Baptist General Association of Virginia

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The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is an umbrella organization of Baptist churches founded in 1823.[1] The BGAV has been characterized as a moderate association.[2] More than 1,400 Baptist churches affiliate with the BGAV.[3]

History of the BGAV[edit]

Baptists have been in Virginia since the American Revolution, but had not organized as cooperating churches, preferring the independence common among Baptists. Not until June 3, 1822 was a formal Association formed, and then only “To propagate the Gospel and advance the Redeemer's Kingdom throughout the State.” It also emphasized that the work would be done while “not infringing the rights of individuals or churches.” [4]

The BGAV emphasized missions from the beginning. At the first general meeting on June 7, 1823, the Association agreed to fund two church planting missionaries at $30 a month for two years. Technically the BGAV only meets once annually, and relies on the Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB) to administer the missions and provide continuing support to participating churches.[5]

Relationships with other organizations[edit]

In Virginia, there are two Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated state organizations, with BGAV being the "more moderate" of the two.[6] The rival Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia was created when several churches left the BGAV in September 1996.[7] Since the BGAV does not prevent its member churches from dually aligning with another Baptist group, some of its members may also affiliate with the more conservative SBCV,[8] though the BGAV and SBCV often disagree on priorities.[9]

The BGAV joined the Baptist World Alliance in 2004 after the Southern Baptist Convention pulled out of the alliance.[10] At the time, BGAV Executive Director John V. Upton, Jr., said, "Virginia Baptists have been a part of the BWA since its beginning in 1905. Our membership up to this point had been through the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The decision of the SBC to leave the BWA has automatically removed our membership. In this annual meeting Virginia Baptists have overwhelmingly voted to maintain that historic and strategic relationship."[10] The BGAV contributes more to the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) than does any convention or union in the world.[11]

In 2006, the BGAV received some Georgia Baptist churches that had requested affiliation.[12] The move is unusual for Southern Baptist churches which almost universally affiliate with conventions in their states or region. But it represents a growing interest in denominational links by affinity rather than geography, say some observers.[13]

Seminary partnerships[edit]

The BGAV partners to some degree with several seminaries throughout the United States, some of which also partner with the SBC, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, or other groups.[14] These seminaries are:[14]


  1. ^ "Brief History of the Founding of the BGAV". Baptist General Association of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  2. ^ "SBC conflict splits Virginia Baptists - moderates and conservatives of the Southern Baptist Convention". Christian Century. November 20, 1996. Retrieved 2009-09-07. [dead link]
  3. ^ Dilday, Robert (November 20, 2006). "Va. Baptist assoc. launches mission service program". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  4. ^ "BGAV History | Virginia Baptist Mission Board - VBMB | Baptist General Association of Virginia - BGAV | 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, Virginia 23219". VBMB. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  5. ^ "What is the VBMB? Is It the Same as the BGAV? | Virginia Baptist Mission Board - VBMB | Baptist General Association of Virginia - BGAV | 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, Virginia 23219". VBMB. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  6. ^ Allen, Bob (December 19, 2012). "Church declines to leave BGAV". Associated Baptist Press. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  7. ^ T C> Pinckney. "SBCV Facts". Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  8. ^ Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Ledbetter, Tammi Reed (December 7, 2006). "States pass CP initiatives; decide critical issues". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  10. ^ a b Ryan, Wendy (November 24, 2004). "Virginia Baptists Vote BWA Memebership [sic]". Baptist World Alliance. 
  11. ^ Dilday, Robert (November 19, 2004). "BGAV to seek membership in Baptist World Alliance". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  12. ^ Hall, Will (January 4, 2007). "Analysis: 2006 news in review". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  13. ^ Dilday, Robert (February 24, 2005). "Georgia churches look to Virginia for affiliation by 'affinity'". Associated Baptist Press. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  14. ^ a b "BGAV Ministry Partners". Baptist General Association of Virginia. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 

External links[edit]