BWA responds to Muslim letterby Kevin Butler
(Report by Eron Henry, BWA, Washington)
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has issued a formal response to “A Common Word Between Us and You,” a letter written by 138 Muslim leaders and scholars that appealed for Christians and Muslims to cooperate in engendering peace and religious freedom.
Upon receipt of the letter--dated October 13, 2007, and sent to 27 named world Christian leaders, including BWA President David Coffey--BWA leaders welcomed the letter and indicated that the BWA would make an official response after consultation with Baptists from around the world.
Coffey, in a personal response said, “I welcome the letter from the Muslim scholars and leaders and commend it as a groundbreaking initiative which could make a major contribution to a better understanding in Christian-Muslim relations, the cause of religious liberty and global peace.”
In preparation of the formal response, BWA General Secretary Neville Callam sought comments from Baptist scholars and leaders, including those living in countries with a Muslim majority, regarding how the BWA might respond to the letter.
Coffey and Callam sent the BWA response to Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad Bin Talal of Jordan, President of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, on December 19, 2008. In their letter to the Prince, the BWA leaders said, “We have listened carefully to a wide range of responses from our diverse Baptist family, and taken into account the views of our friends and colleagues in other Christian traditions, and believe that this response reflects the mainstream of Baptist thought on the important issues you raised in ‘A Common Word.’”
“As Baptists, we are aware of the need for better understanding between Christians and Muslims and our response represents an effort to give expression to this commitment,” wrote Coffey and Callam.
The formal response to “A Common Word Between Us and You” is available on the BWA website here.