Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (Perspectives) is a fifteen week course about the global purpose of Christians, designed around four vantage points or “perspectives” – Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic. The course has the objective of opening the eyes of Christians to the vision that God has a “world-size” role for every believer in His global mission. The point of this course is to simply show practical examples of how missions can be done wisely and well, against the background that God will fulfill His promises.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3).
I have embarked on the Independent Study Online format of the Perspectives study program and will periodically share a perspective on different lessons.
Lesson 8 – Pioneers of the World Christian Movement: majors on stories of people. Protestant missionaries like William Carey, Hudson Taylor and Cameron Townsend opened up the way for others to follow. Women also presented marvelous examples of missionary endeavors to be admired. I am particularly captivated and inspired by William Carey (August 1761 – June 1834) who was a pastor, part time teacher and shoemaker. As a man with very little means he undertook the task of acting out his conviction which contracted the prevailing view that the Great Commission was no longer applied to Christians.
Early Protestant Movement
The protestant movement started out by attempting to do without any kind of missionary structure. However in the early eighteen hundreds they equipped themselves with organizational structures of missions and began to make up lost time. William Carey was instrumental in this happening and the numbers of Protestant missionaries exploded.
William Carey’s Vision
William Carey’s vision was that Missionary Societies be formed to send and support missionaries. He enquired whether the commission given by our Lord to His disciples was not still binding on wider Christians, by looking at the state of the world regarding religion at that time and consider the practicability of doing something more than was being done. William in a small pamphlet “Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen, 1792,” posits that as we pray for God kingdom to come on earth we should not only pray but use every lawful method to spread the knowledge of Christ.
William Carey’s Motto
William Carey’s motto was “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” As Christians whatever we do is dependent on God and it is with faith in Him already doing great things that we can attempt anything great for Him. Without God first doing great things or us having the knowledge and faith that He can do great things through us, the act of attempting great things would have no basis. We must first expect from God and then to be able to do for God.
William Carey’s Work in India
Carey was instrumental in the forming of a new Baptist Missionary Society, then along with a colleague he then sailed for India in 1793, eventually settling in Serampore. Carey volunteered to go to India to do missionary work. While there he and two others translated and printed parts of the Bible into several Asian languages and founded a school for the training of Indian Christians. With the correct purpose and God as our focus we can achieve what can be considered great.
William Carey’s had a purpose, he had passion, and with hope he carried the mandate of God’s purpose for over 40 years. His achievements are even more significant since in the beginning he was in the vast minority with his conviction. Carey’s exploits resulted in a major revolution in outlook and outreach of the Christian Church, primarily as his emphasis established for Protestants the validity and necessity of a missionary structure. His individual conviction developed a global vision, influenced a group then impacted the world. Williams’ vision became a reality. God’s ultimate purpose is to receive glorify from all nations and as Carey did we also should be motivating by a motto that puts in context who God is and the part we play in His mission to mankind. Carey had a profound impact on world missions and so can the rest of us through God. William Carey was a pioneer of world missions and is today known as the “father of modern missions.” An individual’s effort with God leading can change the world. Thank you God! Thank you William Carey!
– Garfield Miller, Missionary Society (Jamaica)