Remembering Baptists: James McClendon (again)

On this day in 2000 James McClendon died. He was one of a few Baptists to offer us a systematic theology and in my opinion it is the most important we Baptists have so far.

Here lies some of the opening lines from each of his 3 Volumes.

From Ethics:

Theology means struggle. It may begin as Bonhoeffer said in silence, but when the silence is broken, a battle begins. This seems regrettable; in matters of great moment, the human heart yearns ceaselessly for secure truth, and it is easy for us to believe that unchallenged beliefs are self-evident truths. A little reflection, however, will show that this is not so; in fact we very often have believed without doubt or contradiction what turn out to be mere falsehoods ... Thus when we set out upon Christian theology or ethics we must be reconciled to the fact that here as elsewhere hard truth is not available without hards struggles.

From Doctrine:

In shaping its teaching, the church seeks simply to be the church, so that Christians may be a people who find in Christ their centre, in the Spirit their communion, in God's reign their rule of life.

From Witness:

Consider the following image: We Christians, in the short time, we have existed, as measured by humankind's longer history have all crossed into a unknown realm, in Jesus' phrase "a kingdom"; we have explored its boundaries, discovered its laws, encountered its majesty, found our true selves buy finding it. Now, like so many Marco Polos, we return to find our homeland a strange country. Unaware of our journey, it speaks a language we have not heard when abroad. Its ways, seen now through our refocused eyes, are at once familiar and questionable. We wish to tell of our exotic journey and to divide our booty with those at home, but how can our offer be understood? The image is in several ways defective, yet it has its point; Christians must take their place anew the old setting. To find the new standpoint in our earthly homeland calls for a Christian critique of its culture; thus we will see where and how the church must stand to be the church.


Remembering Baptists: James McClendon

9781481304313 51UXOCEkbkL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_ 51qHgObT8uL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_








Today in 2000 James McClendon died. He authored Ethics, Doctrine & Witness & provided baptistic vision of theology

McClendon's baptistic theology was centred around a conviction that 'this is that.' His work sits alongside that of Hauerwas & Yoder.

Alongside his 3-volume systematic theology, McClendon did important work on biography as theology & the importance of convictions

IBTS in Prague & now Amsterdam through Parush Parushev, Keith Jones & now @StuartMBlythe has been a centre for theology Jim McClendon style.

The 3rd volume of The Collected Works of Jim McClendon @Baylor_Press is due out early 2016.

Hauerwas on MClendon: 'I always suspect that God gave Jim a Catholic body but forced him to live a baptist life - a small 'b' Baptist life'

The importance of Jim McClendon's theology is he starts with Ethics & then Doctrine reversing the practice of the way much theology is done.

Remembering Baptists: Benjamin Keach

Today (18 July) is a day to remember the life of the Particular Baptist theologian and pastor Benjamin Keach.

Keach was the leading theological thinker of the late 17th Century among the Particular Baptists. Author of numerous works and pastor of a congregation in Horsleydown, Southwark.

Born on the 29 Feb 1640. He became a General Baptist in his teens. He was arrested, imprisoned, tried, fined, and his works burnt in 1660 and 1664. Following which he moved to London and moved from the General Baptists to the Particular Baptists, probably through the influence of his second wife Susannah and his friendship with Hanserd Knollys.

He argued with the likes of Richard Baxter against infant baptism and authored catechisms and confessions as well as allegorical works in a similar vein to John Bunyan. He argued for the laying on hands following baptism, which at time the Particular Baptists were unconvinced by and more famously he argued for the use of hymns in worship. When his church in Horsleydown voted to sing a hymn following the sermon, some have said we are the beginnings of the great tradition of English Protestant hymnody.

For more on the life of Benjamin Keach see:

Jonathan Arnold, The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (Centre for Baptist History & Heritage; Regent's Park College, 2013)

D. B. Riker, A Catholic Reformed Theologian: Federalism and Baptism in the Thought of Benjamin Keach (Studies in Baptist History & Thought; Paternoster, 2009)

James B. Vaughan, 'Benjamin Keach' in Timothy George & David Dockery (eds.), Baptist Theologians (Broadman, 1990) 


Glen Harold Stassen, Baptist Ethicist and Peacemaker (1936-2014)

Glen Stassen (1936-2014) died earlier this week. He was Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and the director of the Just Peacemaking Initiative and he was a Baptist.

Author of Just Peacemaking, Kingdom Ethics and A Thicker Jesus, amongst much else. A Thicker Jesus is based on his 2011 The Nordenhaug Memorial lectures delivered at IBTS.

Larry L. McSwain and Wm. Loyd Allen named him amongst the Twentieth-century Shapers of Baptist Social Ethics. His work should be read alongside and in conversation with that of Yoder, Hauerwas and McClendon, whom he counted friends.  

In 2013 he was the recipient of the Baptist World Alliance Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award.

Last year's Summer edition of the Baptist journal Perspectives in Religious Studies honoured him with a festschrift and earlier this year, former students published Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2014).

David Gushee remembers his teacher and colleague Prof Stassen here, as do the faculty at IBTS, another former student Michael L. Westmoreland-White, and current Spurgeon's tutor Joshua Searle.

British Baptist Theologians 20: Keith G. Jones


BA (Manchester) - Northern Baptist College
MA in Peace Studies - Bradford (1980)
PhD - (University of Wales) - IBTS (2007)

1980-1990 General Secretary, Yorkshire Baptist Association
1990-1998 Deputy General Secretary, Baptist Union
1998-2013 Rector, International Baptist Theological Seminary


‘Have Baptists got Faith in the City?’, Baptist Quarterly 33.1 (January 1989)

‘The Authority of a Trust Deed: A Yorkshire Perspective’, Baptist Quarterly 33.3 (July 1989), 103-18

From Conflict to Communion (Baptist Union, 1997)

A Believing Church: Learning from some Contemporary Anabaptist and Baptist Perspectives (Baptist Union, 1998)

A Shared Meal and a Common Table: Some reflections on the Lord’s Supper and Baptists (Whitley, 1999)

'The International Baptist Theology Seminary of the European Baptist Federation', American Baptist Quarterly 38.2 (1999)

‘Rethinking Baptist Ecclesiology’, Journal of European Baptist Studies 1.1 (September 2000)

‘Developing the concept of an eco-seminary’, Journal of European Baptist Studies 2.2 (January 2002)

‘The Labyrinth of the World and and the Paradise of the Heart: insights on European Baptist spirituality’ Baptist Quarterly 40.4 (October 2003)

‘Towards a Model of Mission for Gathering, Intentional, Convictional Koinoina’, Journal of European Baptist Studies 4.2 (2004)

'Abandoning Public Worship' in Keith Jones and Parush Parushev (eds.), Currents in Baptistic Theology of Worship Today (IBTS, 2007)

‘The Baptist World Alliance and Baptist Identity: a reflection on the Journey to the Centenary Congress Message, 2005’, Journal of European Baptist Studies 8.2 (January 2008)

‘Baptists and Creation Care’, Baptist Quarterly 42.7 (July 2008), pp.452-476

(ed.) with Ian Randall, Counter-Cultural Communities: Baptistic Life in Twentieth-Century Europe (Studies in Baptist History and Thought Vol. 32; Paternoster, 2008)

The European Baptist Federation: A Case Study in European Baptist Interdependency 1950-2006 (Studies in Baptist History and Thought Vol. 43; Paternoster, 2009)

'Baptists and Anabaptists Revisited' in Anthony R. Cross and Nicholas Wood (eds.), Exploring Baptist Origins (Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies Vol.1; Regent's Park College, 2010)

'Gathering Worship: Some Tentative Proposals for Reshaping Worship in our European Baptistic Churches Today', Journal of European Baptist Studies 13.1 (September 2012)

'Spirituality and Structures', Journal of European Baptist Studies 13.2 (January 2013)

‘A Moment of Transformation: The European Baptist Federation and the Collapse of the Soviety Union’ in Pieter Lalleman et al (eds.), Grounded in Grace (Spurgeon’s College, 2013)

'Re-visiting the Web: Baptistic Ecclesia and Interdependency' Baptistic Theologies 7.2 (2015)

British Baptist Theologians 19: David McIlroy

S200_david.mcilroyVisiting Senior Lecturer in Law, SOAS

Associate Research Fellow, Spurgeon's College

PhD (Spurgeon's College / University of Wales)


'A Christian State', Law and Justice (1994)

'A Christian View of the State', Law and Justice (1999)

'Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty: Christian Reflections on the Size, Shape and Scope of Government', Journal of Church and State 45.4 (2003)

A Biblical View of Law and Justice (Paternoster, 2004)

'What's at Stake in Natural Law?', New Blackfriars 89 (September 2008)

''The Law of Love.' Cambridge Papers, 17.2 (2008)

'Towards a Relational and Trinitarian Theology of Atonement', Evangelical Quarterly 80 (2008)

A Trinitarian Theology of Law (Paternoster, 2009)

'The role of government in classical Christian Thought' in Nick Spencer and Jonathan Chaplain (eds.), God and Government (SPCK, 2009)

‘Idols and Grace: Re-envisioning political liberalism as political limitism’, Political Theology 11 (2010), 205-225

'The Use of the Bible by the Christian Human Rights Organisations International Justice Mission and Christian Solidarity Worldwide.' Political Theology, 11.3 (2010) pp. 473-485

'The Right Reason for Caesar to Confess Christ as Lord: Oliver O’Donovan and Arguments for the Christian State', Studies in Christian Ethics 23.3 (2010)

‘Theology and Legal Theory’ in Christopher Craig Brittain and Francesca Aran Murphy (eds.) Theology, University, Humanities: Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini (Wipf and Stock, 2011) 127-49

British Baptist Theologians 18: John Weaver

BSc and PhD in Geology at the University College of Wales, Swansea

MA Theology (Oxford)

1992-2001 Director of Pastoral Training and Tutor in Pastoral Theology, Regent’s Park College, Oxford

2001-2011 Principal, South Wales Baptist College, Cardiff

2008-2009 President, Baptist Union

1997 Templeton Award for MTh course taught in Science and Faith.


In the Beginning God: Modern Science and the Christian Doctrine of Creation (Smyth & Helwys, 1994)

‘Developing patterns of ministerial training’, Baptist Minister's Journal Vol 250 (1995)

‘Reconsidering Believers’ Baptism’, Baptist Minister's Journal Vol 257 (1997)

Earthshaping, Earthkeeping: A Doctrine of Creation (SPCK, 1999)

‘The Eucharist: Celebration and Participation’, Baptist Minister's Journal Vol 272 (2000)

‘A Baptist Response to the Notion of National Church’,  Law & Justice - Christian Law Review 145 (2002)

'A Theology of Energy’, Baptist Minister's Journal Vol 284 (2003)

'Translocal Leadership: A Theological Reflection' in Stuart Murray (ed.), Translocal Ministry: Equipping the Churches for Mission (Baptist Union, 2004)

‘Enabling Christians to forgive – the dynamics of reconciliation’, Baptist Minister's Journal Vol 289 (2005)

'Finding God in the Holocaust: Schindler’s List' in Anthony Clarke and Paul Fiddes (eds.), Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Smyth & Helwys, 2005)

Outside-in: Theological Reflection on Life (Smyth & Helwys, 2006)

(ed.) with Margaret Hodson, The Place of Environmental Theology: A guide for seminaries, colleges and universities (Whitley/IBTS, 2007)

'Spirituality in Everyday Life: the View from the Table' in Paul S. Fiddes (ed.), Under the Rule of Christ: Dimensions of Christian Spirituality (Smyth & Helwys, 2008)

'Co-redeemers: a theological basis for creation care', Perspectives in Religious Studies 36.2 (Summer 2009)

Christianity and Science. SCM Core Text (SCM, 2010)

‘Climate Change: Covenant making, breaking and restoration’, Journal of European Baptist Studies Vol 11.2 (January 2011)

'Hopeful Disciples in a Time of Climate Change' in Stephen Finamore and John Weaver (eds.), Wisdom, Science and the Scriptures: Essays in Honour of Ernest Lucas (2012)

British Baptist Theologians 17: Paul Ballard

Warden of the Collegiate Centre, University College, Cardiff
Tutor in Pastoral Studies, University College, Cardiff
Professor in School of Religious and Theological Studies, University College, Cardiff


‘The Dynamic of Independency’, Baptist Quarterly 23 (1970)

'Baptists and Covenanting', Baptist Quarterly 24.8 (1972)

'Reasons for Refusing the Great Supper', Journal of Theological Studies (1972)

'Camus and Bonhoeffer: Living in a Godless World', Theology 78 (August 1972)

'How Far Ought the Church to be Politicised?’, Baptist Quarterly 30.1 (January 1983)

‘Conservation in a Christian Context’, Baptist Quarterly 31.1 (January 1985)

(ed.) The Foundations of Pastoral Studies and Practical Theology (University College, Cardiff, 1986)

Pastoral Care and Ethical Issues In and Out of Work: A Pastoral Perspective (St. Andrew's Press, 1987)

'Pastoral Theology as Theology of Reconciliation', Theology 91 (1988)

'Bonhoeffer as Pastoral Theologian', Theology 94 (March 1991)

'Practical Theology as an Academic Discipline', Theology 98 (1995)

(ed.) with Paul Badham, Facing Death: An Interdisciplinary Approach (University of Wales, 1996)

with John Pritchard, Practical Theology in Action: Christian Thinking in the Service of the Church and Society (SPCK, 1996, 2006)

(ed.) with Pamela D. Couture,  Globalization and Difference: The Papers of the International Academy of Practical Theology (Cardiff Acadmeic Press, 1999)

'The Emergence of Pastoral and Practical Theology in Britain' in James Woodward and John Patton (eds.), The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology (Blackwell, 2000)

'Can Theology be Practical?' in John Swinton and David Willows (ed.), Spiritual Dimensions of Pastoral Care: Practical Theology in a Multidisciplinary Context (Jessica Kingsley, 2000)

(ed.) with Pamela D. Couture, Creativity, Imagination and Criticism:  The Expressive Dimension in Practical Theology (Cardiff Academic Press, 2001)

'The clergy: an interesting anomaly' in Stephen Pattison and Roisin Pill (eds.), Values in Professional Practice: Lessons for health, social care, and other professionals (Redcliffe, 2004)

'Reflections on Professional Theological Education Today', Theology 107 (September 2004)

(ed.) with Stephen R. Holmes, The Bible in Pastoral Practice: Readings in the Place and Function of Scripture in the Church (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005)

'Taking Leave: The "Good Death" Today', Contact: Practical Theology and Pastoral Care 146 (2005)

with Malcolm Brown, The Church and Economic Life: A Documentary Study - 1945 to the Present (Epworth, 2006)

with Lesley Husselbee, Community and Ministry: An Introduction to Community Work in a Christian Context (SPCK, 2007)

'The Scriptures in Church and Pastoral Practice', Transformation 24.1 (January 2007)

(ed.) The Church at the Centre of the City (Epworth, 2008)

'Theological Reflection and Providence', Practical Theology 1.3 (2008)

'The Bible in Theological Reflection: Indications from the History of Scripture', Practical Theology 4.1 (2011)

British Baptist Theologians 16. Michael H. Taylor

Michael Taylor was Director of Christian Aid for twelve years from 1985–97, and from 2001–04 was seconded by the University to be Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue. He was closely involved in the creation of the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics. He was President of the Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign and chairs several NGOs. He is interested in using the insights of faith traditions (mainly Christianity) to inform social policy especially in the area of poverty reduction and human development.

Principal, Northern Baptist College (1969-1985)

Director of Christian Aid (1985-1997)

Professor of Social Theology, University of Birmingham (1997-)

Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (2001-2004)


'Ministerial Training and Theological Education', The Fraternal 164 (May 1972)

Variations on a Theme (Stainer and Bell, 1973)

The Plain Man's Guide to the Incarnation (ONE, 1977)

Christians and the future of social democracy (1982)

Learning to Care: Christian Reflection on Pastoral Practice (SPCK, 1983)

Good for the poor: Christian ethics and world development (1990)

Not Angels but Agencies: The ecumenical response to Poverty (SCM, 1996)

Poverty and Christianity: Reflections at the interface between faith and experience. The Bernard Gilpin Pastoral Theology Lectures 2000 (SCM, 2000)

Christianity, Poverty and Wealth (SPCK 2003)

'Poverty and Globalization' in Peter Heslam (ed.), Globalization and the God (SPCK, 2004)

'Faith in the Global Economic System', Studies in Christian Ethics  17.2 (2004)

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We Live: Studies in Christianity and Development (T & T Clark, 2005)

Border Crossings: Exploring Social Theology in Christianity and Islam. The Nordenhaug Lectures 2005 (IBTS, 2006)

British Baptists and Inter-Faith Dialogue

This is still a relatively new area of engagement for Baptists. The Joppa Baptist Interfaith network began in 1985. A report on interfaith is being presented to BU Council in November 2009 .

Paul Weller Baptist Minister and Professor of of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby and Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford, UK.

MA Theology, University of Oxford (1981); MPhil on a Baptist Contribution to the Theology & Practice of Dialogue, University of Manchester (1988); PhD on The Rushdie Controversy, Religious Plurality & Established Religion, University of Leeds (1996)

Selected Publications

'Freedom and witness in a multi-religious society: A Baptist perspective', Baptist Quarterly 33 (April & July 1990), pp. 252-264, pp. 302-315.

'Equity, Inclusivity and Participation in a Plural Society: Challenging the Establishment of the Church of England' in P. Edge and G. Harvey (eds) Law and Religion in Contemporary Society:

Communities, Individualism and the State (Ashgate,  2000), pp. 53-67.

'Insiders or Outsiders? Propositions for European Religions, States and Societies' in A. Race and I. Shafer, Religions in Dialogue: From Theocracy to Democracy, (Ashgate, 2002), pp. 193-208

'Insiders or Outsiders? Religion(s), State(s) and Society: Propositions for Europe', Baptist Quarterly 39.5 (January 2002) pp. 211-222 and 39.6 (April 2002), pp. 276-286

Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society (T & T Clark, 2005),

Religious Diversity in the UK: Contours and Issues (Continuum, 2008),

A Mirror for our Times: "The Rushdie Affair" and the Future of Multiculturalism (T & T Clark, 2009)

Nicholas J. Wood
. Baptist Minister, Dean and Tutorial Fellow in Religion and Culture, Regent's Park College, Oxford and Director of the Centre for Christianity and Culture. Chair of JOPPA, the Baptist Inter-Faith Network. A president of the National Christian Muslim Forum.

PhD, University of Oxford (1996)

(ed.), A Baptist Perpsective on Interfaith Dialogue (Joppa, 1992)

'Inculturating Christianity in Postmodern Britain' in Paul S. Fiddes (ed.), Faith in the Centre: Christianity and Culture (Smyth and Helwys, 2001), pp.235-256.

Confessing Christ in a Plural World. The 2002 Whitley Lecture (Whitely, 2002)

Faiths and Faithfulness: Pluralism, Dialogue and Mission in the Work of Kenneth Cragg and Lesslie Newbigin (Paternoster, 2009)