The Particular Baptist Fund
Well-told account of a redistributive Baptist fund created long before Home Mission - and one that still exists today
The Particular Baptist Fund 1717-2017: money, mission and ministry
By Tim Grass
Gipping Press Ltd
Reviewer Stephen Copson
On leaving College (some years ago) I was pleasantly surprised to receive a book token from the Particular Baptist Fund, until then a stranger to me.
Tim Grass tells the story of how the Fund came to exist. Baptist churches in and around London were (and are) invited to make donations that were then distributed by the fund managers to support ministers, students (book grants), theological education when available and eventually building loans.
Applications would be nominated from around the country (with the exception of the Bristol area where there was a separate fund) and grants made to situations where they would have an impact.
As the Fund developed, a scheme of pastoral visits was arranged to assess the effective use of the monies. As the book title suggests the grants were designed to stimulate mission and ministry. Home Mission avant la lettre.
Born a century before the Baptist Union, the Fund embraced churches of differing theological convictions, excepting the Arminian or General Redemption stream. In the 19th and 20th centuries as theological differences shaped distinctive networks of Baptist churches, still the fund managed to accommodate churches and managers from both Strict & Particular and Baptist Union stables.
Of late, however, doctrinal considerations have played a more significant part in assessing grants, with a consequent increase in support given to non-Union ministers and churches.
Tim Grass, a senior research fellow at Spurgeon's College, illustrates the story well in a tale of classic Baptist voluntarism where the better resourced offered support where needs were identified. In this tercentenary volume, we see how the Fund still seeks to encourage mission and ministry.
Stephen Copson is a regional minister with the Central Baptist Association and secretary of the Baptist Historical Society