- Haldane brothers Scottish Baptist leaders
- Though not the first Baptists in Scotland, the brothers Robert Haldane (1764-1842) and James Alexander Haldane (1768-1851) did much to promote the Baptist cause there in the first half of the 19th century.Robert was born on February 28, 1764, in London. After three years in the navy beginning at age 16, Haldane left the service, toured Europe, married, and settled in the family castle at Stirling. James Alexander was born on July 14, 1768; he too went to sea, making four voyages to India. During this time, he had begun a study of the Bible and received council from David Bogue (1750-1825), one of the founders of the London Missionary Society. He turned down an offer to captain a ship and returned to Scotland determined to lead a life of Christian service. Around 1796, he associated himself with Charles Simeon (1759-1836), with whom he traveled around Scotland distributing tracts and trying to awaken people to the spiritual life.About this time, Robert sold the family home with plans to devote the money to the spread of Christianity, and the brothers cofounded the Society for Propagating the Gospel at Home. They began to preach wherever they could find an audience. Their independent efforts soon brought them to the attention of the authorities of the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian body that dominated Scottish religious life, and they separated from the church.In 1799, James was ordained and became the pastor of an independent Congregationalist congregation in Edinburgh, which in 1801, with money from Robert, built a huge church seating 3,000 people. James came to profess Baptist perspectives, and the church subsequently became a leading Baptist congregation, which James pas-tored into the 1840s.Meanwhile, Robert laid plans to use the society to erect chapels for independent congregations, support foreign missionaries, and create institutions for training evangelists. In 1816, he visited the Continent and taught for a time at Geneva. In 1817, he moved to Montauban, the main French Protestant center. His helped found a small French Baptist movement. Upon his return to Scotland in 1819, he continued his philanthropic activities and joined his brother in speaking out on the major issues of the day. He died on December 12, 1842. James died on February 8, 1851.Robert published a number of books, among the most popular being Evidences and Authority of Divine Revelation (1816), On the Inspiration of Scripture (1828), and an Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans (1835). Today, the Haldanes are claimed by a variety of movements, from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the Plymouth Brethren.Further reading:■ Alexander Haldane, Memoirs of R. and J. A. Haldane (1852; rpt., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990)■ Robert Haldane, Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans (1835; rpt., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1996).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.