Callam book to be launched


Judson Press, the publishing arm of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, will publish the latest book by Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam.

From Fragmentation to Wholeness: Race, Ethnicity, and Communion, is being launched in July in time for the BWA Annual Gathering, held July 2-7 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The book examines the impact that race and ethnicity have on divisions in the church. It shows how the Lord’s Supper provides a rationale for overcoming such divisions. The shared identity of Christians through fellowship in the body of Christ opens doors for unity and inclusion in the Christian community.

Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, said the book “is an urgently needed volume of profound reflection on the untapped power of Holy Communion as a force for reconciliation, healing and wholeness in the church and community.”

Haggray, a member of the BWA General Council and the BWA Human Resources Committee, stated that “rarely in recent Baptist life has a global leader of Callam’s distinction and intellect blended this peculiar caliber of theological, pastoral, ecumenical and activist reflection into such an informative, compelling and accessible treatise. The church now has a fascinating new resource to accelerate our mission reach into the world.”

Callam, a Jamaican, was elected general secretary and chief executive officer of the BWA in Accra, Ghana, in July 2007. He was the first Black person and the first person who is neither an American nor European to hold the position in the international global organization for Baptists, founded in 1905.

He retires in December 2017.

Callam’s previous books include Pursuing Unity and Defending Rights: The Baptist World Alliance at Work and Deciding Responsibly: Moral Dimensions Of Human Action.

The book will be available at the BWA Annual Gathering in Bangkok.

For further information, contact Linda Johnson-LeBlanc, Marketing Director, Judson Press, 610-768-2458, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baptist World Alliance®
©May 18, 2017



Seminar on crisis management at Baptist global gathering in Thailand

A crisis management and communication training seminar will be held during the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Annual Gathering, which will be in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 2-7.

It will be open to all those attending the Gathering.

Crises faced by churches may stem from natural episodes such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes; or reputational events such as scandal, litigation or conflict.

Participants will learn about understanding crisis, the stages of a crisis, and the dos and don’ts of crisis communication.

The session will explore how to conduct a threat assessment and the basic principles to be applied in the event of a crisis.

There will be guidance on putting a crisis team together, gathering and disseminating information and determining stakeholders.

The BWA Annual Gathering brings together Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives from more than 50 countries for worship, fellowship, study and theological reflection, and decision meetings.

Baptist World Alliance®
©May 8, 2016

BWA supports creation of faculty chair in Netherlands

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has endorsed the decision of the Baptist Union of the Netherlands (BUN) to create the McClendon Chair at the Free University in Amsterdam.  The BWA Executive Committee meeting in early March also agreed to co-sponsor the establishment of the chair.

The BUN received clearance for a chair on Baptist History, Identity and Theology at the university in April 2009.

The chair is being established in collaboration with Free University and the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC), both located in Amsterdam.

The invested chair will be known as the McClendon Chair for Baptistic and Evangelical Theologies. “This chair, being rooted in the Free Church tradition, can stimulate and supervise research on historical, ecclesiological and missional questions,” BUN explained.

It is named after James McClendon, Jr., an outstanding Baptist theologian and ethicist from the United States who taught at several theological institutions. He helped found what became known as the narrative theology movement in the late 1960s.

“His three volumes on systematic theology exhibit profound knowledge of European and American theology, as it specifically revolves around the retrieval of the baptistic tradition,” BUN said.

“McClendon’s theology proves even more beneficial and relevant than decades before, because in the present demise of grand narrative of the church, Christian life should be spoken of in terms of diaspora ecclesiology.”

Contributions to the McClendon Chair may be made online at Online donors may write “McClendon Chair” in the comment section inside the donation system.

For check donations, persons should write “McClendon Chair” on the memo line. Checks may be sent to:|

Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

Baptist World Alliance®
©March 24, 2016


BWA has deep “ecclesial density”

Baptists groups utilize a variety of names to describe their groupings. They self-identify as unions, conventions, conferences, assemblies, associations, fellowships and councils.

Baptist World Alliance (BWA) General Secretary Neville Callam says these names “reflect the perplexing diversity that marks the Baptist family worldwide.”

Callam, who delivered the 2017 Willson-Addis Lecture at Baylor University in Texas in the United States in March, says “lurking behind these names are multiple ecclesiologies, but also the multiple cultures – diverse customs and traditions – found within the global Baptist family.”

He suggests that the BWA has had to negotiate the varied Baptist understandings and practices while forging a worldwide movement toward unity of Baptist Christians. The BWA has been careful to state, in its early formative documents, what it is not.

The BWA, for instance, “was not a body with supervisory powers over the churches”; it “was not authorized to exercise juridical power over individual churches and the unions and conventions they establish”; it “would not trample on the autonomy of its member bodies”; and it “would not compete with, or duplicate the work of, the churches forming it.”

But Callam insists that the “BWA is not a mere body of affinity. It is not simply a fellowship of likeminded persons…. Nor is the BWA merely a voluntary association of people claiming to share a common heritage.”

Rather, the BWA is “a fellowship or communion of churches… that exist in association with each other.” This association has “ecclesial density.”

The BWA provides “guardianship of congregational authority” while, at the same time, demonstrating and embodying “commitment to the furtherance of Baptist oneness.” Drawing on the works of Stanley Grenz and Paul Fiddes, Callam suggests that the groundwork exists for Baptists united in the BWA to adopt “a distinctively Baptist communion ecclesiology.”

This understanding of the church in communion terms is “strong enough to contain the variety of ways in which Baptist life is ordered” locally, nationally, regionally and globally. It is also dynamic enough to include relationships with church groups outside the BWA community.

The Willson-Addis Lecture at Truett Seminary, Baylor University, examines practical Christianity from a variety of perspectives within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Past lecturers included Philip Jenkins, Stanley Grenz, Ronald Sider and Diana Garland.

Baptist World Alliance®
©April 4, 2016


Anthony R. Cross to address special forum on baptism in Bangkok

Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Callam has announced that internationally recognized Baptist scholar, Anthony R. Cross, will be the presenter at a special forum on baptism that will be included in the program of the upcoming BWA Annual Gathering.

The Gathering, which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 2-7, brings together an international group of Baptist leaders, theologians, teachers, pastors and other representatives for worship, fellowship, study, theological reflection and decision-making.

Anthony R. Cross is adjunct supervisor at The International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

He is author of two highly regarded books. His Baptism and Baptists: Theology and Practice in Twentieth-Century Britain (2000) has been described by David Bebbington of the University of Sterling as placing “twentieth-century Baptist convictions about baptism clearly in their context, showing with particular force how they have been affected by ecumenical involvement.”

His Recovering the Evangelical Sacrament: Baptisma Semper Reformandum (2012) is “highly recommended” by Timothy George of Beeson Seminary, Samford University. George likens the book to Beasley-Murray’s classic on baptism in that its author “brings new insight to the indispensable role of Christian initiation in both personal faith and the life of the church.”

With Philip Thompson, Cross co-edited Baptist Sacramentalism (2003) and Baptist Sacramentalism 2 (2006). The former is described by Barry Harvey of Baylor University as “a must read for all those seeking to come to terms with the central role played by the sacraments in the life and mission of the church.” Paul Fiddes of Oxford University describes the latter as opening out “new thinking on sacraments for the present day, for the benefit of the whole Church of Christ.”

Cross is editor of Ecumenism and History: Studies in Honour of John H. Y. Briggs (2002). He is one of the editors responsible for Semper Reformandum: Studies in Honour of Clark H. Pinnock (2003), Baptist Identities (2005), Global Baptist History (2006), On Being the Church (2006) and Recycling the Past or Researching History? (2006).

Cross, who will deliver two lectures entitled “Baptism – Who Cares? Baptists and Baptism in Recent Thought” and “Saved through Baptism: A Sacramental Baptist View,” will explore recent developments in Baptist understanding and practice of baptism, vis-à-vis the biblical mandate. 

Admission to the lectures will be free to all participants in the Gathering as well as interested guests.

Correction: The following correction has been made to the story: "Anthony R. Cross is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford in England." Cross no longer holds this position. 

Baptist World Alliance®
©March 20, 2016