Discussion Post 1William Carey was one of the most important characters in the global Christian movement. He came up during a time when many men were heading East from England in order to spread the gospel and convert more people in that part of the world. Because of his efforts, he became an important player who would help establish new norms going forward.
One of his first efforts as a missionary was to head to India, where he thought he might be able to make an impact. However, he was quickly shown that he was not welcome there. Non-Baptist Christian groups had control of the area for evangelism purposes, and they were in no mood for competition. They forced him to leave, so he went back and re-evaluated his options and his choices. Eventually Carey settled on a Danish controlled territory within India, where he started to do some of his most consequential work. In particular, he was known for establishing a school there to teach some of the students who would have otherwise been neglected. The school did not focus exclusively on Christianity, but it did teach the gospel as one of its topics. In addition to that, he taught children to read, write, do math, and learn other important skills. In doing so, Carey was able to establish himself in the region and begin some of the school-founding trends.
After beginning some schools for younger people in that part of India, he set about the difficult but necessary business of starting universities there. His stated goal was to ensure that students in India had full access to the information that had been developed at that time in Europe. By doing so, he helped to revolutionize India and also helped to win over many souls. His first founded university served as something of a model for future offerings that were similar. He eventually went on to found the Baptist Missionary Society, and sought to stretch the missionary movement even farther. On a personal note, he was known for translating important religious books from their native English into the Hindi language that people could read and digest in India during that time. By doing so, he opened up Christianity to many more people and allowed them to access the books on their own rather than having to be taught by an English teacher. This increased the scale of the spread of Christianity, allowing for a massive movement that was not necessarily bound by the number of teachers and schools that could be established in the region by the various missionary societies that were operating during that time.
Discussion Post 2
William Cameron Townsend was also an important player in the global Christian movement and in the movement toward expanded missions. He was known in some respects for the same things that William Carey was known for. While Carey came well before, Townsend’s efforts were also critical in opening up the avenues of Christianity to minority people in places where Christianity had not had much penetration. He brought new translations of Bibles and other theological materials to countries where the resources did not exist to otherwise translate these works. This allowed people to access Christianity on their own time in places like Guatemala.
He was known for shifting the focus of missions to linguistics. He came to understand that unless missionaries were able to speak the language of the people they were working with, they would never have a chance to win over those souls for Jesus. With this in mind, he sent linguists with Bibles to various parts of the underdeveloped world, helping these people gain more education and a better understanding of the gospel.
- Smith, George. The Life of William Carey, DD: Shoemaker and Missionary. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
- Svelmoe, William Lawrence. A New Vision for Missions: William Cameron Townsend, The Wycliffe Bible Translators, and the Culture of Early Evangelical Faith Missions, 1917-1945. University of Alabama Press, 2008.
- Townsend, William Cameron. They found a common language: community through bilingual education. Harper & Row, 1972.