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


History

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 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 "...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 BWA has held 19 Congresses: 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.

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

Organizational Structure

Currently, the Baptist World Alliance brings together 210 Baptist groups representing over 47 million baptized believers in more than 200 countries. The group's stated goals 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."

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.

Leadership

The current president (2005-2010) of the BWA is David Coffey (United Kingdom). The past presidents are:Billy Kim (South Korea 2000-05), Nilson Do Amaral Fanini (Brazil 1995-2000), Knud Wumpleman(Denmark 1990-95), Noel Vose (Australia 1985-90), Duke Kimbrough McCall (United States 1980-85), David Wong (1975-1980), Carney Hargroves (United States 1970-75), William R. Tolbert, Jr. (Liberia 1965-70), Joao Filson Soren (Brazil 1960-65), Theodore Floyd Adams (United States 1955-60), Fred Townley Lord (United Kingdom 1950-55), Charles Oscar Johnson (United States 1947-50), James Henry Rushbrooke (United Kingdom 1939-47), George Washington Truett (United States 1934-39), John MacNeill (Canada 1928-34), Edgar Young Mullins (United States 1923-28), Robert Stuart MacArthur (United States 1911-23), John Clifford (United Kingdom 1905-11),

In July 2007, the General Council elected Neville Callam of Jamaica to succeed Denton Lotz as General Secetary of the Baptist World Alliance. Lotz retired on December 31, 2007.

Ecumenical relations

The Baptist World Alliance maintains ecumenical relations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. One series of International Conversations between the BWA and the Catholic Church took place from between 1984 and 1988 moderated by the Reverend Dr David T. Shannon, sometime President of Andover Newton Theological Schoolmarker, and the Most Reverend Bede Heather, Bishop of Parramatta. In 2000 and 2001 preliminary consultations for a second series of conversations were held, leading to formal meetings between 2006 and 2010. The current Co-Moderators are the Reverend Paul Fiddes, DD, Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxfordmarker and formerly Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxfordmarker, and The Most Reverend Dr Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson.

References



External links




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