33, nos. 1–2 (2008): 54­–73.

______. Tracks and Traces: Baptist Identity in Church and Theology. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 13. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2003.

Fiddes, Paul, Brian Haymes, and Richard Kidd. Baptists and the Communion of the Saints: A Theology of Covenanted Disciples. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014.

Finn, Nathan A. “Contesting Catholicity: Some Conservative Reflections on Curtis Freeman’s Theology for ‘Other Baptists,”’ Southeastern Theological Review 6, no. 2 (2015): 151–170.

Fowler, Stanley K. More Than a Symbol: The British Baptist Recovery of Baptismal Sacramentalism. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 2. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2002.

Freeman, Curtis. “A Confession for Catholic Baptists.” In Ties that Bind: Life Together in the Baptist Vision, ed. Garry A. Furr and Curtis W. Freeman, 83–97. Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 1994.

_______. Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014.

_______. “Stanley Hauerwas’s Baptist Project,” Review and Expositor 112, no. 1 (2015): 23–36.

George, Timothy. “An Evangelical Reflection on Scripture and Tradition,” Pro Ecclesia 9, no. 2 (Spring 2000): 184–207.

______, ed. Evangelicals and the Nicene Faith: Reclaiming the Apostolic Witness. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.

______. “The Sacramentality of the Church: An Evangelical Baptist Perspective,” Pro Ecclesia 12, no. 3 (2003): 309–323.

Goodliff, Andrew. “Towards a Baptist Sanctoral?,” Journal of European Baptist Studies 13, no. 3 (May 2013): 24–30.

Harmon, Steven R. Baptist Identity and the Ecumenical Future: Story, Tradition, and the Recovery of Community. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015.

______. “’Catholic Baptists’ and the New Horizon of Tradition in Baptist Theology.” In New Horizons in Theology, ed. by Terrence W. Tilley, 117­­–143. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2005.

______.”Dei Verbum § 9 in Baptist Perspective,” Ecclesiology 5 (2009): 299–321.

______. “Free Church Theology, The Pilgrim Church, and the Ecumenical Future,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 49, no. 3 (2014): 420–442.

______. “Scripture in the Life of the Baptist Churches: Openings for a Differentiated Catholic-Baptist Consensus on Sacred Scripture,” Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 2 (2009): 187–215.

______. Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 27. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2006.

______. “Why Baptist Catholicity, and By What Authority?,” Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 4 (2009): 386–392.

Harvey, Barry. Can These Bones Live?: A Catholic Baptist Engagement with Ecclesiology, Hermeneutics, and Social Theory. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008.

______. “Where, Then, Do We Stand?: Baptists, History, and Authority,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 29, no. 4 (2002): 359–380.

Hatch, Derek Christopher. “E.Y. Mullins, George W. Truett, and a Baptist Theology of Nature and Grace.” PhD diss., The University of Dayton, 2011.

Holmes, Stephen R. Listening to the Past: The Place of Tradition in Theology. Carlisle: Paternoster; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002.

Jorgenson, Cameron. H. “Bapto-Catholicism: Recovering Tradition and Reconsidering the Baptist Identity.” Ph.D. diss., Baylor University, 2008.

Medley, Mark. “Catholics, Baptists, and the Normativity of Tradition: A Review Essay,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 28, no. 2 (2001): 119–129.

______. “Stewards, Interrogators, and Inventors: Toward a Practice of Tradition,” Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 1 (2009): 69–92.

Monck, Thomas, et al. “An Orthodox Creed.” Transcribed by W. Madison Grace II. Southwestern Journal of Theology 48, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 133–182.

Newson, Ryan Andrew and Andrew C. Wright. The Collected Works of James Wm. McClendon, Jr., vols. 1–3. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014–2016.

Rathel, David. “A Case Study in Baptist Catholicity: The Scriptures and the Tradition in the Theology of John Gill,” Baptist Quarterly (forthcoming).

Stamps, R. Lucas and Matthew Y. Emerson. “Liturgy for Low-Church Baptists.” Criswell Theological Review, forthcoming.

Thompson, Philip E. “A New Question of Baptist History: Seeking A Catholic Spirit Among Early Baptists,” Pro Ecclesia 8, no. 1 (1999): 51–72.

_________. “Re-Envisioning Baptist Identity: Historical, Theological, and Liturgical Analysis,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 27, no. 3 (2000): 287–302.

Thompson, Philip E., and Anthony R. Cross. Recycling the Past or Researching History?: Studies in Baptist Historiography and Myths. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 11. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2005.

Toom, Tarmo. “Baptists on Justification: Can We Join the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification?,” Pro Ecclesia 13, no. 3 (2004): 289–306.

Tupper, E. Frank. “Biblicism, Exclusivism, Triumphalism: The Travail of Baptist Identity,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 29, no. 4 (2002): 411–426.

Ward, Roger E. and Philip E. Thompson. Tradition and the Baptist Academy. Studies in Baptist History and Thought, vol. 31. Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2011.

White, Sean A. “Southern Baptist and British Baptist Contributions to a Theology of the Lord’s Supper Since 1948: Beyond a Theology of the Elements Toward a Sacramental Theology of Enactment.” PhD diss., Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, 2007.

Wright, Nigel G. “The Petrine Ministry: Baptist Reflections,” Pro Ecclesia 13, no. 4 (2004): 451–465.