98 McAlpine Road, Wychwood, Johannesburg

A History of Baptists in South Africa

A history of Baptists in South Africa begins in 1820. A brief history was written for the BNA by Dr. Paul Hartwig on the occasion of the 200th year of Baptist witness in South Africa and can be read here.

The first church building erected in Grahamstown in 1823 can still be visited. It was replaced in 1843 by the present building which still hosts the Grahamstown Baptist Church.

The original founding constitution of the Baptist Union (below) adopted in 1877 can be viewed closely here.

The Transvaal Baptist Association (now the Baptist Northern Association) was established in 1891 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For a full history of our beginnings, see here. The first Minute book dating back to 7 October 1891 is shown below or full pages, go here.

Below is a photo of the original theological affirmation of the Baptist churches of South Africa. This, known as ‘the 1924,’ has in many of our churches and by us as an association of churches, recently been replaced by the 2017 Statement of Belief, the history of which can be read about here and ‘the 2017’ itself can be viewed here.

The original founding statement of belief of the Baptist churches of South Africa known as the 1924 Statement of Belief.

Books on the History of Baptists in South Africa

There have been some excellent books written and printed about the history of Baptists in Southern Africa and South Africa, some of which are listed below. Copies of these are becoming increasingly hard to find, but if you are interested in finding a copy to loan please email the librarian at BTC at info@btc.co.za.

Batts, H. J. undated. The History of the Baptist Church in South Africa. Cape Town: Maskew Miller.

Hudson-Reed, S. 1970. By Water and Fire: An Account of Baptist Beginnings in Southern Africa 1820-1877. No Place: South African Baptist Press.

Hudson-Reed, S. 1983. By Taking Heed: The History of Baptists in South Africa 1820-1977. Roodepoort: Baptist Publishing House.

Hudson-Reed, S. undated. Together for a Century: The History of the Baptist Union of South Africa 1877-1977. Pietermaritzburg: S.A. Baptist Historical Society.

Books on the History of the Church in South Africa

Elphick, R. & Daveport, R. (Eds) 1997. Christianity in South Africa: A Political, Social and Cultural History. Cape Town: David Philip.

Hofmeyr, J. W. & Pillay, G (Eds) 1994. A History of Christianity in South Africa. Vol 1. Pretoria: HAUM Tertiary.

Roy, K. 2000. Zion City RSA: The Story of the Church in South Africa. Cape Town: South African Baptist Historical Society