Baptist Students and ‘Spiritual Dynamics’ The Robert Hall Society in Cambridge, 1950s–1980s

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Ian Randall


This is a study of the Robert Hall Society (RHS), the Baptist Students’ Society in the University of Cambridge, from the 1950s to the 1980s. There is a particular focus on spiritual dynamics. There were transitions through the period examined, related to the members’ spiritual commitment and the sense of denominational belonging. In the early 1950s the RHS tried to find a place in university life in relation to pan-denominational student groups. In the 1960s, a decade marked by confident RHS student spiritual leadership, the Society had as a principal aim preparing Baptist students for future service. The emphasis on witness in the university was also stressed, as was wider mission. A considerable number of RHS students of this period went on to take up significant roles in Baptist life and elsewhere. In the 1970s decline in denominational loyalty began to have an impact, and as a consequence the Society struggled. New spiritual dynamics were evident in the 1980s, but the Society came to an end. The article indicates that the RHS contributed in significant ways to the Baptist denomination.

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Author Biography

Ian Randall, Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide

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