An Introduction to Catholicity: An Editorial Preface to this Special Issue
By Ryan A. Brandt and Matthew Y. Emerson
Ryan Brandt is Associate Professor of Christian History and Theology at Grand Canyon University and Managing Editor of JBTS; Matt Emerson is Professor of Religion, Floyd K. Clark Chair of Leadership, and Dean of the Hobbs College of Theology & Ministry at Oklahoma Baptist University.
While it has a long and distinguished history in the Christian tradition, the word “catholicity” has become a buzzword of sorts in these last few decades. Across some denominational lines, it elicits polarizing responses that lead to neglecting or even dismissing it. Yet, in recent decades there has been a revival of interest on the topic, a growing awareness that catholicity is an essential part of Christianity, including at least most of the major denominational heritages. This volume was inspired by the renewed Protestant emphasis of catholicity in the contemporary landscape. Given the
broadness of the term as well as the varied application across different denominational lines, it seemed helpful and timely to offer a survey of various approaches. Such approaches show real differences among Christians, but they also show encouraging signs that Christians are reappropriating their long and distinguished tradition, especially including its early and medieval roots. This article is an introduction to both the topic of catholicity as well as this special issue for interested readers.