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  • This site provides a conversation space for baptists in the Baptist Union of Great Britain
  • 40 Contributors have been asked to offer reflections on what we baptists need to be thinking about or doing in the coming 40 years in order to be true to our heritage and our calling. They will remind us of, and inspire us with, our core roots and values as British baptists.
  • Post articles and comments under your full name - no anonymous contributions please.  It is difficult to have conversation with people when you do not know who they are!  Feel free to engage with articles and offer practical and constructive suggestions - honest questions and reflections welcome but please no moaning without offering something helpful! 
  • When commenting on other contributions, please link to them as this will aid conversation and dialogue.
  • Please keep talking.  Of course this exercise has its limits and will not be faultless!  The authors won’t be able to cover everything we are all passionate about and they are only a small section of our baptist community, but we hope this will kick start contributions from across our family. We are really grateful for all those who have responded to our invitation to participate so far and hope readers will appreciate their bravery and vulnerability in putting their thoughts and imaginations in the public sphere.
  • This is a public website and people who are not baptists will probably be intrigued by it too, so let’s make sure we are building one another up.  Naturally, please be respectful of others within the baptist community and those who have contributed, assuming good motives where you are uncertain.
  • The coordinators of Beyond 400 retain editorial control and the right to delete and edit.  We aim to exert as little control over this as possible, but will remove offensive or anonymous comments if we feel it right to do so.
  • Views expressed on www.beyond400.net do not necessarily represent the views of the coordinators.


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40 Voices: Those published so far...

  • Twenty years ago, I became chief executive of an agency that existed to support and represent 600+ other charities.  It had enjoyed an honourable history and had facilitated many new developments, campaigns and projects. To have achieved such a senior appointment while still in my 20s would have been
  • ‘The dodo is dead everybody knows that’, thus began an episode of David Attenborough’s Life Stories broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday 4th September 2009. Attenborough then unfolded the less well–known aspect of the story, the reason for the dodo’s extinction. It is likely that its ancestors were blow
  • There are good reasons why you might not want to read this: it’s not practical; it doesn’t comment on denominational organisation; it lacks focus and finesse.  But, you may want to read on because I plan to talk dirty.  Or rather I’m going to suggest that in our musing about the future we should
  • "Tracing Baptist theological Foot Prints" As we look beyond 400 years of Baptist life in England, I want to trace five theological footprints which marked early Baptist communities which might still be important as we ‘look beyond the horizon’ and ask what our vision might be. Reading the Bible
  • Reflecting beyond 400 years of Baptist history and ministry, I wonder what the Baptist family can do to make a definite contribution to the advancement of God’s kingdom in this generation and beyond. Here are a few of my thoughts. Firstly we need to recover our confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Imagine it is 2412, and we are a group of researchers asked to contribute to a data pod which is to be sent to Betelgeuse. We are commissioned to focus on the last 400 years, with special emphasis on the people called Baptist. What would we hope to discover, and how might those hopes for the future feed in
  • Many years ago a teenage Anglican moved to the other end of town and stopped going to church (her parents weren’t Christians). A friend took her to the badminton club at a local church, and then to summer camp. She thought: ‘if I am going on a trip with them I had better go to church. She discovered am
  • Click on the below "Continue reading" button to see this post in it's intended form as a 5 minute video. Also click "Continue reading" for a short summary written summary - though we strongly recommend the video for the full content.
  • I wonder why you became a Baptist? Maybe you never did: perhaps you’re a cradle Baptist, or you just found yourself once in a church with a Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) logo on the front, or perhaps you’d first reach for words like “Bible believing”, “liberal evangelical” or “charismatic” to d
  • I have a confession. Even though I have been married for 19 years, I’m in love with another’s bride. She’s beautiful, powerful, inspiring, she makes my heart leap, the very idea of what she might become thrills me. I might want to shape her, guide her, want her to fall in love with me too, but alas she is
  • ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’. (Albert Einstein). ‘Beyond 400’ - backwards! (6. Digging deeper into the past to find the future) …. after the prayer George of the House of Jakob arose and entreated Conrad Grebel for God’s sake
  • So there she was, a small woman, a lawyer, sitting behind an enormous desk piled high with manila folders. Each one charting the whereabouts of husbands, brothers, sons who had disappeared off the streets of El Salvador during its years of tyranny. With eyes that sparkled when she spoke she told us of the
  • In this Olympic year it seems appropriate to draw inspiration from Hebrews 12 in which the journey of faith is likened to a long distance race. Perhaps Team BUGB can be inspired by the athletes in Team GB as they prepare to win gold at the London Olympics… Begin with the End in Mind No one just tur
  • A decade ago my mate Darrell Jackson wrote a paper with the provocative title ‘Does the future have a denomination?’ I thought it pretty prescient and nicked it for the conclusion to my book Building a Better Body, where I asked it of the church. I was working for BMS World Mission at the time and we w
  • “Organisations, the Church included, are built to administer, maintain and protect from harm that which already exists; in contrast creative or dissenting people are designed to give birth to that which has never been in existence before. The dissenters threaten the well-oiled structures of an organisation
  • I finished up my street performance in the middle of Norwich on a hot summers day and jumped around exuberantly and I must admit, slightly hot and sweaty, holding above my head the straight jacket that I had just escaped from. It was a good show and I looked around awaiting the cheers but on this occasion
  • The fact is, at my tender age, I grew up on a different page I don’t come from a position of tradition or division Christianity is relatively new to me But clearly something made me say “Hey, I like the Baptist Way” Some people may not agree with me, my delivery or the way I see it Cause I’m not
  • The first baptist church in Britain met in Spitalfields, London, still known as a tolerant place which harbours dissenters, artists, anarchists and free-thinkers who want to challenge injustice and unfairness. Words such as these were used frequently to describe early baptists, a group of Jesus-followe
  • A one million pound black hole is projected for the Baptist Union of Great Britain end of year accounts, we can’t continue as we are and it has got people talking. The talk is of change and cuts. The financial predicament is painful, it will hurt when posts are almost inevitably cut and people tragical