Originally set in motion by William Carey, the voluntary society was a voluntary association of Christians to a common end. The missionary society was one early form, and the voluntary society transformed nineteenth-century Christianity. It was invented to meet a need rather than for theological reasons, but in effect it undermined the established forms of church government. It made possible interdenominational action without raising troubling questions of church structure, because they were working together for commonly defined purposes. It also altered the power base in the church by encouraging lay leadership.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Voluntary-Society, William-Carey[/tags]