What Is Catholicity?
Do you actively work to partner with other local churches to fulfill the Great Commission? Or do you act as if your church can take the gospel to the ends of the earth all by yourselves?
What do our churches mean by “catholic” when we recite the Nicene creed (381) and declare our belief in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church?
The charge of anti-catholicity, when used to critique ecclesial convictions, evinces an inadequate understanding of catholicity.
The church’s catholicity is the simple acknowledgement that the church is not confined to any one place or people.
A narrow fundamentalism blinds us to healthy catholicity and theological error due to pride in a sterile, tightly-packaged belief system.
How do we partner well with others when our convictions don’t align?
For all the good of catholicity, an over-realized catholicity is potentially poisonous.
Catholicity in History
Against the Reformation’s backdrop of such vehemence and occasional violence, there are also sterling examples of Christian partnership and catholicity.
Eusebius’s friendship with Basil of Caesarea during the doctrinal watershed of the 370s is of vital importance and should be remembered in any account of the Cappadocian theologian’s formulation of the Holy Spirit’s deity.
Catholicity in a Divided Age
How do we decide when and to what extent to cooperate with churches that are more or less like-minded?
Jesus commands his followers to love their enemies. In our politically charged times, that’s when the world sees the beauty and power of the gospel.
You can build beautiful partnerships with churches that look different than yours if you look beyond the forms to see the elements.
How can predominantly white and black churches work together without compromising the convictions of each?
Racism is a direct affront to Scripture, to the gospel, and to the Nicene Christianity that follows from them.
Every Christian, church, and pastor lives in a specific context. It’s increasingly difficult to remember our particularity in the digital age.
Catholicity and the Local Church
Churches ought to relate in four specific and interconnected ways.
The implication of multi-site/service models is that the best way for the lost in your town, city, or country to hear the gospel is the expansion of one particular empire.
I see a strong and growing catholicity among persecuted churches in China that churches in freer environments could learn from.
Once we learn to hold on to our members loosely, assuming they are joining another gospel-preaching church, we will begin to enjoy the benefits of leading some to flourish elsewhere, blessing other churches as a result.
Meaningful membership upholds glad-hearted catholicity.
Use your prayer meeting to help create Great Commission culture in your church, a culture that puts competition to death and extends friendship, hospitality, and generosity to other churches.
God has a big plan for his whole world, and God will accomplish his work in the world. Sometimes he may do that through us. Sometimes he may do it through the church down the street.
If you’re prone to use name-calling with theological opponents, consider three passages in Scripture and how they address our unhealthy culture in evangelicalism of pejorative labeling.
Catholicity and Missions
The Great Commission is bigger than your local church. How should that shape your priorities and posture as a pastor?
Catholicity is not only an anchor to help the church remain faithful to the apostolic faith, but it also provides a theological basis for global missions.
How can pastors encourage their congregations to appreciate ecclesiological distinctives without discarding a spirit of catholicity?
Catholicity in Different Contexts
Here are nine lessons a Baptist learned from his friends within the Church of England.
Here are four things Baptists have taught one Anglican about ecclesiology.
My life, thinking, and ministry would be much poorer if it were not for the influence of the Presbyterian ministers, teachers, and writers that I have encountered, whether in person or through their writings.
“Association” is unique in the way it presents a deeply biblical vision for autonomous congregations working with each other.
Chan’s ‘Until Unity’ appeals for Christians to be united.
In their recent edited volume “Baptists and the Christian Tradition”, Matthew Emerson, Christopher Morgan, and Luke Stamps, along with various contributors, argue for the good of theological retrieval and engaging the Great Tradition for the sake of strengthening Baptist beliefs.