Baptist World Alliance

From Academic Kids

The Baptist World Alliance was formed in 1905 at Exeter Hall in London, England 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 of 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 "...meet 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 18 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; Beunos Aires, 1995; and Melbourne, 2000. The centennial 19th Baptist World Congress is proposed to meet in Birmingham, England in 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, 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 (2000-2005) of the BWA is Billy Jang Hwan Kim of Korea.

Several conservative and separatist Baptist groups remain aloof from the Baptist World Alliance. On June 15th, 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention voted to quit the Baptist World Alliance.

External links

Sources

  • Baptist World Fellowship, by F. Townley Lord
  • Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
  • Dictionary of Baptists in America, Bill J. Leonard, editorde:Baptistischer Weltbund
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