The Particular Baptist Fund

 

  Charity Commission Number 240979

 
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A Brief History

Six London Particular Baptist Churches set up the Fund on June 4, 1717 to help ministers and churches throughout England and Wales who shared their convictions.

In 1717, Particular Baptist Churches were a distinct grouping from General Baptists. Particular Baptists followed the Reformation teaching that salvation is from start to finish God’s work. That means we can contribute nothing whatever to our salvation. Left to ourselves we would always resist God’s offers of love.

Particular Baptists taught that Christ died for individuals in particular whereas General Baptists said that Christ died for humanity in general, leaving it to individuals to opt into such a salvation.

General Baptists said we chose to accept God’s offer of salvation, whereas Particular Baptists said that God choses and draws us to Christ.

An iron chest was soon provided to keep the funds and government stock. It had three different locks, each with only one key, the three Treasurers having one key each. Each of the treasurers had to be present when the chest was opened. The first gifts were brought in on 13th August 1717 and totalled £788:14:6, a huge sum for just six churches and one private donor. The next year, 55 ministers throughout England became beneficiaries of the Fund, and in addition a good number of grants were sent to churches in Wales. The Welsh list was drawn up and largely financed by Thomas Hollis, one of the three treasurers.

Right from the beginning the Fund’s managers saw the education of ministers as a vital part of their work. At first this was to help them buy books, and John Gill bought some of his Hebrew books with the £17 he was given. William Carey was another beneficiary of the Fund. In the early nineteenth century, the Fund was closely associated with the founding of a new academy in Stepney, which later became Regent’s Park College in Oxford.

Since those early days various bequests have been made to the Fund, some for specific purposes. Many churches for a while specified the Particular Baptist Fund as their ultimate beneficiary; that is where the money goes if the church closes and has to be sold.

Bringing the story up to date, in 2004 a new constitution was agreed between the Fund and the Charity Commission. This enlarges the area that can benefit from its funds to include the whole of the British Isles, the whole of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles.

 

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 © The Particular Baptist Fund. Last updated: 21 August 2007
 
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