Baptist World Alliance

Baptist World Alliance

The Baptist World Alliance is a worldwide alliance of Baptist churches and organizations, formed in 1905 at Exeter Hall in London during the first "Baptist World Congress".

John Newton Prestridge, editor of "The Baptist Argus", at Louisville, Kentucky, in his publication in 1904, called for a world gathering of Baptists. John Howard Shakespeare, editor of "The Baptist Times and Freeman", London, endorsed the proposal. In October of 1904, the Baptist Union of Great Britain passed a resolution to invite a Congress to meet with them in July 1905. At the Congress, a committee was formed, which proposed a Constitution for a World Alliance. A Constitution was adopted, containing the following preamble: "Whereas, in the providence of God, the time has come when it seems fitting more fully to manifest the essential oneness in the Lord Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour of the Churches of the Baptist order and faith throughout the world, and to promote the spirit of fellowship, service and co-operation among them, while recognizing the independence of each particular church and not assuming the functions of any existing organization, it is agreed to form a Baptist World Alliance, extending over every part of the world." Membership was opened to "Any general Union, Convention or Association of Baptist Churches..." and it was decided that the Alliance would " in general assembly ordinarily once in five years, unless otherwise determined by the Executive Committee..." Three leading personalities involved in the organisation included Prestridge, Shakespeare and Alexander MacLaren (who served as provisional President).

The meetings of the Alliance are called "Congresses." World conflicts made it impossible to hold to a strict five-year plan, but 19 Congresses have been held, London, 1905; Philadelphia, 1911; Stockholm, 1923; Toronto, 1928; Berlin, 1934; Atlanta, 1939; Copenhagen, 1947; Cleveland, 1950; London, 1955; Rio de Janeiro, 1960; Miami Beach, 1965; Tokyo, 1970; Stockholm, 1975; Toronto, 1980; Los Angeles, 1985; Seoul, 1990; Buenos Aires, 1995; Melbourne, 2000; and Birmingham, England, 2005.

Currently the Baptist World Alliance serves as a global fellowship of Baptists, uniting 210 Baptist groups that they claim represent over 47 million baptized believers in more than 200 countries. The goals of the BWA are to: "(1) To Unite Baptists Worldwide; (2) To Lead in World Evangelization; (3) To Respond to People in Need; and (4) To Defend Human Rights." Organisationally, the Alliance is divided into six regional or geographical fellowships: North American Baptist Fellowship, Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (formerly Asian Baptist Federation), All-Africa Baptist Fellowship, Caribbean Baptist Fellowship, Union of Baptists in Latin America, and European Baptist Federation. Each regional fellowship is served by an Executive Secretary.

The current president (2005-2010) of the BWA is David Coffey of Great Britain. Former presidents include:
*Billy Kim of South Korea (2000-2005)
*Nilson Do Amaral Fanini of Brazil (1995-2000)
*Knud Wumpleman of Denmark (1990-1995)
*Noel Vose of Australia (1985-1990)
*Duke Kimbrough McCall of the United States (1980-1985)
*David Wong (1975-1980)
*William R. Tolbert, Jr. of Liberia (1965-1970)
*Joao Filson Soren of Brazil (1960-1965)
*Theodore Floyd Adams of the United States (1955-1960)
*Fred Townley Lord of Great Britain (1950-1955)
*Charles Oscar Johnson of the United States (1947-1950)
*James Henry Rushbrooke of Great Britain (1939-1947)
*George Washington Truett of the United States (1934-1939)
*John MacNeill of Canada (1928-1934)
*Edgar Young Mullins of the United States (1923-1928)
*Robert Stuart MacArthur of the United States (1911-1923)
*John Clifford of Great Britain (1905-1911)

Several conservative and separatist Baptist groups are not members of the Baptist World Alliance.On June 15, 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention voted to quit the Baptist World Alliance.

During March 2007 Neville Callam of Jamaica was nominated to be the next General Secetary of the Baptist World Alliance, and was subsequently elected by the General Council of BWA in July 2007 at a meeting of the Council in Accra, Ghana. Rev. Callam succeeds Denton Lotz who will retire December 31, 2007.


*"Baptist World Fellowship", by F. Townley Lord
*"Baptists Around the World", by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
*"Dictionary of Baptists in America", Bill J. Leonard, editor

External links

* [ Baptist World Alliance Official Site]
* [ BWA Centenary Congress, 2005]
* [ Heritage and Identity Commission]

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