Malaysia Baptist Convention
|Malaysia Baptist Convention|
Logo of the Malaysia Baptist Convention
|Associations||NECF, APBF, BWA|
|Branched from||Southern Baptist Convention|
|Separations||Reformed Baptist Churches Malaysia|
The Malaysia Baptist Convention (Malay: Perhimpunan Baptis Malaysia;MBC) is an association of Baptist churches in Malaysia. According to statistics provided by the Baptist World Alliance, 164 local congregations comprising 19,143 members are associated with the MBC.
- 1 History
- 2 Beliefs and practices
- 3 Affiliations
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
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The first Baptist churches in Malaysia were the result of the initiative of Baptist immigrants from Swatow, China. A key person during those early days was Mrs. Oh Hock Teck who helped establish the first Baptist church in Alor Setar, Kedah in 1938. Although Baptist work in Malaysia was initiated by Asians, missionaries from the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention played an important role in helping the new churches establish Baptist distinctives in teaching, polity and ministry.
Malaya Baptist Convention
On August 16, 1953, the Malaya Baptist Convention was organised comprising the following five churches as charter members :
- Oversea Chinese (Swatow) Baptist Church, Alor Setar, Kedah (now Alor Setar Baptist Church)
- Penang Baptist Church, Penang
- Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church, Kuala Lumpur
- Oversea Chinese (Cantonese) Baptist Church, Singapore (now Kay Poh Road Baptist Church)
- Oversea Chinese (Swatow) Baptist Church, Singapore (now Thomson Road Baptist Church)
Formation of Malaysia
The Malaya Baptist Convention became a member of the Baptist World Alliance in 1957 and continued growing steadily. With the establishment of the larger federation of Malaysia, the convention changed its name to the Malaysia Baptist Convention in 1964. The first edition of the bi-monthly MBC Newsletter was first published in 1966 and that year also saw the convention being formally registered as a society in Malaysia.
In May 1967, a Baptist from Hong Kong, Wong Chung, was appointed the first Secretary General of the MBC and later in the same year, in view of the changing political landscape due to Singapore leaving the Malaysian federation in 1965, the convention changed its name again to the Malaysia-Singapore Baptist Convention.
Autonomy of Singapore Baptists
On March 8, 1971 the Singapore Baptist Churches Fellowship was set up, becoming on December 28, 1974 the Singapore Baptist Convention. Following a formal separation of the Singapore Baptist Convention in 1975, the Malaysia-Singapore Baptist Convention reverted to its former name, the Malaysia Baptist Convention.
A national church established
From the time of its formation, membership in the MBC was limited primarily to churches in what was then Malaya (later West Malaysia) and Singapore. In 2005, the Sarawak Baptist Church joined the MBC and this was later followed by the 2006 affiliation of the Sabah Baptist Association making the MBC representative of Baptists throughout Malaysia for the first time.
Beliefs and practices
The theological positions of the MBC is contained in a Statement of faith adopted in its 1979 Annual Messengers' Conference  with articles similar to those adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in the latter's 1963 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message.
Similar to most Baptist and Protestant churches, the MBC accepts the Lord's Supper and Baptism as its ordinances. The primary difference is in its understanding of the ordinances where they are viewed not as sacraments with the means of conveying God's saving grace but as symbols acting as outward testimonies to the recipient's faith and commemorations signifying deeper spiritual truths.
The MBC Statement of Faith does not specify the gender of those called to serve as pastors and deacons in the church. There are women who serve as pastors and associate pastors in churches affiliated with the MBC  but to date no women have been officially ordained in the MBC. Whether this is incidental or a matter of policy remain unclear.
Languages in use
Most MBC affiliated churches have historically conducted services in either English, Mandarin or other Chinese dialects. Other languages are increasingly being used in recent years including the national language, Malay, as well as non-indigenous languages, like Burmese, Chin, Korean, Nepali, and Tagalog.
In 2004, the MBC adopted a 5-year plan dubbed Vision X208 that sought to challenge affiliated churches and Baptist Christians to embark aggressively in church planting and evangelism to double Baptist work in Malaysia. A progress report was published on the MBC website showing significant growth by the year 2007:
|Baptist Churches, Chapels and Outreach points||123||—||162||164|
|MBC Members||45||76||102 *||—|
|Baptist Seminary Campus||1||2||2||2|
|* Both Sarawak Baptist Church and Sabah Baptist Association and their respective members are included|
The following institutions are affiliated with the MBC:
- The Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary was established in 1953 for the training of national workers. Accredited by the Asia Theological Association, it awards qualifications up to the postgraduate level.
- Baptist Book Store
- The Baptist Book Store is located in Penang and was established by missionaries of Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now known as the International Mission Board). Operations of the Baptist Book Store was turned over to the MBC in 1977.
- Golden Sands Baptist Assembly
Ecumenical and interfaith institutions
The MBC participates actively in ecumenical relationships through:
- Baptist World Alliance: Member Bodies and Statistics
- Reformed Baptist Churches Malaysia
- Georgetown Baptist Church History
- Malaysia Baptist Convention: History
- Singapore Baptist Convention: History
- Malaysia Baptist Convention: Statement of Faith
- Baptist Start Page: 1963 Baptist Faith and Message
- Chin, Thomas C. M. (2004). The Baptist People: Understanding the History, Beliefs, & Polity of Baptists. Penang: Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary. ISBN 983-41634-0-1.
- Malaysia Baptist Convention: Statement of Faith §6
- Kuala Lumpur Baptist Church: Church Staff
- Malaysia Baptist Convention: Vision X208