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Baptists, Orthodox agree on formal conversations

WASHINGTON (BP)–Leaders of the Baptist World Alliance and representatives of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate agreed to recommend full conversations at the international level between the Orthodox Church and the BWA during a May 16-19 meeting at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, England.
For this to happen, all of the 15 autonomous Orthodox churches will have to agree to the talks.
The Oxford meeting was the fourth meeting between the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and BWA, and a fifth pre-conversation may take place before full conversations might begin.
Denton Lotz, BWA general secretary, said, “We were encouraged by these conversations and hope that future talks will lead to better understanding between our members for the advancement of Christ and his kingdom worldwide.”
If full conversations are held, it is proposed that both the Orthodox and BWA will have a team of 15 representatives each.
At this recent pre-conversation meeting, papers were presented by His Excellency Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus on “The Orthodox Concept of Tradition;” professor Vasil Istavridis on “The Ecumenical Patriarchate: Past and Present;” and Paul S. Fiddes of Regent’s Park College, Oxford, on “Mission: Essence or Responsibility of the Church,” one of the key points of discussion between the Baptist and the Orthodox.
Participants in the Oxford meeting from the Orthodox were H.E. Dr. Metropolitan of Ephesus, dean of the Holy and Sacred Synod and chairman of the Synodical Committee on Inter-Christian Affairs; H.E. Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain; H.E. Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra; H.G. Bishop Aristarchos of Zenoupolis; Christos Christakis and professor Vasil Istavridis.
BWA representatives were: Lotz; L. Tony Cupit, director of BWA evangelism and education and study and research divisions; Karl Heinz Walter, general secretary, European Baptist Federation; Gerald Borchert, professor of New Testament, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.; William Brackney, principal, McMaster Divinity College, Canada; John Briggs, senior lecturer in history, Keele University, United Kingdom; L. Russ Bush, academic vice president and dean of the faculty, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.; Paul S. Fiddes, principal, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, United Kingdom.

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  • Wendy Ryan