Baptist identity in ecumenical context : a critical exposition of the 1987 Statement on Baptist Principles of the Baptist Union of South Africa

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Baptist Identity In Ecumenical Context is, essentially, an exposition of the 1987 statement on Baptist Principles of the Baptist Union of South Africa. The Statement has had no critical reflection given it to date and therefore this study is a new contribution to the growing corpus of material on Baptist theology in South Africa. The thesis explains the identity of South African Baptists using the key word discipleship. Though not stated as such, the1987 Statement on Baptist Principles is an expression of discipleship. Discipleship is described and critically analysed in the thesis as community, its sign as baptism, ministry is discipleship expressed in society, and freedom is the term given to denote the focus on religious liberty and the separation of church from the state, as well as indicating the church's prophetic role. Drawing from the rich heritage of Anabaptist and English Baptist history and theology, and reflecting on other evangelical and ecumenical theological writings, the thesis shows the value of 'discipleship' as the motif for Baptists in the contemporary South African setting. The thesis invites South African Baptists to re-discover this motif both in the context of their own tradition and in their relations with other Christian churches.

Bibliography: pages 342-359.