Tuesday December 26th 2017.

‘Nigel Woolcock, Education Correspondent.

‘Universities must “open minds, not close them” and face tough new penalties if they do not promote freedom of speech, Jo Johnson will warn today.

‘Students should expect to encounter controversial opinions and “frank and rigorous discussions”, the universities minister will argue.

‘His defence of open debate comes amid a row at Oxford University, where dozens of academics have criticised a professor for arguing that Britain’s imperial history was not entirely shameful. Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at the university, has been criticised by colleagues and students after writing an article in The Times calling for a more nuanced appraisal…

‘…Nearly 60 academics signed an open letter attacking Professor Biggar’s views but he has retained the backing of the university authorities, who say that he has the right to consider the historical context of the British Empire. Professor Biggar accused the academics of “collective bullying”.’

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Tuesday December 26th 2017.

Click on the image to view the news report.

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If nearly ‘60 academics’ at Oxford University are prepared to close down free speech, imagine what it is like at a small provincial university like Derby.

Derby University is just 25 years old, with almost no back history. It is staffed by outsiders who say they have no interest in researching the heritage of the city they operate in, and are named after.

They have set up a department called the Multi-Faith Centre who treat with silence, any contacts I make regarding Serampore College and William Ward. I am always referred to it when I try to talk about missionary work at the Derby churches I attend. It was set up by a Baptist who attended Broadway Baptist Church.

Rev. Pike, a predecessor of the present minister of the Baptist Church I attended, when he heard of the disastrous fire at the Serampore Printing Office in the early 19th century, immediately set off around England to collect funds to re-build it. He also set up the General Baptist Missionary Society, which later amalgamated with the Particular Baptist Missionary Society, founded by Carey. Rev. Pikes’s meetings were often so well attended that all the stairs and window sills were filled. He also trained two Baptist missionaries in his own home who later went to Orissa.

About a month ago I visited this Baptist church on a Wednesday evening. The same space where the Baptist Missionary Society held its Annual General Meeting in 1947 at which my father was made a missionary. A table tennis competition was underway and two table tennis tables were set up in the middle of the Church. The present minister wants to hear nothing about Serampore, and refers me to the Multi-Faith Centre instead. She is a product of Bristol Baptist College.

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Bristol Baptist College.

Bristol Baptist College was founded in 1720 and is the only surviving Dissenting Academy to have retained its original name and the only one to have stayed in the city in which it was founded. The other three surviving Dissenting Academies (Regent’s Park College, Harris Manchester College and Mansfield College) all moved to Oxford.

Other products of Bristol Baptist College are:

Dr. Joshua Marshman D.D. (1768-1837), founder member of the Serampore Mission and Serampore College. He wrote the prospectus for the future Serampore College and published it on 15th July 1818. Joshua’s wife Hannah founded the Serampore School in 1800;

Rev. William Hopkins Pearce (1794-1832) was attending Bristol Baptist College when he was recruited to the Clarendon Press, Oxford, by the Superintendent (later to become Oxford University Press, the largest university press in the world) before founding Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta, in 1818;

Rev. Eustace Carey (1791-1855), William Carey’s nephew;

Professor John Mack, who was recruited by William Ward to be Serampore College’s first professor;

Rev. John Ryland (1753-1825) was the Principal of Bristol Baptist College when William Ward visited him there in May 1819 (twenty-six of Ryland’s students served with the B.M.S);

Rev. John Sutcliff (1752-1814), friend of Rev. John Ryland and Rev. Andrew Fuller. One of the founders of the Baptist Missionary Society.

The Tyndale window from the original

Bristol Baptist College building.

William Tyndale (1494-1536) was the first

to produce an English Bible drawing directly

from Hebrew and Greek texts, and the first to

print the Bible in English in 1535.

He was tried and found guilty of heresy and

was strangled at the stake before his body

was consumed by fire.


‘THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CAREY, MARSHMAN AND WARD, EMBRACING THE HISTORY OF THE SERAMPORE MISSION.’ John Clark Marshman. Volumes 1 & 2. London. Longman, Brown, Green, Longman & Roberts. 1859.


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