The first Protestants to attempt to reach distant peoples with the gospel were the Pietists. Moravian concern, however, was focused on individuals in some European colony, perishing without the knowledge of Christ. The Christian groups created by Pietists were tiny islands in the surrounding sea of "heathenism."
William Carey introduced Christians to missions on a grander scale. He thought in terms of the evangelization of whole countries, and of what happens when whole populations become Christian. He held that the foreign missionary can never make more than a small contribution to the accomplishment of the work that has to be done, and that therefore the development of the local ministry is the first and greatest of all missionary considerations. Above all, he saw that Christianity must be firmly rooted in the culture and traditions of the land in which it is planted. For all these reasons and more Carey gained the title, "Father of Modern Missions."
In 1792 Carey published An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen. It created an epoch. In it Carey took up the five objections that people raised against missions to "heathen" lands: their distance, their barbarism, the danger that would be incurred, the difficulties of support, and the unintelligible languages. One by one he answered these. The same obstacles had not prevented the merchants from going to distant shores. "It only requires," he wrote, "that we should have as much love to the souls of our fellow-creatures, and fellow sinners, as they have for the profits arising from a few otter skins, and all these difficulties could be easily surmounted." He ended his appeal with practical proposals for the preaching of the gospel throughout the world.
In October 1792 Carey, Fuller, and eleven Baptist colleagues formed the Baptist Missionary Society and within a year Carey and his family were on their way to India.
[tags]Baptist-Missionary-Society, BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, history, Pietists, William-Carey[/tags]