I add below excerpts from a recent article on Baptist ecumenical efforts published by ABP:
The Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity exists to promote greater understanding with other Christian communions about Baptist distinctives such as believer’s baptism, religious liberty, mission and evangelism. Interfaith talks also advocate for Baptists in the world who are oppressed by a dominant church and seek areas of possible cooperation.
The ultimate goal, according to a position paper, is to seek to fulfill Christ’s prayer in John 17 that his followers “might all be one” in order that the world might believe.
BWA leaders acknowledge there are drawbacks and risks to such dialogue. They take a lot of time and resources. They do not always achieve their potential, and sometimes they alienate Baptists who are opposed to ecumenical contact either in general or with a particular group for reasons of theology and history.
On balance, however, BWA leaders say ecumenical conversations are important because they “decrease tension, develop trust and minimize misunderstanding between believers in Jesus as the Christ, Son of the living God.”
“It is important to meet and talk with Christian communities to better understand the similarities and differences and to explore areas where Christians can agree to be in fellowship and to cooperate together,” the program description explains. “Such meetings have the added value of helping to strengthen the situation of small, minority Baptist communities in certain parts of the world as the theology and history of the Baptist movement is explained.”
Another team led by George and Callam along with European Baptist scholars will meet with representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Crete in November to discuss the possibility of future talks.
“Pre-conversations” with the Ecumencial Patriarchate, head of the Eastern Orthodox Communion, took place in the 1990s. In 2009 the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic, was host to a conference aimed at increased understanding between Baptist and Orthodox believers.
Parush Parushev, academic dean at IBTS who spearheaded that effort, is one of the four team members assigned to explore further dialogue. Paul Fiddes, professor of systematic theology in the University of Oxford and formerly principal of Regents Park College in the United Kingdom, is the other member.