May 12th in World Evangelism History

On this day in 1792, William Carey published an 87 page book entitled, “AN ENQUIRY INTO THE OBLIGATIONS OF CHRISTIANS, TO USE MEANS FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE HEATHENS.”

As a young Baptist preacher in England, Carey found himself often ridiculed when he mentioned the responsibility of the Church to reach the lost nations of the World with the Gospel.  Many of the other preachers felt that the great commission was a task given to the twelve apostles and not to the church.  Therefore, they shared no responsibility in spreading the Gospel to the World.

Carey was bitterly opposed to this mindset and used every opportunity given to him to publicly declare the need for the churches to reach out to the unreached nations of the World with the Gospel.  But his words fell on deaf or critical ears.  So he published this booklet to help spread the Biblical truth that the Church is given the responsibility of World Evangelism.

The booklet had five distinct parts to it.  The first part was a study of Matthew 28:18-20 to determine whether the command was given to the apostles alone or the entire church.  The second part is an overview of Missionary work among the Heathen that had already been done.  The third was an overview of world populations and geographical facts.  Sections four and five were defences for the church supporting and sending missionaries to reach the Heathen.

Space does not allow for the entire text to be put here.  But below is a small segment regarding praying for the work of Missions, and then using every available resource to work towards those things prayer for:

Many can do nothing but pray, and prayer is
perhaps the only thing in which Christians of all
denominations can cordially, and unreservedly
unite… We must not be contented however with
praying, without exerting ourselves in the use of
means for the obtaining of those things we pray for.

Were the children of light, but as wise in their
generation as the children of this world, they would
stretch every nerve to gain so glorious a prize, nor
ever imagine that it was to be obtained in any other
way.

When a trading company have obtained their
charter they usually go to its utmost limits; and
their stocks, their ships, their officers, and men are
so chosen, and regulated, as to be likely to answer
their purpose; but they do not stop here, for
encouraged by the prospect of success, they use
every effort, cast their bread upon the waters,
cultivate friendship with every one from whose
information they expect the least advantage. They
cross the widest and most tempestuous seas, and
encounter the most unfavourable climates; they
introduce themselves into the most barbarous
nations, and sometimes undergo the most affecting
hardships; their minds continue in a state of anxiety,
and suspense, and a longer delay than usual in the
arrival of their vessels agitates them with a thousand
changeful thoughts, and foreboding apprehensions,
which continue till the rich returns are safe arrived
in port.

But why these fears? Whence all these
disquietudes, and this labour? Is it not because their
souls enter into the spirit of the project, and their
happiness in a manner depends on its success?—
Christians are a body whose truest interest lies in
the exaltation of the Messiah’s kingdom. Their
charter is very extensive, their encouragements
exceeding great, and the returns promised infinitely
superior to all the gains of the most lucrative
fellowship. Let then every one in his station
consider himself as bound to act with all his might,
and in every possible way for God.

  Source:

William Carey University

Read the full booklet here

Check out bcwe.org

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