Baptists > History > William Carey
English Baptist Missionary to India 1761 to 1834
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   "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 the world.
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