The Baptist Union of Great Britain was formed when the General Baptists and Particular Baptists came together in 1891.
The Particular Baptist Missionary Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (later the Baptist Missionary Society, and now BMS World Mission) was organised in 1792, under the leadership of Andrew Fuller (1754–1815), John Sutcliff (1752–1814), and William Carey (1761–1834). When the Baptist Union was founded in 1813, it was a Particular Baptist organisation. In 1833, it was restructured to allow for membership of General Baptists. General and Particular Baptist work was united in the Baptist Union in 1891. The Baptist Historical Society was founded in 1908.
The basis of fellowship in the Baptist Union is a three-part "Declaration of Principle" stating belief in Jesus, Christian baptism, and world evangelisation. Structure includes an annual Baptist Assembly, and the Baptist Union Council, which is made up of representatives from the 13 regional associations and the six Baptist Colleges affiliated with the Union. The national resource and offices are in Didcot, Oxfordshire, England, having moved from Baptist Church House 2–6 Southampton Row, London in 1989.
In 2013 Lynn Green was elected, with no votes against, as the first female General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain to commence in September 2013. She was received at the vote by a standing ovation and her inaugural message included "I believe that our union is ready for generational change... It is time to cast off the institutional mindset that has served us well in the past, and embrace a new way of being for the 21st century."
Also in 2013, the Union publicly rebranded itself as "Baptists Together" and introduced a new logo to reflect the change (although it is still known in an official capacity by the old Baptist Union name).
The Baptist Union of Great Britain consists of about 2,150 churches with a total membership of almost 140,000 individuals.
Baptists in the organisation are also part of the wider Fellowship of British Baptists, the European Baptist Federation, and the Baptist World Alliance.
The Fellowship of British Baptists and BMS World Mission brings together in ministry the churches that are members of the Baptist Union of Scotland, Wales, the Irish Baptist Networks, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain. It is itself a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) because of its work to promote young people's personal and social development.
The Union maintains membership with Christian ecumenical organisations such as Churches Together in England, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Conference of European Churches, and the World Council of Churches.
Since 2001 the Baptist Union of Great Britain has been divided into 13 regional associations:Central Baptist Association
East Midlands Baptist Association
Eastern Baptist Association
Heart of England Baptist Association
London Baptist Association
North Western Baptist Association
Northern Baptist Association
South Eastern Baptist Association
South Wales Baptist Association
South West Baptist Association
Southern Counties Baptist Association
West of England Baptist Association
Yorkshire Baptist Association
The principal of the Union is the General Secretary.1898 - 1924 John Howard Shakespeare
1925 - 1951 M E Aubrey
1951 - 1967 Ernest A Payne
1967 - 1982 David S Russell
1982 - 1991 Bernard Green
1991 - 2006 David Coffey
2006 - 2013 Jonathan Edwards
2013 to date Lynn Green
In April 1971, at the Baptist Union Assembly, Principal at the Northern Baptist College, Michael Taylor, asserted that, 'I believe that God was active in Jesus, but it will not do to say quite categorically; Jesus is God'. This led to controversy, and some charged him with denying the Deity of Christ. Nigel Wright commenting on the affair, claimed the 'spectre of theological downgrade had lingered within the denomination throughout the 20th century', alluding to the Downgrade Controversy of a century earlier.