Baptists and the Catholic Tradition, 2nd Edition

Reimagining the Church's Witness in the Modern World

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Barry Harvey provides a doctrine of the church that combines Baptist distinctives and origins with an unbending commitment to the visible church as the social body of Christ. Speaking to the broader Christian community, Harvey updates, streamlines, and recontextualizes the arguments he made in an earlier edition of this book (Can These Bones Live?). This new edition offers a style of ecclesial witness that can help Christian churches engage culture. Harvey suggests new ways Baptists can engage ecumenically with Catholics and other Protestants, offers insights for Christian worship and practice, and shows how the fragmented body of Christ can be re-membered after Christendom.

Foreword to the Revised Edition
1. Where, Then, Do We Stand?: The Church as the Presupposition of Theology
2. Can These Bones Live? The Dismembering of Christ's Body
3. Caught Up in the Apocalypse: God's Incursion into the World in Israel and Christ
4. Let Us Be like the Nations: Becoming Entangled in the Ways of the World
5. Sacramental Sinews: The Sacramental Re-membering of Christ's Body
6. Holy Vulnerable: Spiritual Formation for a Pilgrim People
7. Dwelling Again in Tents: Living in Tension with the Earthly City


"When they were a persecuted religious minority, Baptists took great pains to demonstrate the continuity of the faith they confessed with the catholic tradition. But cultural establishment brought with it disdain for and disconnection from a catholicity that in modernity seemed awkwardly countercultural. Barry Harvey's Baptists and the Catholic Tradition does not only cogently argue that Baptists have no ecclesial future apart from a catholic one; this manifesto for Baptist ecumenical engagement also boldly proposes that the needed catholicity cannot be found in reconstruction or idealization but only by identification with--and not separation from--concrete manifestations of the catholicity of the church."

Steven R. Harmon, associate professor of historical theology, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity

Praise for the First Edition

"Barry Harvey has written a small summa for our time, a fine compendium of ecclesial wisdom for making Christian witness to the principalities and powers of our age. With massive learning, both theological and biblical, he offers us a real masterwork, a splendid demonstration of theological thinking at its best, fully mature and fully engaged with church and world alike."

Ralph C. Wood, Baylor University

"In this masterful account of the contemporary church, Barry Harvey demonstrates the frightening relevance of God's question of Ezekiel to our day. His scholarship is profound, although he displays it gracefully, and his insights penetrating. While accurately describing the political, social, and economic forces that have severed the sinews of Christ's body, this marvelous work also represents a fresh breath of the Spirit, offering a rich account of the ecclesial practices that may yet clothe us with new life."

Elizabeth Newman, author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers

"Barry Harvey contends that free churches in North America, and throughout the world, do not merely exist in a state of division. Like the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision, they lie scattered and lifeless. But this book is not merely an exercise in social criticism. It constructively shows how to understand what it might mean for Christ's dismembered body to be re-membered. Harvey's aim is to enable readers to imagine such a future so that they may desire it. If he is successful, there is yet hope for renewal."

Curtis W. Freeman, Duke Divinity School

"This book serves up impressive scholarly breadth, grounded in many streams of the Christian tradition and argued in ways that remind all branches of the church of their best insights, instincts, and practices. Engaging social theory and politics, economic analysis and the humanities, Harvey offers an exciting and pastorally relevant ecclesiology grounded in scripture, tradition, and critical thinking. This book is valuable for students, scholars, clergy, and lay people interested in how we ended up in our current situation in matters of church, politics, and culture."

Michael L. Budde, DePaul University

The Author

  1. Barry Harvey

    Barry Harvey

    Barry Harvey (PhD, Duke University) is professor of theology in the Honors College at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and has served as a theologian and teacher in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He is the author of Another City: An Ecclesiological...

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