Baptist Union of Scotland
ClassificationEvangelical Christianity

The Baptist Union of Scotland is a Baptist Christian denomination in Scotland. It is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Glasgow.


From the 1650s to 1869

Baptists first arrived in Scotland with the armies of English republican Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s, who established small churches in Leith, Perth, Cupar, Ayr and Aberdeen, but they did not survive for long, partly because of their association with Cromwell (who was generally not welcomed in Scotland), but more especially as a result of strident and often violent opposition instigated and inspired by the Church of Scotland and the Parliament of Scotland which it controlled.[1] Baptists later emerged in the 18th century—in 1750 at Keiss, where the leader was William Sinclair and the church was established on the English Baptist pattern. The group who in Edinburgh came to Baptist convictions in 1765 under the leadership of Robert Carmichael and Archibald McLean became known as Scotch Baptists. Like other Scottish Protestant Christians of the time they were very conservative and adopted the opinions of a particularly strict form of Calvinism. Somewhat later, a different form of Baptist witness emerged, this time influenced by the Haldane brothers, James Haldane and Robert Haldane evangelical preachers who came to Baptist convictions around 1808. Along with the English Baptists, they were distinguished from the Scotch Baptists by their more moderate and less Calvinistic attitudes. After overcoming initial hostilities, all these groups were able to unite in 1869.

1869 to the present day

The Baptist Union of Scotland was founded in Hope Street Chapel (later Adelaide Place Baptist Church)[2] in 1869, with 51 churches in its membership, which represented almost 4000 members.[3] One of its early presidents (in 1873) was the philanthropist Thomas Coats.[4]

According to a denomination census released in 2020, it claimed 158 churches and 10,248 members. [5]

The Baptist Union of Scotland is served by a team comprising Rev Martin Hodson (General Director), Rev Dr Jim Purves (Mission & Ministry Advisor), Rev Peter Dick (Finance Director), Rev Ali Laing (Next Generation Development Coordinator), Rev Professor Andrew Clarke (Continuing Ministry Development Lead).[6]

These leaders are responsible for the development of strategic initiatives and advisements, working with the Board of Ministry and the Mission Initiative Group, as well as providing administrative support to local churches. The Union's main function is to service the churches, supporting them in mission and ministry developments. The Union also accredits ministers for leadership within Union churches. The ultimate decision-making body within the Union is the annual Assembly attended by delegates from each of the member churches. The Council of the Union, normally meeting twice a year, works alongside the General Director’s Team and, in consultation with the team, shapes the policy and initiatives of the Union.[7] The Directors of the Union oversee the workings of the Union.

BUS maintains strong links with other Baptists in the British Isles, notably the Baptist Union of Great Britain (which despite the name is the association of Baptist churches in England and parts of Wales), the Baptist Union of Wales, the Irish Baptist Networks and BMS World Mission. Together, these five groups form the Fellowship of British Baptists. Additionally, BUS is in membership with the European Baptist Federation and the Baptist World Alliance.


The Convention has a Baptist confession of faith.[8] It is a member of the Baptist World Alliance. [9]

See also


  1. ^ James Leo Garrett, Baptist Theology: A Four-century Study, Mercer University Press, USA, 2009, p. 201
  2. ^ Fisher, John S (1996). Impelled by Faith: A Short History of the Baptists in Scotland. Scottish Baptist History Project. p. 24.
  3. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Scarecrow Press, USA, 2009, p. 508
  4. ^ Fisher, John S (1996). Impelled by Faith: A Short History of the Baptists in Scotland. Scottish Baptist History Project. p. 25.
  5. ^ Baptist World Alliance, Members,, USA, retrieved December 5, 2020
  6. ^ "Contact Us | Baptist Union of Scotland". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  7. ^ Baptist Union of Scotland Constitution
  8. ^ Baptist Union of Scotland, Becoming Who We Are,, Scotland, retrieved December 5, 2020
  9. ^ Baptist World Alliance, Members,, USA, retrieved December 5, 2020


Further reading