Missionary to India 1761 to 1834
|| "Expect great
things from God. Attempt great things for God."
Every Baptist missionary
recognizes this famous statement that came to us from the man who is attributed
to be the father of the modern day missions movement.
Born in 1761 England, William
Carey became a shoemaker by trade. However, God had other plans.
In fact, Carey would go on
to serve forty-one years of his life in India, translate the Scriptures,
and develop a plan for missions that would revolutionize it as a priority
for every evangelistic Baptist church in the world to this present day.
| Carey's church experience
included being raised in the Church of England. However, he left
that denomination and became a member of a Congregatonal church at age
eighteen. Shortly thereafter, he married. At about the same
time, he was drawn to a Particular Baptist church in Hackleton. He
would walk five miles each way to attend the services of the church.
Consequently, he was baptized
into the church as a member on October 5, 1783. He and his wife then
moved to Moulton where he became the master of a small school and then
beagan pastoring a small congregation in the same town.
It was during this time that
Carey became burdened for the cause of worldwide missions. It was
the ocean voyages of Captian James Cook that first pricked his heart in
regard to the many nations and people who had not yet heard the Gospel
message. In particular, Cook's record of his last voyage spoke to
the young pastor about the need of getting the Word of God to the rest
of the world. By then, he had mastered several languages, had already
become a very well-read theologian, and was now devouring every book he
could find regarding the customs, cultures, and religions of the world.
One day, while reading one
of these books and meditationg upon the total dirth of any kind of missions
emphasis in the English churches, God spoke to him in regard to his own
calling. Carey began sobbing while simply praying, "Here am I; send
me!" However, upon presenting his desire to some of the leaderhship
in his church, a Dr. Ryaland rose to his feet and shouted, "Young man,
sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without
your aid or mine." Others felt much the same.
Let it be understood that
even the Baptist churches of that day were heavily Calvinized. Also,
the concept of worldwide missions had gotten lost amongst a people who
had spent too long of a time simply trying to survive against great persecution
with their more literal Biblical view in tact. Although it is difficult
for us to understand in this day of great missionary activity, Carey was
proposing something in his day that was beyond their ability to comprehend.
It was then that William
Carey wrote what would become the catalyst for a total revival of missions.
His "Enquiry Into the Obligations of the Christians to Use Means for the
Conversion of the Heathen". In it, he answered the arguments of his day
against missions, covered both the Biblical accounts and the history of
the subject, provided an inn-depth description of the various nations of
the world and their religions, and concluded by explaining practical metodologies
in reaching the world for Christ.
On October 2, 1792, Carey
organized the Particular Baptist Missionary Society. It was the proceeds
from his book that got the society up and running.
In less than a year, he,
his wife, Dorothy, and their children left for Inida. For the first
seven years, not one convert was saved. In the meantime, he endured
disease, debt, and his wife's death. Still, Carey endured and began
to see the lost come to Christ. He translated the Scriptures in to
forty different languages. His missionary work in that nation was
so successful that he was able to open a college in Serampore. Once
more, he had fought the then Indian tradition of burning widows on the
funeral pyeres of their dead husbands (sati) and has seen an edict passed
banning the practice.
On his deathbed Carey's last
words were. "...when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey -- speak
about Dr. Carey's God."
Thus begain what we continue
to experience as the modern day missions movement that so characterizes
every evantelistic Baptist church both in the United States and around