Curtis W. Freeman , director of the Baptist House of Studies and a research professor of theology at Duke Divinity School, is participating in the latest round of discussions between the Baptist World Alliance (BWA)  and the Vatican on Dec. 13-19 in Rome, Italy.
A member of the BWA team, Freeman will make a presentation on Baptist ecclesiology during this fourth round in the second series of theological conversations between the Baptist organization and the Vatican. The topic of this round of dialogue is “Oversight and Primacy in the Ministry of the Church.”
“Two years ago, our delegation of Catholics and Baptists had an audience with Benedict XVI,” Freeman said. “When he greeted me personally, he spoke with great warmth and affection for Duke Divinity School. It’s an honor to represent the Baptists and the Divinity School in responding to Jesus’ prayer that all those who would believe in Him might be one and that our unity would be a witness to the incarnate Truth.”
The talks between BWA and the Vatican council  have several aims, including increasing mutual understanding, appreciation, and Christian charity toward each other; and encouraging collaborative action on ethical issues, including justice, peace, and the sanctity of life.
These discussions are being held in five rounds from 2006-2010 and focus on the theme, “The Word of God in the Life of the Church: Scripture, Tradition and Koinonia.” Duke Divinity School hosted the round of discussions in December 2008.
BWA is a fellowship of 214 Baptist conventions and unions comprising a membership of more than 37 million baptized believers and a community of 105 million. The Vatican council is responsible for ecumenical dialogue and relations with other Christian churches.