’The Struggle for Spiritual Values’: Scottish Baptists and the Second World War

Perichoresis 16 (4):73-94 (2018)
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Abstract

The Secord World War was a conflict which many British people feared might happen, but they strongly supported the efforts of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to seek a peaceful resolution of tensions with Germany over disputes in Continental Europe. Baptists in Scotland shared these concerns of their fellow citizens, but equally supported the declaration of war in 1939 after the German invasion of Poland. They saw the conflict as a struggle for spiritual values and were as concerned about winning the peace that followed as well as the war. During the years 1939 to 1945 they recommitted themselves to sharing the Christian message with their fellow citizens and engaged in varied forms of evangelism and extended times of prayer for the nation. The success of their Armed Forces Chaplains in World War One ensured that Scottish Baptist padres had greater opportunities for service a generation later. Scottish Baptists had seen closer ties established with other churches in their country under the auspices of the Scottish Churches Council. This co-operation in the context of planning for helping refugees and engaging in reconstruction at the conclusion of the war led to proposals for a World Council of Churches. Scottish Baptists were more cautious about this extension of ecumenical relationships. In line with other Scottish Churches they recognised a weakening of Christian commitment in the wider nation, but were committed to the challenge of proclaiming their faith at this time. They had both high hopes and expectations for the post-war years in Scotland.

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