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Baptists and the Communion of Saints
A Theology of Covenanted Disciples
By Paul S. Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd
This book fuses the Church’s traditional doctrine of the Communion of Saints and Baptists’ theology of salvation and discipleship—charting how Baptists can speak of a communion of saints here and now. Paul Fiddes and his coauthors emphasize that this communion is only possible within the fellowship of the triune God who covenants with and for believers.
Reframing communion within a theology of covenant enables the affirmation of the practice of prayer and mutual support with all faithful disciples, both alive and dead. Such a covenantal understanding of communion avoids an unhealthy obsession with communication with those who have died. Baptists and the Communion of Saints thus makes a significant and practical difference in the way Baptists understand the nature of the church, prepare their worship, care for the dying and the bereaved, go on spiritual journeys, and celebrate baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Why Talk about the Saints?
2. Memory and Communion
3. Hope, Strangeness, and Interconnections
4. Praying with Mary and All the Saints
5. The Fellowship of Faces
6. Communion and Covenant
Conclusion: The Difference the Doctrine Makes
"This is a richly simulating book, born of conversation and shared theologising by three Baptist theologians of whom we should be justly proud. It explores an area of doctrine where these three do no fear to tread, even if angels might be cautious, and unfolds for us dimensions of the reality of the purposes and breadth of God that we, as Baptists, have ignored to our impoverishing and disabling.”
—Paul Goodliff, Baptist Quarterly
“Baptists and the Communion of Saints is a feast to relish. Not only does it offer substantive and convincing proposals for a properly Baptist approach to this issue, it is a sterling example of constructive theology.”
—Dan R. Stiver, Cook-Derrick Professor of Theology, Logsdon School of Theology, Hardin-Simmons University
“An important and timely book on one of the most neglected articles of the Apostles' Creed, Baptists and the Communion of Saints explores what it means for believers to share together life in Christ in this world—and the next—along the boundaries of space and time that both separate and unite the church militant, triumphant, and vigilant.”
—Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University and Chair, Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission, Baptist World Alliance
Paul S. Fiddes is Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxford. He was Principal of Regent’s Park College, Oxford (1989-2007), a Baptist foundation, and has been Chair of the Doctrine and Unity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. He is the author of Tracks and Traces: Baptist Identity in Church and Theology (2003) and Seeing the World and Knowing God: Israelite Wisdom and Christian Doctrine in a Late-modern Context (2013).
Brian Haymes was Principal of Northern Baptist College, Manchester (1985-94), Principal of Bristol Baptist College (1994-2000), and President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. He is active in retirement in writing and preaching. He is the author of The Concept of the Knowledge of God (1988) and coauthor of On Being the Church (2008).
Richard Kidd was Principal of Northern Baptist College, Manchester (1994-2009) and Co-Principal of Northern Baptist Learning Community (2009-2012). His life at present includes voluntary work with the Baptist Missionary Society in India. He is coauthor of God and the Art of Seeing (2003) and editor of Something to Declare: A Study of the Declaration of Principle of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (1996).
All three authors are ordained ministers of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and have been friends for more than thirty years.