Englishman william Carey (1761–1834) is nearly certainly the most famous missionary in Baptist history. Had there been no william Carey, that is uncertain whether there would certainly have ever before been an Adoniram Judson, Lottie Moon, or bill Wallace. Carey has actually been dubbed the dad of the contemporary missions movement in the English-speaking world since of his forty-plus years as a missionary in India and the duty he played as a missions apologist.

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Pastor and also Missions Advocate

Carey was converted while functioning as a blacksmith’s apprentice together a teenager and then baptized by a Baptist pastor named John Ryland Jr. In 1783. Carey pastored a village church in Moulton, Northamptonshire, but since the church to be unable to financially support the Carey family, he likewise worked together a grammar school teacher and also a shoes cobbler.

Although Carey was greatly uneducated, he to be a voracious reader that became really interested in literature about foreign lands, specifically Captain James Cook’s journals of his travels. This curiosity around other floor slowly came to be a spiritual issue for the salvation of foreign peoples. Carey progressively mentioned unevangelized countries in his sermons and wept when he questioned those with small access to the gospel.

“Carey had actually come to think that the an excellent Commission the Matthew 28:18–20 to be a binding command top top every generation that Christians.”

As a young minister in the Northamptonshire Association, Carey became close friends with other young pastors favor Ryland Jr., man Sutcliff, and also Andrew Fuller. He was affected by your evangelical Calvinism, which, unequal the leading hyper-Calvinism of the era, contained a commitment come evangelistic urgency.

When Carey attended the 1785 meeting of the association’s Ministers’ Fraternal, he was invited to suggest a topic because that the pastors come discuss. Carey proposed: “Whether the command provided to the apostle to ‘teach all nations,’ was no obligatory on all succeeding ministers to the finish of the world, seeing the the accompanying promise was of equal extent.”

Carey had come to think that the great Commission that Matthew 28:18–20 to be a binding command on every generation that Christians. Man Collett Ryland, the father of john Ryland Jr., publicly rebuked Carey in ~ the meeting, call the young pastor a “miserable enthusiast.” The topic was not discussed that day.

In may 1792, Carey published his treatise An Enquiry in the responsibilities of christians to use way for the counter of the Heathens—a manifesto calling top top the certain Baptists to engage in foreign missions. Later on that spring, Carey to be asked come preach the associational sermon before the 1792 conference of the Northamptonshire Association.

His text was Isaiah 54:2–3.

Enlarge the location of her tent and also let lock stretch soon the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen her stakes; for thou shalt rest forth on the ideal hand and on the left; and thy seed chandelier inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate urban to be inhabited. (KJV)

In this sermon, Carey said that believers must increase the region of the kingdom by taking the gospel to international lands. The sermon, which was the perfect match to the Enquiry, culminated when Carey urged the combination to type a mission society, exhorting them to “expect an excellent things, attempt great things.” despite no activity was taken the day, in October 1792, a team of twelve pastors formed a culture they called The particular Baptist culture for Propagating the Gospel amongst the Heathen, later shortened to the Baptist Missionary society (BMS).

All the the males were negative pastors, for this reason the amount they increased to begin the BMS related to around twenty-three dollars in today’s united state currency. Carey himself was too poor to contribute. Carey’s nearby friend, Andrew Fuller, came to be the secretary that the BMS, when Carey himself became one the the society’s an initial two missionaries.

Pioneer Missionary

In 1793, wilhelm Carey, his mam Dorothy, and also their kid Felix arrived in the British colony of India. Man Thomas, a Baptist physician who had already been working with the eastern India Company, was additionally appointed, bringing follow me his wife and also daughter. Dorothy’s sister Kitty also accompanied the party. The missionaries faced considerable hardship.

The east India agency was opposed to mission work. Therefore the missionaries had to privately sail come India on a dutch ship. When they arrived, Carey and Thomas came to be managers the indigo factory to support their families, but Thomas squandered all of the missionaries’ money. Within a few short years, Carey’s young son, Peter, died, Kitty left the mission come marry a british soldier, and Dorothy began to show signs of mental illness—a problem that at some point took she life in 1807. Yet, Carey persisted through these challenges.

In 1800, Carey relocated to the Danish swarm of Serampore, wherein he continued to be until his death in 1834. He joined two brand-new missionaries in Serampore: Joshua Marshman, a gifted preacher, and also William Ward, a printer. Collectively, the three missionaries became known as the Serampore Trio.

In 1805, Carey, Marshman, and also Ward drafted the Serampore type of Agreement, i beg your pardon laid the end their missionary approach. The file proved really influential amongst later missionaries. As the trio’s missionary work was chronicled in the Periodical Accounts loved one to the Baptist Missionary Society, they influenced others everywhere the English-speaking people to prize God’s call to missionary service.

The legacy of william Carey

Carey and also his colleagues offered as role models for a holistic vision that mission work. In 1800, Carey finally baptized his very first convert, Krishna Pal, that soon became an evangelist. Despite these early on years that minimal fruit in regards to conversions, by 1821, Carey and also his associates had baptized 1,407 converts. Marshman confirmed the most gifted evangelist and apologist ~ above the team.

Carey’s great gift to be linguistics, so he translated the Bible and also various various other works into Bengali and several various other dialects. Ward printed and also distributed this resources. Carey’s meeting to holy bible translation proved his most crucial legacy, and his Bengali holy bible was widely used, ending up being the communication for succeeding translations in the language.

The Serampore Trio also supported education, establishing Serampore College. Although the school educated believers and also unbelievers, its primary goal was to train indigenous ministers. Carey and also his colleagues likewise labored for social reform. Most famously, he was a fierce doubter of the practice of widows burning themselves upon their late husbands’ funeral pyres—a horrific exercise that to be often compelled upon widows who had small voice in Indian culture.

“Carey’s holistic strategy to missions gives a layout for missionaries that wed evangelism, translate in work, and ministries that contribute to human flourishing.”

William Carey proceeds to it is in revered because that his location in the history of evangelical missions. His journals and also letters, his Enquiry, and the Serampore form of Agreement continue to accumulate a passion for fulfilling the good Commission. His holistic technique to missions provides a design template for many missionaries that wed evangelism, translate in work, and also ministries such together education, social reform, and health treatment that add to person flourishing. Contemporary believers would do well come become an ext familiar with Carey and his missionary legacy.

Nathan A. Finn is provost and dean that the college faculty at phibìc Greenville university in Tigerville, southern Carolina. He has actually written widely on Baptist background and the history of Baptist missions, including coauthoring The Baptist Story: from English Sect to global Movement.

Recommended Resources

William Carey, An Enquiry right into the obligations of christians to Use way for the conversion of the Heathens (1792).

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Timothy George, Faithful Witness: The Life & Mission of wilhelm Carey (New Hope, 1991).