The current issue of the theological journal Pro Ecclesia
(vol. 18.4, Fall 2009) features "A Book Symposium on Steven R. Harmon's Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision
." It includes four articles reviewing the book by two Catholic and two Baptist theologians, along with Harmon's response:
Richard Crane, "Explosive Devices and Rhetorical Strategies: Appreciation for Steven R. Harmon's Towards Baptist Catholicity" (pp. 367-70)
Nicholas M. Healy, "Traditions, Authorities, and the Individual Christian" (pp. 371-74)
Elizabeth Newman, "Remembering How to Remember: Harmon's Subversive Orthodoxy" (pp. 375-80)
Maureen H. O'Connell, "Towards a Baptist (and Roman Catholic) Catholicity" (pp. 381-85)
Steven R. Harmon, "Why Baptist Catholicity, and by What Authority?" (pp. 386-92).
I've not yet read the reviews (the University of Oxford has stopped hard copy subscriptions on a wide-scale to journals, and so I have to wait for it to appear in an e-version, which for some journals like Pro Ecclesia takes ages!), but Steven has kindly sent me a copy of his response. The book I think is an important one, although perhaps more controversial in the US than in Europe as Steven points out. It is fantastic to see a major international theological journal engaging with Baptist theology (reviews of Baptist theologians is not always forthcoming - I have struggled to find many reviews of Paul Fiddes' Tracks and Traces ; John Colwell's Promise and Presence ; amongst others). The reason in this case, apart from being a good book (:-)!) is it's arguments for Baptists to situate themselves more consciously in the catholic church tradition (they risk becoming sub-christian if they don't!) and that the ultimate goal is communion with Rome.
One of Steven's recent arguments is for those training for Baptist ministry to be more exposed to ecumenical theology, to the voices of other traditions beyond Baptists and evangelical ones and he repeats this in his response with particular reference to Roman Catholic theology. I hope those involved in theological education of Baptists ministers heed his call. As Keith Clements signals in the post previous to this, ecumenical theology and engagement has dropped off the radar after the huge attempts of the 20th century.