It’s always interesting when a Baptist writer makes his way into a particularly Catholic journal. First Things, for all its possible faults, does find space to bring in others from beyond their tradition. This time around it was Bruce Ashford, a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary writing about Baptists and the Reformation, particularly about the importance of Scripture.
Central to the Reformation was the belief that Scripture should be the primary source and supreme norm for Christian theology and for the Christian life. Southern Baptists such as I are grateful for the high view of Scripture that catalyzed the Reformers and that informs most Baptists today.
We Baptists believe that Scripture is the written word of God; read and heard correctly, it presents the living words of a living Lord. Through our missionary efforts, it should be made accessible to everybody, in one way or another—to those who can read and those who cannot read. Indeed, Scripture is the primary way God invites humans into the drama of redemption, calling them to know him and love him and join him on his mission.
Ashford goes on to say more about Baptists and Scripture. He does acknowledge the strain of Baptist history that wasn’t so much about “want[ing] to reform the Catholic Church so much as subvert it and start afresh.” But he also does a good job reminding readers that Baptists have always considered themselves “people of the Book” in good and significant ways. You can read the whole article here.