Published March 1, 2020
William Carey and Andrew Fuller are two of the most well-known names in Baptist history. Carey is considered the father of the "Modern Missions Movement." His willingness to take the gospel to India inspired Adoniram Judson to became a foreign missionary and eventually led Luther Rice to champion the cause of missions in Kentucky.
Andrew Fuller became an advocate for missions through his theological writings. His work The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation inspired Christians all across the world. Scores of Kentucky Baptist pastors such as Reuben Ross, William Ford and Jeremiah Vardeman were influenced to become more evangelistic by Andrew Fuller's works.
Together, Carey and Fuller, along with their friend, John Ryland, founded the Baptist Missionary Society of England in 1792. This society would seek to raise the funds for Carey to sail as a missionary to India in 1793. Fuller famously agreed to spiritually "hold the rope" as Carey went as a missionary.
Many inspiring stories come from Carey's years in India. He worked diligently to translate the entire Bible into the native languages of India. Through his efforts, the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands (sati) was abolished by Parliament. He established 18 Baptist churches and missions and saw hundreds of Indians come to faith in Christ.
Yet one of the most amazing stories involved Carey's own family. In 1812 he wrote a letter to the Baptist Missionary Society of England about his son, Jabez Carey. The 19-yearold had caused much grief to his father because he had not yet trusted Christ. William had agonized in prayer for years over his son's lost condition and now was asking his English supporters to join him in prayer.
As Ryland explained about the lost condition of Jabez, tears streamed down his face and he pleaded, "Brethren, let us send up a united, universal and fervent prayer to God in solemn silence for the conversion of Jabez Carey." One of the men who had been in the room related that these words hit the audience like a clap of thunder as nearly 2,000 people bowed their heads in prayer for Jabez's salvation.
The next mail the mission society received from India contained a letter that reported that Jabez Carey had recently put his trust in Jesus! He even followed his father's steps and became a Baptist missionary.
As we read in James 5:16: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." May we be praying that the same power which saved Jabez Carey will change the hearts of those whom we are burdened for in 2020.
Ben Stratton is pastor of Farmington Baptist Church in Graves County and a Baptist historian with the J.H. spencer Historical Society
Not a subscriber? Want to see more content like this article?
Please subscribe to the Western Recorder print or online edition.
Already a subscriber? Login here.