Salvation Is a ‘Group Project’: An Ecclesial Imagination

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Publication Date

Spring 2011


Steve Harmon's Toward Baptist Catholicity invites Baptists to a renewed awareness that we belong to "the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church" and to an intentional embrace of "the ancient catholic tradition that forms Christian identity through liturgical rehearsal, catechetical instruction, and embodied ecclesial practice." Harmon's project, following classical Faith and Order ecumenism, is "to call the churches to . . . visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistie fellowship."1 In a previous essay, I stated that the most intransigent obstacle to Baptist catholicity is the "quasi-Gnostic" soteriological imagination deeply entrenched in popular Baptist and evangelical circles. The dominant construal of "salvation" is that of a private encounter between the individual soul and God, the "content" of which is the rectification of the individual's juridical relationship with God. Only a soteriological "paradigm shift," I suggested, will make catholicity even imaginable among Baptists.


Originally published as:

Crane, Richard D. “Salvation Is a ‘Group Project’: An Ecclesial Soteriological Imagination.” Perspectives in Religious Studies, vol. 38, no. 1, Spr 2011, pp. 61–83.

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