Baptists, Anglicans to Begin Talks in Ernest

Article excerpt

World-scale talks between Anglicans and Baptists have been a long time in coming -- more than 400 years by some leadership estimates from both communions.

But the talks will begin early in the third millennium, and are likely to last at least a decade or two.

The two bodies to be involved are the Anglican Consultative Council and the Baptist World Alliance.

The decision to move ahead was announced by David Harold, the Anglican Council's general secretary, and a Canadian, and John Peterson, Church of England general secretary, along with the alliance's general secretary Denton Lotz and research and study director Tony Cupit

One Canadian Baptist who will watch progress on the talks with interest is William Brackney, principal of McMaster Divinity College.

And he notes that during his McMaster tenure, he has observed -- and to some extent, participated in -- some carefully-crafted joint Anglican-Baptist initiatives.

His most direct involvement has been with respect to Wycliffe Cortege and McMaster, where cross-appointments, shared events and course cooperation have been the order of the day.

But he points out, as wen, that the growing co-operative relationship between St. Patti's (Bloor Street) -- just metres from the Anglican national office -- and Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, has created some models being observed with interest in other parts of Canada.

B+oth instances cited by Dr. Brackney relate to Anglicanism's evangelical wing. And Canon Harold notes that the Baptist-Anglican conversations are expected to reflect and serve the whole of Anglicanism.

He predicted that the talks should be well under way by some time in 2000, noting that the first will involve the recounting of Anglican-Baptist experiences worldwide. That would continue for two to five years, then they would move into areas of practice and theology.

For Baptists, the dynamics for dialogue are a bit different from those affecting Anglicans. Dr. Brackney has been involved in what might best be described as the "re-evangelicalizing" of McMaster.

The changes at McMaster brought the school into line with the increasingly-evangelical emphasis in Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec churches, long noted as being the most liberal-leaning of all Canadian Baptist entities. …