LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

A BIOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH PAPER ON THE LIFE OF WILLIAM CAREY

A Paper Presented to Dr. Gary Tomlin In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course CHHI 692

Christopher Ellis July 10, 2011

.................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS Biographical Outline .. 3 Influence on American Christianity..................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Writings Produced ............................................................................................ 4 Biography of Carey¶s Life and Work ....................... 14 2 ....... 6 Personal Evaluation of Carey¶s Life and Work ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 11 Bibliography ..........................................

Death and Legacy a. Lead to Christ at 17 b. Carey became a cobbler III. without a Seminary Education 1785 IV.BIOGRAPHICAL STUDY OF THE LIFE OF WILLIAM CAREY BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE I. England II. Arrives in India. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the Heathen formed 2 October. Died 9 June. Born and lived in Paulerspury. Publishes An Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens b. Missionary Society Formation and Sending a. 1767 b. 17 August 1761 b. Edmund. Called to Pastor. Health prevented field work. Born to Peter and Ann Carey. fundamentally changed Indian culture VI. Father. works to end the practice of sati. contributes to education. 1834 b. Service in India a. Translates Bible into various languages an dialects. Genealogy and Early Years a. ³Father of Modern Missions´ 3 . 1792 V. Education and Trade a. was a schoolmaster. Conversion and Ministry a. 11 November. 1793 b.

Stephen Neill wrote: He saw missionary work as a five pronged advance. 224. He is the catalyst for Adoniram Judson coming to India. It is through Carey¶s brave sacrifice that the chokehold of the hyper-Calvinists was broken. 3. 5. 4. A History of Christian Missions. Penguin Books: England. 2. The support of the preaching by the distribution of the Bible in the languages of the country. 4 . with equal attention directed to each of the five elements: 1. p. WRITINGS PRODUCED The most important of Carey¶s writings is An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. A profound study of the back-ground and thought of the non-Christian peoples. The training of local Pastors to start the churches and to finish the work is now standard operating procedure within most foreign missions agencies.INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY William Carey¶s influence on American Christianity lies mostly in the realm of foreign missions. The establishment at the earliest possible moment of a Church. Bible translation was important. the method of Foreign missions was to send missionaries and start Western Churches. or Western-styled Churches. The training at the earliest possible moment of an indigenous ministry1 For much of the twentieth century. It was not until late in the twentieth century that the use of indigenous peoples became the focus of mission sending agencies. Carey held to a five-fold approach to missions that has only recently been reflected in the paradigm shift in world missions. The widespread preaching of the Gospel by every possible method. 1990. When David Platt published his now 1 Stephen Neill. but the methodology remained thoroughly Western.

nor thieves break through and steal. 2 5 . what a treasure. but it is nevertheless encouraging. It is true all the reward is of mere grace. Carey¶s was doubly so in 1792. this author realized quickly that Platt¶s idea was little more that Carey¶s question stretched to an American-Dream framework. It is also declared that whatsoever a man soeth. Surely a crown of rejoicing like this is worth aspiring to. bear near relation to that which now is. and the seed. a relation similar to that of the harvest. It would be remiss to not mention Carey¶s Bible translation as being among his important writings. that also shall he reap. and Elliot. who have given themselves wholly to the work of the Lord. Champaign. The value or detriment of these writings cannot be judged accurately for they did not survive history. Carey was oft criticized for his translation work and through the years all of his translations were replaced3. An Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Radical. who by their labours have been brought to the knowledge of God. Surely it is worth while to lay ourselves out with all our might. and Brainerd. what a harvest must await such Characters as Paul. 224. and others. However applicable Platt¶s book is to the Church today.bestselling book. the heartbreaks or laboring amongst a people who see him as entirely foreign. These Scriptures teach us that the enjoyments of the life to come.2 Carey¶s impassioned plea did not fall on deaf ears for this was the springboard that launched the British Mission Society. His personal correspondence has shed much light on the life of this great missionary. where moth nor rust doth corrupt. It is through these letters one sees Carey¶s William Carey. 2007. We learn of his first wife¶s mental illness. 3 Neill. IL: Book Jungle. FINIS. They do serve as an example of how translators must learn idiom within a given language. of Britons amongst the rest. Carey closes his pamphlet with thus: We are exhorted to lay up treasure in heaven. in promoting the cause. and his dedication to his Lord. and kingdom of Christ. What a heaven it will be to see the many myriads of poor heathens.

At the age of twentyfour. Edmund. The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey. The newly weds were poor. Edmund married Elizabeth Wells in Towcester. It is through his correspondence that word gets back to England concerning the practice of sati. moving his mother into their home as well. 1761. He was childless. William was the joy of his grandmother. Peter returned to England with stories of the wilderness and of the battles between the French and the English to control the territory of Canada.heart. She died a few years later and William¶s uncle. but Edmund worked hard to provide. this school did afford a select number of children a place in which to learn. Edmund had a brother ho had gone to the wilderness of Canada earlier. had returned form Canada. a son was born to Edmund and Elizabeth and was named after Ann¶s firstborn. p. 2000.65. the influence of which is vastly evident in William¶s later life. named Peter after his father. Edmund¶s deceased brother. 4 6 . On August 17.4 BIOGRAPHY OF CAREY¶S LIFE AND WORK William Carey was born on August 17. Edmund was educated in the same school his father had held the headmaster position in years earlier. Small as it was. was the first headmaster of an endowed school for grammar. a son. Carey¶s grandfather. Peter Carey. He had learned the former trade of his father and excelled at the loom. It was a humble beginning in a small town called Paulerspury in Northampton. England. He would return to England later in life and be a mentor to one young William Carey. which garnered him special attention. 1761. Georgia: Smyth & Helwys. The stage was that of Anglican heritage and access to public learning. Macon. Terry Carter. the ritual burning alive of women on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. Peter died in his forties leaving Ann Carey to rear their child. Uncle Peter was to influence his nephew very much.

The position provided a nice home close to the school with a virtual playground of plants and animals. of rivers. William suffered from a skin condition that prevented him from being in the sun for long periods. Somerset. falls. He enjoyed the factual accounts over the fictitious ones. 7 . His father may have seen the weaving business¶ demise and chose for William instead the trade of shoemaker. the schoolmaster position was vacated and Edmund was asked by the Anglican Church to take the position. William was six and was now moving geographically and socially. and lakes. Peter poured himself into young William and developed in the younger a love for botany. William Carey had demonstrated his gifting in languages. His father soon realized that his son would need a different trade and searched long and prayerfully for the perfect master to apprentice his son. 2008. By the age of twelve. S. foreign lands. His prior studiousness and work ethic made him the natural choice for the position. science. of its woods and winters. and travel. causing his skin to redden and swell and prevented him from sleeping. study. The advancement of technology played another role in finding William a different trade. beasts and birds. and foreign peoples. he had memorized a Latin vocabulary. Even at this young age. In 1767. As much as he loved wedding his rows in the garden. William exhibited keen interests in math. especially William. casting the spell of the New World about him. of Canada¶s Indians and French people. Even at a young age.´5 Indeed. William Carey. London: Butler and Tanner. trees and flowers. Frome. biology. This bodying of learning at such a young age would continue throughout Carey¶s life and put to full use while a missionary in India. 15. He preferred to read Columbus to Crusoe. Still. Clarke Nichols 5 Carey. he labored in the sun as much as possible. Peter ³drew his nephew to him telling him tells of ships and the sea. There was an orchard and a moat that afforded William the opportunity to explore. and learn a great deal. Pearce.but he was very fond of children. the condition left him in pain.

Scott was self-taught in Biblical languages. William would soon discover that Nichols was not. Warr¶s grandfather had helped to found Potterspury¶s Independent Church and Carey had distaste for Dissenters. It seems the master shoemaker was also a master sinner. This was not the cold. who was a few years older. he worked with another young lad. Carey¶s father and grandfather had been servants in the Anglican Church.´6 In September of 1779. particularly Carey¶s. 25. as was Carey. The hidden face of Nichols put a sour taste for religion in the mouth of the young apprentice. Pearce Carey notes that these people seemed to have ³ a closer hold on God. This did not dissuade Carr in the least as he kept up his pursuit of Christ for himself and eventually claimed Him as his Lord and Savior.of Piddington became William¶s master. formalistic Christianity he had come accustomed to in the Anglican Church.7 It is interesting to note the influence that knowledge of these languages would play out in the lives of these men. one John Warr. During William¶s apprenticeship in the shoemaker¶s shop. Carr eventually convinced Carey to accompany him to one of their prayer gatherings where a spark was lit in Carey¶s heart. Thomas Scott and Robert Hall were both confirmations of sorts to the conclusions Carey himself was arriving at in his own studies. 8 . men that would ultimately push him to a truer understanding of the gospel and sharpen his Calvinistic views. It was after Nichols¶ death that God introduced a few other influential men into the life of William Carey. Hall emphasized the individual¶s sole responsibility to claim Christ as his own thus confirming Carey¶s Calvinistic beliefs and not the hyper-Calvinism that was becoming 6 7 Carey. Carey. 28-29. Author S. an apparently devout Christian. After all. Nichols lay dying. The two young lads he had agreed to take on as apprentices were able to share the gospel with him and lead him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

34. Baptist Theology: A Four Century Study.10 She came from a Puritan home and was known to be a godly woman. Smallpox broke out in Ibid. He was called to pastor in 1785 and was ordained in 1787. ³Expect great things. 2009 10 Carey. the immorality. Attempt great things.. Carey preached his famous sermon on Isaiah 54:2-3 where he pronounced. a door opening into hell. S. James Leo Garrett. Carey pressed evermore into his service for the gospel. Ryland was a Baptist minister in Northampton. Macon. Their first child died of fever. a drama of the world¶s tragic ignorance of Christ. yet rich in fellowship and love. William Carey and Dorothy Plackett were joined in holy matrimony.. GA: Mercer University Press. 31. Carey suffered through one of their roughest winters and even resorted to selling repaired. 35 9 8 9 . Dorothy was the daughter of one of the ministers leading the Dissenter Prayer Meeting known as the Hackleton Meeting.´9 In the summer of 1781. Carey was baptized by immersion in October of 1783 by John Ryland. Having arrived at the conviction that baptism was indeed for believers only.´12 Carey was tremendously burdened for the heathen from this point on and prayed much for the lost inhabiting the places that Captain Cook written about in his logs. He ministered among a people poor in riches. 29. Pearce Carey wrote: ³«the log books changed into something deeper ± a revelation of the sin and sorrow. cruelty and misery of unevangelized peoples. 12 Ibid..8In 1792. Life was hard for British merchants after the embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Americans. She was also five years his senior. 11 Ibid. used shoes to provide for his family.predominant line of thinking among Evangelicals in England.11 It would seem that Carey was always a man to struggle through whatever came his way in order to survive. Carey would soon come to read some of Captain Cook¶s log books describing his voyages and discoveries in the South Pacific.

Moulton in 1788 and caused a great number of deaths in his pastorate. Besides. ³Young man. he would go wherever they would send him. sit down.´ He professed the idea that his own countrymen had access to the gospel. He was often heard to say that if his friends would support him for a year. sit down! You¶re and enthusiast. 13 14 Ibid. When God pleases to convert the heathen.. but Carey was still deeply burdened by this. 47 Ibid.14 Against fierce opposition from his own colleagues. He has secretly been gathering information and studying the people groups of the world so that he might more adequately present his case and the enormity of the Church¶s duty that lay before them. yet many chose to not draw near and hear. The heathen on the other hand. When pressed that the Lord¶s commission extended only to the Apostles. nor the gospel in their own language. He¶ll do it without consulting you or me. He had a world map that hung in his shoe making shop and he had sown a leather globe together using different colored leather for the nations. then world missions must no less. It was here that Carey¶s question of whether or not the great commission applied to ministers of every age and not just the apostles¶. there must be another Pentecostal gift of tongues!´13 The hyper-Calvinism of the day had reached its zenith. this lay preacher had traced God¶s hand of Providence throughout Scripture and time. William Carey was a man deeply burdened by the lostness of the world. From meager means and beginnings. 48 10 . ³Then why do we baptize? If baptism concerns us. had neither such ministers. Carey was encouraged to write and publish a pamphlet that described the Church¶s need to reach the lost in the uttermost parts of the world. Carey responded. Carey was admitted into the Northampton Fraternity of Ministers. knowing that Captain Cook had described cannibals on the islands he had visited.. It was John Ryland¶s father who reportedly brushed Carey¶s question aside by stating.

Fuller 38. Crusader for Women¶s Rights. Public Servant. Industrialist. Good News Publishers.17 Carey went home to be with the lord on June 9.´16 From this meeting. This was unprecedented. The work was far from easy and was ripe with trials. Library Pioneer. ³The faith of five ± Carey. Carey 31. Fuller. This was a cooperative of individuals using their own provisions to send a peer to a heathen land. nor asked for any outside establishment assistance. Ibid. Economist. The tenacity exhibited in his youth would raise its head again as an older man and Carey would labor for 40 years amongst the Hindu people of India..Sutcliff 40. Agriculturalist. Forest Conservationist. Wheaton:IL. He did not quit when Ibid. Astronomer. They required. Moral Reformer. PERSONAL EVALUATION OF CAREY¶S LIFE AND WORK Carey¶s boldness as a young Pastor to question the status quo of foreign missions is very encouraging. The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture. Carey would journey on to India as a missionary. 16 15 11 . S. and Pearce 26. He had labored for 40 years amongst the Indian peoples. Though many had gone in the name of established churches or on their own. Pearce Carey wrote. Pearce. Medical Humanitarian. Translator and Educator. and Cultural Transformer. this was the first time a group of ministers had gathered to send one of their own with their own means for support.in founding a missionary society with such humble and feeble backing was entirely new in modern British history. 87 17 Vishal & Ruth Mangalwadi. He can be labeled: Christian Missionary and Botanist. 1792 in a small parlor.. Media Pioneer. 1834. Ryland.A Baptist Missionary Society was born on October 2. 84.´15 He went on to describe this group as ³relatively young. Ryland 39. 1-25. and Sutcliff. His patience is a testimony to his commitment to his Lord. 1999.

2. and throwing rather loud tantrums. even making the journey to India.´ Dorothy Carey succumbs to the pressures of being a missionary wife. Dorothy Carey was the first wife of William and the wife of his formative years. Her delusions include accusing William of adultery. not just himself. troubles this author. cussing. or to challenge denominational authority and superiors was handled with the upmost care. When one researches the life of William Carey. Carey would have been forced to return to England. would carry out Christ¶s commission. where would the state of world missions be? This event was difficult to deal with and still lingers in thought. makes the five-month journey at the end of her pregnancy only to give birth in India. they will find that one aspect of his life is often glossed over. they could not have looked after their children in the early years 12 . ³Perhaps her sacrifice was not a voluntary one. studying maps. why did he not more fully consider the ramifications of his decision? On the other hand. The confidence to go against the status quo. 3. however much he is to be admired. but it was a sacrifice none the less. and researching methods by which the Church. Had she come from an educated upper-class background.first remanded by the senior Ryland. when mission support was not there. suffers from dysentery. Had she insisted on studying and ministering. On one hand. This episode in Carey¶s life. She even goes after him with a kitchen knife at one point. suffers the death of a child. is secluded in a foreign land with little help. According to the Mangalwadis: Yet it had been Dorothy¶s sacrifice that had enabled Carey to do all that he did: 1. but rather began collecting data about foreign peoples. Had she refused to come to India. James Beck has written. She later goes mad. Carey must have spent hours in prayer and knew that he was on solid footing when pressing these issues. she might have completely refused the poor lifestyle they had to accept during the early years. had he not gone.

5. 222. God. Pastors should be gathering information on unreached people groups as Carey did. Carey himself notes the work of John Elliot and David Brainerd among the natives of North America. 54-55. There is a sense that our modern paradigm closely follows his. Carey recognizes that he is not the ³Father of Modern Missions´ as is frequently attributed to him. Instead of sending resumes out looking for work. As a result of her mental illness. Neill. abilities. Ignite in the preachers of today the fire you kindled in Carey so long ago. 13 . grant the tenacious spirit to preserver through trials for Your glory and the greatness of Your name. their vision. Stephen Neill¶s book on the History of Christian Missions devotes eight chapters to mission work previous to Carey publishing Enquiry and the formation of the Baptist Mission Society. their needs and concerns provided for. and mental health were examined. 18 19 Mangalwadi. deliver your church from such thoughts.19 How humbly any minister must feel to read of such a life of service! To sit week after week in a local church with all of its innate struggles grumbling and complaining that the Lord has called them to serve in such a dismal place.4. mission societies began to treat wives as being equally important as their husbands: They were interviewed. God. but there were others who had ventured out into missions prior to Carey ever leaving England. Beck says that Dorothy became the hard anvil on which was hammered some of the success of Carey¶s remarkable career18 In the aforementioned quote from Carey¶s Enquiry.

William Carey. Macon. Frome. Somerset. London: Butler and Tanner. 1990 14 . 2000 Garrett. 2008 Carey. GA: Smyth &Helwys. A History of Christian Missions. James. Pearce. 1996 Carey. Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study. GA: Mercer University Press. Macon.BIBLIOGRAPHY Beck. Penguin Books: England. Wheaton:IL. An Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. 2007 Carter. The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey. Stephen. William. 1999 Neill. Terry. Grand Rapids: Baler House Books. 2009 Vishal& Ruth Mangalwadi. Champaign. James Leo. William Carey. Good News Publishers.The Tragic Untold Story of Mrs. IL: Book Jungle. S. The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture.