A New Reformed Catholicity

Catholicity and Confessing in Reformed Ecclesiology


  • Henry S. Kuo Graduate Theological Union




Reformed ecclesiology, confessions, catholicity, dangerous memory, globalization


Reformed ecclesiology suffers from a lack of a concrete sense of catholicity, a lack that easily shatters unity in the church. This article broadly sketches a way in which Reformed confessions and the practice of confessing can help fill that lack, drawing from Robert Schreiter's The New Catholicity. By understanding confessing in terms of re-membering dangerous memories, Reformed catholicity has the potential for enabling the church to be a unifying witness in an age where globalizing forces have fragmented societies and inflamed troubling sentiments.   

Author Biography

Henry S. Kuo, Graduate Theological Union

Henry S. Kuo received his doctorate in systematic and philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, focusing his research on Reformed ecclesiology.  He is also the founder and managing editor of the Berkeley Journal of Religion and Theology, and is involved with parish ministry, preaching regularly at the First Chinese Presbyterian Church in New York City.


Augustine of Hippo. 2016. Confessions. Books 9–13. Translated by Carolyn J.B. Hammond. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Augustine of Hippo. 2009. Homilies on the Gospel of John 1–40. Translated by Edmund Hill, OP. Works of Saint Augustine III/12. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press.

Book of Confessions: The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Part I. 2016. Louisville, KY: Office of the General Assembly.

Calvin, John. 2006. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Edited by John T. McNeill. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Calvin, John. 1858. Letters of John Calvin. Volume II. Translated by Jules Bonnet. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication.

Erasmus. 2018. “Two Patriarchs clash, mirroring Russian-Ukrainian tensions.” The Economist. 17 September. https://www.economist.com/erasmus/2018/09/17/two-patriarchs-clash-mirroring-russian-ukrainian-tensions

Haight, Roger. 2005. Christian Community in History: Historical Ecclesiology. Volume 1. London, UK: Continuum.

Kant, Immanuel. 2012. Groundwork in the Metaphysics of Morals. Translated by Mary Gregor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Metz, Johann Baptist. 2007. Faith in History and Society: Toward a Practical Fundamental Theology. Translated by J. Matthew Ashley. New York, NY: Herder & Herder.

Odom, Emily Enders. 2018. “Assembly moves MLK’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ toward confessional status.” Presbyterian General Assembly News. 21 June. https://www.pcusa.org/news/2018/6/21/assembly-moves-mlks-letter-birmingham-jail-toward-/

Pauw, Amy Plantinga. 2011. “Practical Ecclesiology in John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards.” In John Calvin’s Ecclesiology: Ecumenical Perspectives, edited by Gerard Mannion and Eduardus Van der Borght, 107–124. London, UK: Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

Powell, Mark Allan. 2007. What Do They Hear? Bridging the Gap between Pulpit and Pew. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.

Ratzinger, Joseph. 1957. “Originalität und Überlieferung in Augustins Begriff der confessio.“ Revue d’Etudes Augustiniennes et Patristiques 3 (4): 375–392. https://doi.org/10.1484/J.REA.5.103956

Schreiter, Robert J. 1997. The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

Taylor, Mark Lewis. 2005 [1990]. Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress.

Van der Borght, Eduardus, ed. 2010. The Unity of the Church: A Theological State of the Art and Beyond. Leiden, NL: Brill.



How to Cite

Kuo, H. S. (2019). A New Reformed Catholicity: Catholicity and Confessing in Reformed Ecclesiology. Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, 3(1-2), 164–182. https://doi.org/10.1558/isit.38318