August 4, 2009

Baptists and Transformation

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

Baptists have had a long history in transforming lives and society.

William Brackney, Director of the Acadia Centre for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies in Nova Scotia, Canada, recounted the transformative work of Baptists over the past 400 years, beginning with Baptist pioneers John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, the founders of the first Baptist church in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1609, and their quest for the liberty of conscience and worship.

Baptist missionaries such as Adoniram Judson to Burma, William Carey to India, Johann Gerhard Oncken to continental Europe, Lott Carey to Liberia, and others, have helped to transform lives and these societies in profound ways, oftentimes in the face of great challenges, such as the 17-month imprisonment of Judson by the Burmese.

Transformative work has also been done by Baptists in opposition to slavery by their involvement in the emancipation and abolitionist movements.

Brackney, who was speaking at a forum on Tuesday, July 28, during the Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering being held in Ede, Netherlands, said Baptists need to do more to counter a modern-day scourge - human trafficking. Stating that more than 12 million people are believed to be victims of the commerce of human beings for the sex trade, forced labor, and other activities, Brackney declared that this is one problem the Baptist family needs to give its attention to.

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