Neville Callam, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), encouraged European Baptists to adopt the principles of the Covenant on Intra-Baptist Relations affirmed by the BWA General Council in July.
Speaking at the meeting of the Council of the European Baptist Federation (EBF) in Bratislava, Slovakia, Callam reminded the delegates of the significant role Europe has played within the life of the worldwide Baptist movement expressed through the BWA.
He noted the rich cultural diversity that exists in the Baptist community in Europe and suggested that the EBF might wish to consider ways in which it could further apply the principles in the covenant in its ongoing effort to bring its internal diversity into conversation with its commitment to unity.
Callam presented a summary of the principles highlighted in the covenant and suggested that EBF commitment to institutional theological education through the International Baptist Theological Seminary is rich with examples of how diversity may help Christians discover a dynamic unity that is strong enough to fend off divisiveness and disunity.
Baptists, Callam said, should see themselves as “a family without a dominant group marked by a plethora of languages that does not lead to Babel.” In this family, “all cultural groups have an equal voice.”
There is the need, Callam said, for Baptists to receive one another and to consistently seek each other’s interest to the glory of God.
Reflecting the principles in the Covenant on Intra-Baptist Relations in Baptist life is impossible unless we acknowledge our humility and fallibility, he said.
“Following the Intra-Baptist Covenant, Baptist Christians will hold together the cultural diversity that marks the Baptist family within the bonds of a dynamic and compelling unity,” Callam said.
The Covenant on Intra-Baptist Relations is available on the BWA website in 22 languages. Baptists are encouraged to translate the covenant into their local language and to share the translation with the BWA office.
This news release first appeared at the Baptist World Alliance news page.