Baptists Join with Pope for the Sake of “Christian Unity”


The second meeting of the third phase of international ecumenical conversations between the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity took place Dec. 10-14 in Rome at the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI.

The Baptist delegation was led by co-chair Frank Rees, associate professor and chair of the academic board at the University of Divinity in Australia; the Catholic delegation was led by co-chair Bishop Arthur Serratelli, bishop of Paterson, New Jersey.

The meeting took up the theme of the “Context of Common Witness.” This discussion reflected on the global cultural context in which common Christian witness is being conducted today in six continents of the world.

This sub-theme helps to illuminate the overall theme of the third phase of dialogue, “The Dynamic of the Gospel and the Witness of the Church.” The Baptist-Catholic group will meet annually through 2021 for this third phase of conversations.

Included in the week of ecumenical conversations was a meeting with Pope Francis during the general papal audience on Dec. 12. The following day, the participants visited a local Baptist church in Trastevere.

The Baptist-Catholic group will convene for its third round of the current phase of conversations on Dec. 9-13, 2019, in Warsaw, Poland, hosted by the Baptist Union of Poland at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Warsaw.

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“The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. …These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel. Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.” Great Controversy, Pg. 566.


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