2004: Seoul, South Korea

The commission met in Seoul, South Korea, during the BWA’s Annual Gathering from July 27-30, 2004.

Session 1

Commission members in Seoul

Commission members in Seoul

Tuesday 27 July 6.00-7.00pm

This was a short session that preceded the welcome dinner from the people of Seoul. It was attended by Ken Manley (Australia), Dick Pierard (USA), Veronica Rae (South Africa), Bill Slack (Scotland), Grigoriy Komendant (Ukraine), Noel Vose (Australia), Saw Law (Myanmar), K D Tu Lum (Myanmar), Terry Hamrick (USA), Keith Jobberns (Australia), Zelhou Keyho (India), Stephen Stookey (USA), David Parker (Australia), Zelijko Mraz (Croatia), Noah Moses Israel (South Africa), Chuck Weber (USA) and Geoff Pound (Australia)

Our chairperson of the Commission welcomed members and friends to Seoul. After an opening devotions Noah Moses Israel, President of the Baptist Association of South Africa gave a fascinating paper entitled, John Rangiah and a Century of Indian Baptist Work in Africa (1903-2003). Read this paper.


Session 2

Wednesday 28 July 7.00-9.00pm

Those attending this session included Zelijko Mraz (Croatia), K D Tu Lum (Myanmar), Russell Dilday (USA), Ken Manley (Australia), Grigoriy Komendant (Ukraine), Noel Vose (Australia), Bill Slack (Scotland), Dick Pierard (USA), Bill Slack (Scotland), Grigoriy Komendant (Ukraine), Noel Vose (Australia), Saw Law (Myanmar), K D Tu Lum (Myanmar), Zelhou Keyho (India), Stephen Stookey (USA), David Parker (Australia), Noah Moses Israel (South Africa), Thomas Corts (USA), Bernard Spooner (USA), Jere Allen (USA), Luai Chinthang, M C Ko (South Korea), John Walling, James A Scott (USA), Craig Sherouse (USA), Fausto Vasconcelos (Brazil), Chuck Weber (USA) and Geoff Pound (Australia).

Chuck Weber chaired this session in which David Parker, our web master, introduced us to the innovations on the BWA Heritage & Identity web site. David gave us a visual and hands on tour of our site, explaining that it was intended to be basic rather than furnished with all the bells and whistles. It is a site developed for the Melbourne Congress in 2005 but deemed to have a continuing role in informing members and interested Baptists around the world.

Study & Research Director of BWA, Tony Cupit, introduced his new book Stars Lighting Up The Sky. He summarised several of the stories of these unsung heroes and told how in sharing a story or two in a sermon, was encouraged to collect up a number of others and publish these in a book. This book is available from the BWA. You may wish to purchase your copies at the Congress and get Tony and as many of the people who ‘star’ in the book that are present in Birmingham, to sign your book/s. The Christian Education Workshop has purchased 500 copies of the book to share with others.

Dick Pierard spoke about the forthcoming BWA centennial book saying it is coming up well. It is chronological in sequence, a multi-scholared work and one with a rich international flavour (of the 11 writers, six are from different countries). Dick spoke of the editing work in which a team of three are reading every chapter and suggesting changes to get a sense of integration and coherence. Dick was thanked for the valuable work he is coordinating.

The main address for this session was given by Rev Dr Luai Chin Thang and was entitled, Being Baptist in India: A Perspective from the Evangelical Baptists of Manipur. Read this paper.


Session 3

Thursday 29 July 7.00-9.00pm

This Thursday session was attended by the following people: Zelijko Mraz (Croatia), K D Tu Lum (Myanmar), Russell Dilday (USA), Bill Slack (Scotland), Dick Pierard (USA), Bill Slack (Scotland), K D Tu Lum (Myanmar), Apo Rageci (Fiji), David Parker (Australia), Noah Moses Israel (South Africa), Thomas Corts (USA), Bernard Spooner (USA), Jere Allen (USA), Luai Chinthang, M C Ko (South Korea), James A Scott (USA), Craig Sherouse (USA), Linda Petrie (USA), Lou Petrie (USA), Ken Manley (Australia), Chuck Weber (USA) and Geoff Pound (Australia).

Vice-chair, Zelijko Mraz, welcomed people and led in prayer. The session has a distinctly Aussie flavour.

Geoff Pound, secretary of the BWA Heritage & Identity Commission and Principal of Whitley College in Melbourne gave the first paper, The Life & Ministry of Australian Baptist, F W Boreham. Read this paper.

David Parker, member of the commission, web master and consultant theologian gave the second paper, Striving for the Mastery-The Evolution of a Post-Modern Baptist Church in Queensland, Australia. Read this paper.


Session 4

Friday 30 July 2.00-4.00pm

The final session took a different format and was an open forum on the theme, Baptist Identity in Light of Recent Events. Approximately twenty-five people attended (we did not take an attendance record) and enjoyed a conversation on issues to do with Baptist life and identity in the light of the withdrawal of the Southern Baptist Convention from the BWA.

BWA HIC group discussion
Dick Pierard concluded this session with informal reflections based on a paper entitled, Baptist Historiography in the New Century: What themes should we be addressing? (This paper was presented at the Fellowship of Baptist Historians in Vancouver, Washington, 27 May 2004, and will appear in Baptist History and Heritage, the journal of the Baptist History and Heritage Society.  Read this paper.

The session concluded with thanks to those who gathered at this session and the other sessions in Seoul. Thanks was expressed by Tony Cupit to Chuck Weber for his fine leadership of the commission during this quinquennium.



During the week, various resources of interest to Baptist historians and others were mentioned.

A festschrift for Erich Geldbach, a longtime supporter of the BWA, was published in February 2004 on the occasion of his retirement from the chair of Ecumenics and Confessional Studies at the University of Bochum in Germany. Edited by Lena Lybaek, Konrad Raiser, and Stefanie Schardien, it is entitled Gemeinschaft der Kirchen und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung: Die Wuerde des Anderen und das Recht anders zu denken, it was a release of the distinguished academic publisher Lit Verlag in Muenster. Among the 50 contributors to the work are several people involved in BWA life, including Paul S. Fiddes, William H. Brackney, Ken Manley, Richard Pierard, James Leo Garrett, Jr., Keith Clements, Thorwald Lorenzen, Glenn Hinson, and Denton Lotz.

The controversy surrounding Dr Geldbach’s appointment as a Baptist to the theological faculty at Bochum is examined in Charles McDaniel and Richard V. Pierard, “The Politics of Appointments to Protestant Theological Faculties in Germany: The Case of Professor Erich Geldbach,” Journal of Church and State 46 (Winter 2004), 55-82.

Copies of Dr Richard V. Pierard’s paper to the Third International Congress on Baptist Studies, Prague, Czech Republic, 19 July, 2003, Missions and Baptist Identity were also available.

Geoff Pound
Secretary, BWA Baptist Heritage & Identity Commission