IBTS research interests are defined by three broad intersecting fields of Baptist Identity, Mission and Practical Theology. We often summarise these as Identity, Mission, and Practice.
Our research into Baptist identity explores aspects of key convictions and practices that characterise the Baptist movement and Free Churches in general. This research takes into account both social and historical contexts where these traditions developed as well as theological realities. The ongoing Radical Reformation tradition is an important conversation partner in this process. Besides the western dimension, attention is paid to the baptistic story in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The academic discipline of missiology reflects on the theology and practice of Christian mission. Recurring key questions in research in mission studies include: What does it mean to read the Bible missionally? How do we approach researching the history of mission in a given context, especially investigating Baptist roots in different countries and regions of Europe? What are the theological and practical challenges in Christian mission in particular contexts today? How do we engage with the other, created already in the image and likeness of God?
Practical theology is a growing field of research which explores and reflects theologically on a wide variety of matters in church and society. Research often focuses on the lived experience of people in everyday situations and their testimony of God. Practical theology is concerned with questions about transformation and how the church in its mission might participate with God to be ‘good news’ in the world. In addition to formal theological sources, this approach to research draws creatively from other fields such as the social sciences, psychology, and education.