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Towards a Catholic Understanding of Baptist Congregationalism: Conciliar Power and Authority

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Baptist Theologies allegedly show little interest in formal statements about the ministerial office. Baptist churches commonly share the congregational Church vision, and by definition try to avoid any trace of conformity to hierarchy. In this article we explore the possibility of redefining and broadening the notion of congregationalism by principles of conciliar life, as demonstrated in pre-Nicene Northern Africa, more specifically in Cyprian’s era. Cyprian c.s. carefully tried to listen to singing and praying communal voices (lex orandi, lex credenda), and ‘discerning the mind of Christ’ was indicative of involving the voice of the community (suffragium populi), even in matters of ecclesial election, such as the election of clergy.

Affiliations: 1: VU University Amsterdam The Netherlands, Email:


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