The Regensburg Forum is a public online forum that exists to promote informed and scholarly dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Reformed Protestant traditions. Special attention is paid to the importance of the Augustinian legacy of Western Christianity, which both traditions inherit and develop. Recognizing that the proliferation of early and late medieval theology and the original protest of the Reformers relied heavily upon creative deployments of Augustinian thought in philosophy and theology, we take the Augustinian tradition to be a primary point of departure for study and research. We are convinced that careful research in an Augustinian key will help to bring Roman Catholic scholarship closer to the orthodox and scholastic heart of Reformed thought, while also allowing the discontinuities of Reformation thought with Roman Catholicism to be studied in light of remarkable and overarching continuities.
Just as both Catholics and Reformers were engaged in tasks of ressourcement in the Augustinian tradition, so also at The Regensburg Forum, we consider it paramount to continue dialogue between these traditions by taking the matters of the Church’s passage through history and its constant return “to the sources” seriously, realizing that the divides of the Reformation, while rooted in substantial and legitimate theological differences, also arise in the midst of a dizzying array of social, cultural, political, and religious factors. This makes the work of Reformation historiography and scholarly interpretation crucial to understanding our differences, and here The Regensburg Forum hopes to provide suggestive and original contributions to online discussions.
The Regensburg Forum features Roman Catholic, Reformed, and evangelical contributors, who, while holding various positions and convictions regarding the nature of ecumenism and its relation to inter-confessional scholarship, share a deep respect for the historical, theological, and philosophical contributions of each other’s ecclesial traditions. We desire to assist each other in the task of elucidating the historical development of the Catholic and Protestant traditions, and firmly believe that an ongoing, mutual recovery of the fullness of Reformed thought, especially in its self-consciously catholic expression, is essential to a dialogue between Catholics and Protestants.
Recognizing that online forums – especially blogs, websites, and social media – have become one of the most effective mediums for sustained, thoughtful discussion, we have launched The Regensburg Forum to initiate a conversation between Catholic and Reformed brothers and sisters on theological, philosophical, and historical issues of fundamental importance. While recognizing the invaluable efforts of academic journals and centers for ecumenical thought, such mediums are susceptible to sequestration from more popular audiences and must necessarily pace the progress of their efforts. The Regensburg Forum is intended to generate discussions that can be shared, critiqued, and advanced by a wide audience at a pace appropriate to our online age. Our writing will usually be scholarly, but not excessively academic, popular, but not given to eliding crucial differences for the sake of accessibility.
Crucially, this site resists the temptation to shortcut dialogue by insisting on a repudiation of the varied goods of our Christian traditions. Our conversations will not involve attempts to convert participants out of their respective traditions, but rather a fostering of a dialogue of love that respects the spiritual and intellectual integrity of all persons involved, and which allows all participants to continue their pursuit of truth without excessive polemics or culpable misunderstandings. Against the lure of polemics, we wish to explore fundamental matters of contention between the Catholic Church and Reformed churches by relentlessly attending to historical sources, deepening our shared theological grammar, and carefully discerning those issues that stem from misunderstanding and those that exist due to informed disagreement. While genuine disagreements and differences do exist, the meeting of dialogue partners from differing traditions, rather than threatening our identities, can serve to deepen the theological and intellectual integrity of those traditions.
Given the experiences and relative expertise of the primary contributors, The Regensburg Forum will focus mainly, though not exclusively, on the confessional Reformed traditions that have their origins in historic, magisterial Reformed thought, and on the recent evangelical Calvinist movement known as the ‘New Calvinism’. Although members of more confessional Reformed traditions may not consider New Calvinism to be a proper heir of Reformed theology – as it were, a difference between the Old Lights and the New – both draw from common sources, and together constitute arguably the most intellectually and sociologically significant continuations of Calvinist theology in America. Readers will also encounter occasional forays into other Reformation traditions, particularly Lutheran, Dutch and Barthian. In doing this, we hope to make a unique contribution by grouping several themes and strains of Reformed theology together to dialogue with Roman Catholics on one online forum. We sincerely hope that The Regensburg Forum will serve as an effective medium for an encounter between persons from these various traditions, and that we will aid one another in our pursuit of what is One, Good, True, and Beautiful.
Further explanation of the the purpose and practices of The Regensburg Forum can be found in the following posts: