Seeking an Indian Identity: Baptist Witness in Orissa, India, from the 1860s to the 1880s

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Ian Randall


The English General Baptists represented a strand of Baptist life which took shape in the seventeenth century and became a denominational body alongside the larger Particular or Calvinistic Baptist denomination. In 1816 the General Baptist Missionary Society (GBMS) was formed, a product of the New Connexion of General Baptists that resulted from the Evangelical Revival. This article examines the way GBMS sought to develop an authentic Indian witness in Orissa, from the 1860s to the end of the 1880s. It examines several themes: developing local churches and leaders; concern and care for all human needs; wider connections with other bodies; Baptist convictions; and an enlarged Baptist identity created in 1891 when the GBMS amalgamated with the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). The article makes especial use of the GBMS monthly magazine, the Missionary Observer. Brian Stanley, in his history of the BMS, suggests that the Orissa mission was one of the most fruitful fields for Baptist work in India. The features of this have not previously been analysed.

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Author Biography

Ian Randall

Ian Randall is a Research Associate at the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide and a Senior Research Fellow of IBTS Centre.