Over recent weeks I’ve been revisiting the life of William Carey, the first BMS missionary who sailed for India just a year after the Baptist Missionary Society was founded in 1792. That’s because I gave a talk on him at Women’s Own last month and tomorrow I’ll give a second at our Men’s Breakfast. I’ve partly chosen him for both occasions because we have a room named after him at Amersham Free Church and I want to make it clear it’s in honour of an historic Baptist minister rather than a recent Archbishop of Canterbury!
Carey was a remarkable man. He came from
the Particular Baptist tradition that believed in pre-destination to such a
degree that many in his circle considered evangelism totally unnecessary, even
sinful. One senior minister is reported
to have said to Carey at a Northamptonshire Baptist Ministers’ Meeting: ‘Sit
down, young men, if God wants to save the heathen he’ll do it without your
help!’. Well, it might have been
intended as a ‘put down’ but it had completely the opposite outcome! Carey stepped up to the mark and immediately
offered to go to India as the BMS’s first missionary in 1793.
He served there a full seven years before baptising his first convert. He translated the Bible into local dialects
only to have the printing shed burn down one night; so, he started all over
again. His son and wife died prematurely
because of the climate. He worked hard at understanding local vegetation and
working for increased crop yield, helping to form the Indian Horticultural
Society En route. He participated in
setting up the first Theological College in India at Serampore, with a charter
to award degrees from the King of Denmark.
And he campaigned for the abolition of ‘Sati’ – the tradition of burning
the widow on her husband’s funeral pyre.
Carey was such an all-rounder. For him mission was about body, mind and
soul. In fact, the BMS have pretty much
taken that as their template ever since.
He was a trail blazer – and although I guess it’s not his greatest
honour, he is more than worthy to have a room named after him at AFC!
Had lunch today with George IV! Perhaps I need to explain that. Before attending Great Sacred Music at St Martin in the Fields I picnic...
We slipped into the Jewel House around lunchtime whilst everyone else was tucking into their sandwiches. An hour later and the wait would...
Our Breakfast Furniture!! Last weekend we spent a night in Chichester. We loved walking around the Bishop's Garden and spent Saturd...
During Advent the Baptist Union Retreat Group (BURG) are posting weekly Blog Reflections - they can be found at https://baptistunionretrea...