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Baptist identity to be addressed at conference

JACKSON, Tenn.Dec. 9, 2003 – The impact of post-denominationalism on Baptist identity will be the focus of a national conference hosted by Union University and sponsored by the university's Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership and the R.G. Lee Center for Christian Ministry.

The conference will be held on Union's main campus in Jackson, Tenn., April 5-6, 2004.

"Baptist Identity -- Is there a future?" is the theme of what Union president David S. Dockery said will likely be a shaping conference for the coming decades of Baptist life.

"In a time of confusion and transition in denominations across North America, it is an important time to once again ask questions about what it means to be a Baptist," Dockery said. "Why are we Baptists? Why do we believe what we do and practice what we practice? Why don't we believe and practice what other traditions do? It is imperative that we ask and seek answers for these vital questions at the beginning of this century."

Among the scheduled speakers are Dockery, Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee; James Leo Garrett Jr., distinguished professor of theology emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Stan Norman, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Gregory A. Willis, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Sam Shaw, pastor of Germantown Baptist Church (Tenn.).

"When you say, 'I'm a Southern Baptist,' what precisely do you mean?" Chapman asked. "Many Southern Baptists can testify readily to the firm foundation of their biblical faith. Others may not have had the opportunity or inclination to learn the deeper doctrinal truths of God's Word. Regardless, the Baptist identity conference is an incredible event designed for Southern Baptist pastors and people who wish to deepen their understanding of the tenants of our biblical beliefs."

Topics to be discussed include whether Southern Baptists are in danger of losing their identity from the perspectives of historians and theologians; new dimensions in Baptist church leadership; and specific matters distinctive of Baptist theology.

For registration information, contact the university at 731-661-5160 or register online at www.uu.edu/events/baptistidentity.

Media contact: Todd Starnes, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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