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Methodists and Baptists Engage in Second International Dialogue

Members of the Baptist World Alliance and the World Methodist Council met February 5 to 10 at the Covenant Community Methodist Church at Methodist Girls’ School, Singapore. The meeting was the second round of conversations of the international dialogue between Baptists and Methodists. The overall theme of the dialogue is faith working through love. The delegations were welcomed by Bishop Dr. Wee Boon Hup, of the Methodist Church in Singapore, and Rev. Edwin Lam, the Vice-Chairman of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation.

The theme of the conversations centered on the Faith confessed and remembered. Participants discussed presentations on the nature of and authority in the churches. Also considered were issues surrounding the understanding of justification and sanctification within the two theological frameworks.

The dialogue is co-chaired by Rev. Dr. Tim Macquiban, Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, and Rev. Dr. Curtis Freeman, Research Professor and Director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. Rev. Dr. Paul Chilcote, Dean of Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio, and Rev. Dr. Fausto Vasconcelos, BWA director of Mission, Evangelism, and Theological Reflection, serve as co-secretaries. Other members of the Methodist delegation present were Dr. Ulrike Schuler, Professor at the Reutlingen School of Theology in Germany; Rev. Malcolm Tan, Pastor of Covenant Community Methodist Church in Singapore; Rev. Lauren Matthew, Minister, Methodist Church of Southern Africa; and the Rev. Christine Gooden-Benguche, Secretary, Jamaica District Conference, Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Other members of the Baptist delegation present were Rev. Dr. Deji Isaac Ayegboyin, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Dr. Valérie Duval-Poujol, Professor of Biblical Exegesis, Catholic Institute, Paris, France; the Rev. Dr. R. L. Hnuni, Principal of Calcutta Bible Seminary, and Rev. Dr. Stephen Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Theology, University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Also attending was Rev. Dr. Robert Gribben, chair of the ecumenical relations committee of the WMC, from Melbourne, Australia.

The participants worshipped together each day drawing on the two traditions, and attended the Sunday service at the Covenant Community Methodist Church where Bishop Emeritus Robert Solomon preached. They visited sites in the city relating to the history of the church and its multi-cultural context, recognizing the anniversary date of one hundred and thirty years of Methodist missions in Singapore. The meeting concluded with dinner hosted by the faculty and staff of Trinity Theological College. The meeting next year will be hosted by the Baptist Theological Seminary in Elstal, Germany where they will take up the theme of making disciples.