Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baptists and Pentecostals Plan Dialogue

The Baptist World Alliance has issued the following press release regarding last week's exploratory conversations between representatives of the Baptist World Alliance and international Pentecostals:
December 19, 2011

Baptists and Pentecostals plan dialogue

Lagos (BWA)-- Representatives of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF) met from December 13-15 to set guidelines for an upcoming international dialogue between Baptists and Pentecostals.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, who led the BWA delegation, said he "was pleased that the time had arrived in which Baptists and Pentecostals could meet to consider how they might work together in the spirit of Jesus' prayer for the unity of the church." Callam encouraged participants to think creatively about how, in future years, Baptists and Pentecostals might cooperate more fully in a number of areas, including mission and evangelism.

Cecil Robeck, Jr., representing the PWF and professor of Church History and Ecumenics at Fuller Theological Seminary in the state of California in the United States, co-chaired the planning session with Callam.

The meeting, held at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, in the US, issued a statement with proposals on how a future dialogue may proceed. "The purpose of the dialogue is to examine what it may mean for Baptists and Pentecostals to walk together in step with the Holy Spirit," the statement read. "Our intention is for the dialogue to be holistic in its evaluation of faith and practice."

A series of questions are to be explored in any future talks. "Are there areas on which we already agree? What can we offer to one another as sisters and brothers in Christ? Who are we (BWA - PWF) as we walk together? What does it mean for us to walk together? How do we walk together in the Holy Spirit?"

It is anticipated that teams will meet annually from 2012 through 2014, beginning in Quito, Ecuador, next August. Findings and recommendations for consideration by the two bodies are expected to be presented in 2015.

Members of the BWA delegation were Callam; Fausto Vasconcelos, BWA director of the Division on Mission, Evangelism, and Theological Reflection; Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, senior editor for Christianity Today, and host of the meeting; Bill Brackney, Millard R. Cherry Distinguished Professor for Christian Thought and Ethics at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, Canada; and Curtis Freeman, research professor of Theology and director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, in the state of North Carolina, in the US.

© Baptist World Alliance 2011

Update: Associated Baptist Press has published an expanded story on the Baptist-Pentecostal conversations: "Baptists, Pentecostals seek common ground"

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