15 July 2005

baptist manifesto

While I'd note that the writing of manifestoes is as much a modernist impluse as the items the manifesto critiques, "Re-Envisioning Baptist Identity: A Manifesto for Baptist Communities in North America" is an intriguing document in its advocacy of what might be seen as a Baptist kind of catholicity. I had probably seen the text before, but ran across it again today.

The manifesto seems to have been drawn up by a selection of Baptist scholars including Mikael Broadway, Curtis Freeman, Barry Harvey, James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Elizabeth Newman, Philip Thompson, and others and appeared original in Baptists Today in 1997. A number of other Baptist scholars, university professors, pastors, and others have subsequently signed it. I detect traces of Hauerwas, Yoder, Milbank, and some others percolating up through it.

Since I have only limited contact with Baptists, I'm curious if anyone knows how this document was received in wider mainstream Baptist circles, particularly in America. I would guess that the document's rejection of "soul competency" might run afoul of some Baptist sensibilities, though arguably the particular complexion that notion receives in America is not truly essential to Baptist theology. I also imagine the final section discussing politics might rub some pious Republican Baptists the wrong way.