A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

William Carey: The Doctrines of Grace in Evangelism

When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a  shoemaker by trade  is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

 To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:

William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions.  This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel.  In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey.  Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility.  Because he was thoroughly convinced that God wanted to reach the heathen, that the burden within himself for the heathen was placed there by God, he believed it was his responsibility to carry the gospel to them.

What we must ask ourselves is if this theology, this belief that God is 100% sovereign and man is 100% responsible, motivated Carey to reach India with the gospel then why does it not also compel us to reach the heathen as well?  His theology was what motivated him, nothing else.  Without this theology, without his Calvinistic emphasis, Carey would not have pursued the heathen.

So, Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his theology, and the natural outworking of this in his life as a result.  Those therefore who believe what Carey believed, that God needs to be glorified by the heathen; that He loves them, for He created them in His image, should zealously seek their souls by all means that glorify God so that the nations may know Him.  It is amazing to know that Carey was a Calvinist, even though in today’s world, those who believe like him are accused of lacking evangelistic fervor.

Though there were many who believed like Carey, he was the one who consistently lived out the balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.  If we believe like him, are we as zealous as he was?  If theology motivated him, and we believe his theology, then our zeal and passion should be in his likeness as well.  True Calvinists, Carey’s Calvinists and even John Calvin’s Calvinists, will seek the world with the gospel while trusting that the salvation of souls is ultimately up to God alone. [HT Jared Moore]

Evangelism and missions are possible because God will save even to the uttermost. Salvation is a sovereign act of God, initiated by God and sustained by Him. The means He has ordained to reach the lost sinner is the preaching of the gospel. The writer of Romans rightly asks, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” ~Romans 10:14

F. Dealville Walker, wrote of Carey: “He, with a few contemporaries, was almost singlehanded in conquering the prevailing indifference and hostility to missionary effort; Carey developed a plan for missions, and printed his amazing Enquiry; he influenced timid and hesitating men to take steps to the evangelizing of the world.” Another wrote of him, “Taking his life as a whole, it is not too much to say that he was the greatest and most versatile Christian missionary sent out in modern times.”


4 responses to “William Carey: The Doctrines of Grace in Evangelism

  1. Pingback: Lost your zeal for evangelism already? | A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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