In the second half of the nineteenth century Scottish Baptists like other Evangelical Protestant denominations were focusing more on things they had in common, such as a commitment to home evangelization and church-planting; providing a common fund to assist small and struggling congregations; the provision of theological education for the training of prospective pastors, together with the need to disseminate information between the churches concerning their progress in the work of the gospel. From the start of this Baptist Union in 1869 the numbers of churches and members grew steadily until 1935. It was a remarkable story of dedicated Christian service. Scottish Baptists came through two world wars, the social revolution of the 1960s, and the materialistic emphases of the 1980s with a significant degree of success in adapting their evangelistic activities to relate to their social context. There is little doubt that from the late 1980s the growing secularization in this country ensured that mission strategies adopted by these Scottish Christians were less successful than in previous decades. However, a revitalization of its work in the early years of the twenty-first century has given renewed grounds for hope for its work and witness in the coming years.
Brian R. Talbot is Minister of Broughty Ferry Baptist Church and Tutor, Greenwich School of Theology & Dept. of Theology, North-West University, South Africa. He has written a number of books, including Search for a Common Identity: The Origin of the Baptist Union 1800-1870 and edited A Distinctive People: Baptists in Scotland in the Twentieth Century.