Southern Baptist-Roman Catholic Conversation Finishes Bible Report

September 13, 1999 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (September 13, 1999) -- After four years of study, the Southern Baptist-Roman Catholic Conversation has finished its report on the Bible. The report, which will be available before the end of the year, includes an account of the discussions and a summary of areas of common faith about the Bible, points of difference, and issues for further exploration. It covers such matters as revelation, inspiration,the authority of the Bible, inerrancy, infallibility, the nature and significance of historical-critical method, and definitions of fundamentalism, literalism, and historicity.

The conversation is co-chaired by Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of Lexington, KY, and Dr. Philip Roberts, Vice-President, North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Atlanta. The meeting was held at the Centro Maria here, September 9-11.

Brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC, of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), said the report will help to dispel erroneous perceptions that Southern Baptists and Catholic have of each other. "It should also lay the commonground for witness together, and help those already engaged in Bible study in local situations," he said.

The major part of the meeting was spent discussing the current theme ofthe discussion: soteriology--how Baptists and Catholics understand our salvation in Jesus Christ. The conversation developed from materials prepared by Dr. Albert Mohler, President, Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, and Father Stephen Duffy, Religious Studies Department, Loyola University, New Orleans. The issues of justification, conversion, assurance of salvation, and original sin were among the topics in which agreements and differences were explored together.

The Conversation was hosted to a luncheon by Father David O'Connell, President of the Catholic University of America, with faculty of the School of Religious Studies.

The next meeting will be hosted by Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Wake Forest Southern Baptist Seminary.