A Double Helix Explains William Carey’s Baptist Church and Baptist Mission Society. (6th of 8 Illustrations)

Understanding the Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission.

William Carey (1761-1834) was a member of a Baptist Church in England. Carey’s church was a lighthouse, and all who turned towards it could walk in its light. But in 1792 Carey and few other others established the Baptist Mission Society for the purpose of sending missionaries to “the regions beyond.” Here is what Carey wrote:

Suppose a company of serious Christians, ministers and private persons, were to form themselves into a society, and make a number of rules respecting the regulation of the plan, and the persons who are to be employed as missionaries, the means of defraying the expense, etc., etc. This society must consist of persons whose hearts are in the work, men of serious religion, and possessing a spirit of perseverance; there must be a determination not to admit any person who is not of this description, or to retain him longer than he answers to it.[1]

Carey’s mission society enabled him to move to India, carrying with him the flint with which he struck the sparks that brought the first light of the gospel in “the regions beyond.” The church cannot say to the mission agency, “I have no need of you.” Nor vice versa. From Bible times there have been two administrations of God’s redemptive mission.

Next: Churches and Missionary Agencies—Modalities and Sodalities

Here are links to all eight illustrations in this series:

Lighthouse and Flint

Warp and Woof

Two Fishing Boats and a Great Catch of Fish

A Double-Helix–Churches and Mission Agencies

A Double-Helix–”Missional One” and Missional Two”

William Carey’s Two Structures

Modalities and Sodalities

Swiss Watches. Southwest Airlines. H20. Binary Code. Male and Female.

[1] William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, Pre-1801 Imprint Collection (Library of Congress), ed. (Leicester: Baptist Missionary Society London; reprinted by Ann Ireland, 1792); ibid. 81-82. Blincoe: Note that a member of Carey’s mission agency could be removed from membership, even after he had joined. In other words, Carey foresees a screening process to get in, and, if a member fails to keep his pledge, he or she can be removed from the group. All mission societies organize themselves in this way.