From the United States to South Korea and central Europe to South Africa, video interviews introduced readers to global Baptists.
As part of its extensive coverage of the Baptist World Alliance’s 2015 World Congress, held in Durban, South Africa, from July 22-26, EthicsDaily.com staff interviewed throughout the week a number of Baptists on a variety of topics.
The Durban interviews began with David Coffey, a Baptist minister in the United Kingdom and former BWA president, who spoke with EthicsDaily.com executive editor Robert Parham about Baptist-Muslim relations and principals for interfaith engagement.
Coffey thanked EthicsDaily.com for leading the way on these issues.
Otniel (Oti) Bunaciu is the former president of the Baptist Union of Romania, current president of the European Baptist Federation and dean of the Baptist Theological Faculty in the University of Bucharest.
He spoke with EthicsDaily.com about Romanian Baptists, sharing that there are 100,000 Baptists in 1,800 churches in Romania, which makes them the third largest group within the European Baptist Federation.
Bunaciu reflected also on the importance of BWA gatherings, emphasizing that it reminds Baptists, who often focus on local church autonomy, that we “belong to a wider body” and that “we can do more together.”
The BWA is particularly meaningful to Romanian Baptists, he said, because it advocated for them to receive legal rights in Romania and also provided humanitarian aid.
Sharing his vision for the BWA was Paul Msiza, pastor of Peniel-Salem Baptist Church in Pretoria and BWA president for 2015-20.
Msiza also discussed the connection between his favorite sport, football (soccer), and his new role at the BWA.
David Hardage, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said he was energized by the stories he heard from a diverse group of global Baptists.
Hardage emphasized the spectrum of stories he heard about, from “struggles to true persecution,” a diversity of experience revealed in an interview with Edward Dima, a former refugee from Sudan who now serves as president of the Baptist Convention of South Sudan.
Peter Chin, senior pastor of the Global Mission Church in South Korea who shared with EthicsDaily.com about the ministry of his congregation, which has seven services in several languages (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese and a few others) attended by an average of 30,000 on Sundays.
Chin attributed their successful ministry to “the grace of God” while noting the strength of their small group, cell ministry and the church’s history of “strong, evangelistic, evangelical preaching that is based on the Scriptures.”
He said that the Presbyterians were the largest Protestant denomination in the country but noted that the “Baptist are an ever-growing denomination at this point.”
Dimitrina Oprenova is the associate minister of First Baptist Church in Sofia, Bulgaria.
After preaching the Thursday evening service at the Congress, she spoke about Baptist challenges in her country.
She also told a story about how a man who stole and “smoked a Bible” became a Christian as a result.
Yohanna Katanacho, academic dean of Nazareth Evangelical College in Israel, spoke with EthicsDaily.com at length on several topics.
He explained how global Baptists can help Christians in Israel, ways Christians can be peacemakers, what it is like being a religious minority and his experience growing up in Nazareth as a Palestinian.
Additional videos include:
- Peter Chin, senior pastor of the Global Mission Church in South Korea, discussing the speed of South Korea’s Internet compared to that of the U.S.
- David Washburn, treasurer of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, reflecting on his experiences at the Congress.
- A dialogue in Dubai en route to Durban between Robert Parham and EthicsDaily.com contributing editor Brian Kaylor on Baptist-Muslim relationships.
- A Skype interview with Joel Gregory, who holds the George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University, focusing on the significance of global Baptists gathering in South Africa for the Congress.
- A Skype interview with Michael Okwakol, president of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship, discussing challenges faced by African churches and welcoming global Baptists to the Congress.