Baptist World Alliance
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|Baptist World Alliance|
|Headquarters||Falls Church, Virginia|
|Origin||July 1905 |
|Part of a series on|
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is a worldwide alliance of Baptist churches and organisations formed in 1905 at Exeter Hall in London during the first Baptist World Congress. The organisation counts 48 million people and is the largest organisation of Baptist churches in the world. Less than a half of the world's Baptists are affiliated with this organisation.
The roots of the Baptist World Alliance can be traced back to the seventeenth century when Baptist leader Thomas Grantham proposed the concept of a congregation of all Christians in the world that are "baptised according to the appointment of Christ." Similar proposals were put forward later such as the call of John Rippon in 1790 for a world meeting of Baptists "to consult the ecclesiastical good to the whole."
It was, however, only in 1904 when such congregation became a reality. John Newton Prestridge, editor of The Baptist Argus, at Louisville, Kentucky 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.
The 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 gathering was referred to as an "alliance" and not a council in order to establish the nature of the dialogue as a meeting. This means that the body wields no authority over participating churches or national Baptist unions, serving only as a forum for collaboration.
Currently,[when?] the Baptist World Alliance brings together 210 Baptist groups representing over 48 million baptised 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.
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 School, and the Most Reverend Bede Heather, Bishop of Parramatta. While this dialogue produced the report called Summons to Witness to Christ in Today's World, the second phase did not push through because of opposition from within the Baptist World Alliance itself. Negotiations continued, however, so that a series of consultations transpired from 2000 to 2003. During this period the Baptists and Catholics discussed important doctrines that divide these denominations. These second series of conversations resulted in formal meetings between 2006 and 2010. The current Co-Moderators are Paul Fiddes, Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxford and formerly Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford, and Arthur J. Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson.
In 2014, the organisation has 48 million people.
There are 36,100 Baptist Churches in Africa reporting 18,397,395 members. In some countries statistics date from 2016.  Countries with largest Baptist communities are
- Nigeria, Nigerian Baptist Convention (13,000 churches and 7,000,000 members)
- Democratic Republic of Congo, Baptist Community of Western Congo (CBCO) (960 churches and 2,527,440 members) and Baptist Community of the Congo River (CBCF) (2,601 churches and 1,717,688 members)
- Uganda, Baptist Union of Uganda (1,970 churches and 980,356 members),
- Tanzania, Baptist Convention of Tanzania (1,250 churches with 2,028,000 members)
There are 31,306 BWA affiliated churches in Asia-Pacific reporting 5,356,124 members. Countries with largest Baptist communities are:
|Country||Nr of Baptist Churches||Members|
|Papua New Guinea||465||80000|
In this region, there are 2,036 Baptist Churches affiliated to BWA reporting 248,702 members. Largest communities are in:
- Bahamas with 272 churches reporting 75,083 members
- Cuba with 861 churches reporting 58,999 members
- Haiti with 466 churches reporting 67,440 members
- Jamaica with 322 churches reporting 40,000 members
In this region, there are 2,589 Baptist Churches affiliated to BWA reporting 156,700 members. Largest communities are in:
- Mexico with 1,800 churches and 70,000 members
- Guatemala with 311 churches and 44,059 members
- Nicaragua with 206 churches and 25,000 members
The year is the year of the statistic data regarding the number of Baptist Churches and members.
|Country||Year||Churches||Members||Total population||number of baptists|
/ 100,000 citizens
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2011||5||200||3,839,737||5|
This region has 99 churches affiliated to BWA with 6,300 members.
- Canada has 1,384 churches with 196,588 members
- USA has 79,011 churches affiliated to BWA with 23,621,780 members. Notably, the Southern Baptist Convention (the world's largest Baptist denomination) is not affiliated with the BWA; the SBC withdrew in 2004 citing concerns that the BWA was becoming increasingly liberal in its viewpoints.
South America has 14,152 BWA affiliated churches with 2,042,949 members.
10,748 churches with 1,816,949 members are in Brazil.
- Williams, Michael; Shurden, Walter (2008). Turning Points in Baptist History: A Festschrift in Honor of Harry Leon McBeth. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. p. 223. ISBN 0881461350.
- Lord, Townley F. (2007). Baptist World Fellowship: A Short History Of The Baptist World Alliance. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-548-44182-0.
- Wardin, Albert W. (ed.) (1995). Baptists Around the World: A Comprehensive Handbook. Broadman & Holman. ISBN 0-8054-1076-7.
- Leornard, Bill J. (1994). Dictionary of Baptists in America. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1447-7.
- Johnson, Robert (2010). A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 238. ISBN 9780521877817.
- "Organizational Structure of the BWA". Baptist World Alliance. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
- "About BWA". Baptist World Alliance. Archived from the original on 4 August 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- Cassidy, Edward (2005). Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue: Unitatis Redintegratio, Nostra Aetate. New York: Paulist Press. p. 68. ISBN 0809143380.
- "Baptist—Roman Catholic International Conversations". Centro Pro Unione. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
- Baptist World Alliance, Statistics, Website, USA, Retrieved May 9, 2018
- 2004 SBC Annual Report, Recommendation #6, p. 49.