I don't understand what the point of these meetings are. Both parties are walking in with the intent that they are right and the other party is wrong, and one must convert to the other. So what is the point?
Orthodoxy has no interest in becoming Baptist or Pentacostal, so what is the point?
This is not always the case. Not all ecumenical dialogues are for the expressed purpose of "converting each other" but rather being a witness to each other and their expression of faith in Christ, toward a common purpose of reunification. That doesn't mean that they're there to convert people.
It may not always be the case, but when you are dealing with certain groups.....then I feel it is the case.
I think part of the confusion when we are talking about these things are two points.
1. have you engaged in any kind of ecumenical dialogue yourself?
2. Have you ever read the minutes, statements, or gotten deep into the discussions that would be considered "ecumenical dialogue". For example, have you read the minutes and statements of the WCC, or even this baptist-orthodox discussion?
These questions are important because when we are basing our opinions on conjecture, it can tend to get pretty dicey.
What are these "points of tension" which are being discussed? Could they include the resentment of Orthodox Christians in traditionally Orthodox Christian countries of having heterodox missionaries in their midst?
I think I know what one of them is.
I am not cradle Orthodox. In fact, most of my life was spent as a Baptist. Some years ago, my church was part of a missionary effort to Bulgaria. During planning, preparation, and execution of that mission, typically the Bulgarian Orthodox Church wasn't even considered. Many probably were unaware of its existence, ignorantly assuming that there was no existing church in formerly communist countries. When Orthodoxy did come up, it was always considered to be part of the problem.
I don't intend to paint with too broad a brush. But the Baptists with whom I used to worship considered Orthodox Christians to be just as lost as the unchurched. Their mission trips were systematically and deliberately aimed at converting Orthodox just as much as converting atheists and everyone else.
I can see how that might be a point of tension.
What certain Baptists FEEL and what is the teaching of their church are two different things. Permutations of baptist theology in their churches is probably not the best. But what about orthodoxy? How many churches you know actually LIVE an orthodox life? They live the life of Christ as orthodoxy has taught and historically lived? Yet we expect the baptists to live based on their actual theological statements and beliefs? Seems ironic to me.
I would challenge all of you to do some homework and get deep into baptist theology and see what it is that they REALLY believe. I think you would be surprised to see that THEOLOGICALLY speaking, we have a lot more in common than some may think. This is my challenge.
I was raised Baptist, and that was the only reason why I said what I said. I shouldn't have to re-study what I already know. Now I may not know every Baptist denomination on the planet, but I do know a good bit about Baptist theology and history in general. Outside of a few basic stuff of adult baptism, full immersion, and congregational church government (for most baptist groups).
Outside of that, a good number of them can be split in three or four theological camps.
4-point Calvinist primative Baptist
For Some African American Baptist churches you may have liberation theology.
Now do we have things in common? Yes, and depending on what Baptist group we are talking about will depend how much we may or may not have in common.
P.S. "I am still good friends with alot of Baptists, and I still know alot of Baptists as well......at least in America(both black and white Baptists)"