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Believers’ baptism provides a theme for The Ecumenical Review

15 October 2015

“A Dialogue on Believers’ Baptism” provides the focus for the October 2015 issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The volume develops presentations made at a January consultation in Kingston, Jamaica where representatives of Christian traditions that practice baptism of believers, rather than infant baptism, engaged in the first ecumenical dialogue among themselves on the subject of this sacrament.

Guest editor Dagmar Heller, a faculty member of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland and staff to the Faith and Order commission of the WCC, coordinated the consultation and the publication of papers by ten scholars and church leaders from such Christian bodies as the Baptist World Alliance, the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite communities in Europe and the Americas, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Heller and Cambridge University professor-emeritus David M. Thompson offer overviews of the issues involved and differences among churches practicing believers’ baptism.

Heller writes, “Ecumenically important is the observation that in some churches that practice believers’ baptism, one can find a ‘growing acceptance…within the process of Christian initiation of a place for infant baptism’. The ‘new insights’ mentioned in the report may well lead to further reflections within churches practicing believers’ baptism, but it also includes an invitation to ‘all churches within the ecumenical movement’ to consider various questions.”

She adds, “The publication of these papers is meant to motivate a new and wider discussion on baptism between churches that practice infant baptism and those that practice believers’ baptism.”