Wake Forest international conference to reflect on Baptist studies

Baptist scholars will travel to Wake Forest University from around the world in July to reflect on Baptist thought in the 20th century during the Second International Conference on Baptist Studies.

Titled “Baptists in the 20th Century: A Retrospective,” the conference will be held July 19 through 22. Worship services, lectures and scholarly paper presentations are free and open to the public. The conference will take place in Wait Chapel and the adjoining Wingate Hall.

“The celebration is meant to bring together Wake Forest Divinity School students and faculty, along with national and international Baptist scholars to discuss what impact Baptists have had on our world during the 20th century,” said Wake Forest Divinity School Dean Bill J. Leonard, one of the event’s organizers.

Including the United States, the conference is expected to draw Baptist scholars from nations worldwide, including Norway, New Zealand, Columbia and South Africa. Papers presented will address Baptist issues in North America, the Other Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

“I believe the conference will be a way of linking Baptists in the United States to Baptists around the world,” said Leonard.

Pastor Emeritus Gardner Taylor of Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., will deliver the keynote address, “A Benediction for Baptists,” at 8 p.m. on July 19 in Wait Chapel. Taylor’s address will kick off the program.

“He is a dean among Baptist preachers in the United States and has written extensively on preaching and pastoral ministry,” Leonard said. Taylor was a leader in the founding of the Progressive National Baptist Convention and a longtime colleague of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

James M. Dunn, visiting professor of Christianity and public policy at the Wake Forest Divinity School, will deliver a keynote address, as well, at 8 p.m. on July 20 in Wait Chapel. His address is titled, “Soul Freedom: Baptist Battle Cry.”

Conference organizers include Ian Randall of Spurgeon’s College in London and the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, David Bebbington of the University of Stirling in Scotland, and Dean Leonard of the Wake Forest Divinity School. The divinity school is hosting the conference, in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Historical Society, the Alliance of Baptists, and numerous Winston-Salem Baptist churches.

For more information, call the Wake Forest Divinity School at 336-758-3957.

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