Baptist churches are congregational in matters of government. Such general associations as are formed do not have control over the individual churches. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest body of churches, with about 16 million members. The original national organization of black Baptist churches is the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.; it has about 8.2 million members (1992). Other large Baptist churches in the United States include the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A, the largely black National Baptist Convention of America (separated from the National Baptist Convention), and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. The Baptist World Alliance was formed in 1905 as an alliance of Baptist churches from around the world. Today the convention includes more than 210 unions and conventions with a combined membership of some 110 million (1999). The conservative Southern Baptist Convention withdrew from the Alliance in 2004, accusing it of being too liberal and increasingly anti-American, charges strongly denied by the Alliance and other American churches belonging to it.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.