Baptist Union of Great Britain
   in the 17th and 18th centuries, Baptists in England were organized around independent congregations, with some regional associations emerging in the 1700s. The first national organization was the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen (or more popularly, the Baptist Missionary Society), founded by William Carey (1761-1834) and Andrew Fuller (1754-1815).
   In light of the society's success, London pastor Joseph ivimey called for a union of congregations that would support Sunday schools, help build church buildings, and send preachers to the more remote parts of the country. An initial meeting held in 1812 led to a more formal meeting in 1813, at which time the Baptist Union was formed.
   At the time, Baptists were divided between Calvinist ideas of predestination and the Armenian emphasis on free will. The Baptist Union tended to be supported by the Calvinist (or Particular) Baptists. In 1816, the Armenian or General Baptists formed the Foreign Baptist Mission, patterned on the Baptist Missionary Society; they had already formed the Connection of General Baptists in 1770. In 1891, the General Baptist organizations merged into the Baptist Union and Baptist Missionary Society.
   The Baptist Union has been among the most ecumenically oriented of Baptist groups. it hosted the organizing meeting of the Baptist World Alliance in 1905, and it subsequently joined the World Council of Churches. As the 20th century came to an end, the Baptist Union reported some 140,000 members in the United Kingdom. Though relatively small, it has had a significant role in the spread of Baptist church life globally.
   See also Baptists.
   Further reading:
   ■ H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987)
   ■ A. C. Underwood, A History of Baptists (London: Carey Kingsgate Press, 1947).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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