A group of fourteen Baptist historians that for nine years has been convening annually to study primary documents in Baptist history has released a statement entitled, "An Affirmation of Common Baptist Themes." The common themes are: sola Scriptura, freedom of conscience, believer's baptism, personal experience of God, priesthood of all believers, personal and communal devotion to God, the church as the body of Christ, local church autonomy, congregational polity, two ordinances (baptism and Lord's Supper), voluntary cooperation among churches, religious liberty, and the separation of church and state.
The historians declare, "We believe these themes are still relevant and should continue to inform our Baptist heritage and witness."
I am a member of this group, which was originally convened by Walter B. Shurden under the auspices of the former Mercer University's Center for Baptist Studies. From 2004 until last year, I worked with "Buddy" Shurden as the Associate Director of the Center, and after his retirment in 2007, served as the Interim Director of the Center. Currently, Loyd Allen of Mercer's McAfee School of Theology is in charge of convening the group.
The statement includes a listing of all fourteen historians, as well as their current professional affiliations.