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Baptist World Alliance

Heritage & Identity Commission

From     Honolulu  2010        to          Durban  2015

Santiago, Chile, July 2 - 7, 2012

The Heritage and Commission program at the 2012 Annual Gathering (see below) was attended by big numbers for most of the sessions - in fact, there was an overflow for some of the sessions, with people spilling into the area outside the meeting room. The local interest was very encouraging and the discussion and involvement of the audience in these sessions were inspiring.
It is planned to have the papers available soon, both in the original languages and in translation.
The final session was a first for the Commission with a live interview using Skype with the author of an important book on the history of Baptists in Latin America. It was introduced by BWA Vice-Chair, Dr Daniel Carro.
1. Wednesday, July 4, 2:00 – 4:30: Presenter, Professor Victor Aquilar, Chile, “The History of Baptists in Chile”. Click here for Spanish version - here for English version - of paper
This paper covered the origins of Baptist work in Chile which go back to 1821 with the arrival of the educator, Diego Thompson, German Baptists in the 1880s and a Scottish Baptist who in 1907 left the mission he was serving to form a Baptist church. A Baptist Union was established in 1908. A great deal of missionary support followed, but an urge towards local control resulted in the formation of a separate Chilean mission in the 1930s.

2. Thursday, July 5, 10:30 – 12:30: Presenter, Pastor Parrish Jacome, Ecuador, “A Latin American Baptist Identity” The chair for this session was Dr Cawley Bolt. (Click here for Spanish version of paper and here for English version.)
Pastor Jacome, recently elected as secretary of the Latin American Baptist region, presented a powerful and scholarly paper on Latin American Baptist identity, springing from the author’s long association. He discussed two axes, approaches and challenges, and set the Baptist cause within the framework of other movements in the area. He proposed that historical distinctive Baptist principles were important but needed to be understood and practiced within a new environment including the rapid growth of Christian work in the region and the ‘Latin Americanisation’ of Christian and other life. Baptist life was strengthening and Baptist identity was continually ‘under construction.’

3. Thursday, July 5, 5:00 – 7:30: Presenter, Dr. David Parker, Australia, “Mapping a 21st Century Global Baptist Identity, Part 2: Identifying the Baptist DNA”
David Parker presented a follow-up to his proposal last year,which involved analysing empirical data on Baptist life. He used statistical data from Australia (and elsewhere) as a sample of the methodology and supported it by references other material such as historical studies and church promotional material in an effort to determine the actual characteristics of Baptists today. Dr Timothy George from the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity visited briefly to provide an update on Baptist ecumenical dialogues. Read paper here

4. Friday, July 6, 5;00 – 7:30: Moderator, Dr. Craig Sherouse, U.S.A,
Part 1: Reflection on the book: An Evangelical Saga: Baptists and Their Predecessors in Latin America by Justice C. Anderson (Xulon Press, 2005) by Dr Daniel Carro and a presentation by the author, live by Skype. (Click here for Dr Carro’s paper)
Dr Carro explained the importance of Dr Justice Anderson’s pioneering history of Baptists in Latin America as the product of a thoughtful, devoted and passionate missionary historian.
Dr Anderson then appeared on the screen (via Skype) giving the background of his writing, and discussing the importance of the evangelical precursors of Baptists in Latin America.

Part 2: Commission Projects, Business and Discussion led by Dr C Sherouse.
Items of business included former projects, the program for the 2013 Annual Gathering sessions, contact with members, and on-going projects including Global Baptist identity and the short histories of Baptist groups for the website.
The Session concluded the meeting of the Commission for 2012 and it was agreed that all sessions had been interesting and highly successful with capacity attendance at some of them.
Note: Papers will be available on-line when available. Sessions 1 & 2 were presented in Spanish and translated. It is hoped papers in both languages will be available in time.

Additional Session: Members of the Heritage & Identity Commission were also able to attend a special “Roundtable” presented by the Freedom and Justice Commission on Thomas Helwys’s book, The Mystery of Iniquity. A paper was presented by Rev T Peck and three other panelists joined in a lively discussion to mark the 400th anniversary of the book.

Thomas Helwys - Unlikely prophet of universal religious freedom by Tony Peck, General Secretary, European Baptist Federation


L Rivera-Pagan, Puerto Rico

Related Session: Freedom and Justice Commissions - Religious Freedom

Dr. Oscar Garcia Pereira (Chile): About the Baptists and their Religious Freedom in Chile

Note: all papers © copyright by author - contact authors for more details