Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens: In Which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings, and the Practicability of Further Undertakings, Are Considered by William Carey

This short work (although the title is insanely long... why didn't he just call it "Some Thoughts on Missions"?) was an insightful work about the need and importance of global evangelism in the Christian church. Carey emphasizes that the need to preach the gospel to all nations is a command a Christ and that believers are bound to this responsibility to take the gospel into the world. Cary uses Scriptural examples from the apostolic ministry passages in Acts and leads through an overview of early church history and mission work, up to post-Constantine times when "popery"(Roman Catholicism) introduced propagation taking place by force of arms, a strictly non-Scriptural practice, where, as Carey observes, “the confessors of Christianity needed conversion as much as the people they ministered to”. Carey then gives an overview of the reformation of the church, starting in 1369 with Wycliffe teaching Biblical Christianity, and how his teachings eventually spread through reformers like Huss, Jerome and eventually through Luther, Calvin, etc, in which the church returned to the authority of Scripture and Biblical orthodoxy. In the following centuries persecution Roman persecution followed, and many sought religious freedom in the new colonies, which eventually leads the overview of history up to Carey's own time frame (late 18th century).

Carey also addresses some of the objections and complaints to global missions, including the barriers such as distance, language difficulties, concerns of safety within other nations, etc. He remarks on all of these with sound responses, and while admitting that missions can mean a sacrifice of affluence and splendor for that of hard work miserable accommodations, potential punishment and imprisonment, etc. he identifies that for many it is primarily a love of ease that stands as an inconvenience to ministry work, and although difficult conditions may be a part of missions, the obligation of believers is to share the gospel message with the world. Rightly referred to as the "father of modern missions", Carey's biography is a fascinating one, and there are few better to address the topic of missions.

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