Book Review – William Carey: Father of Modern Missions

Jun 5, 2014 2541

reviewed by Desmond Ford


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Do you read biographies? If not, you’ve missed one of the greatest aids to successful living. Fools read ·only for information, but the wise read for inspiration as well.

My spiritual horizons widened a hundred fold when over a period of a decade (in the 1950’s) I read biographies of Luther, Calvin. Brainerd. Hudson Taylor, Judson. Moody. Spurgeon. Whitefield. Wesley. and many other worthies. In the treasure trove of the accounts of other lives one learns how God deals with men and movements. It becomes apparent that trouble and perplexity are the norm and not the exception. and that God usually leads a man through hell first before he can use him to lead others to heaven.

Carey was born into a world of less than 800.000.000 – four times the population of Christ’s day but only a sixth of our own, England itself had 8,000,000 people and Carey’s own village only 800 inhabitants. It was a world in which slavery. pressgangs. toll-gates, and highwaymen were familiar. But of chief importance is the fact that it was a world where the church was asleep neglecting the command of the Great Commission. Paralyzed by extreme Calvanistic views. most Christians left the conversion of the heathen to God himself.

Carey’s parents were weavers but in their home was a Bible. At six he could read, and by twelve he was on the way to becoming a linguist. At seven he contracted a skin disease which made sunshine intolerable to him and then later came a fever which left his scalp as bald as a nut. Thus instead of working outdoors he was forced to choose an indoor occupation. A fellow apprentice helped him to see that true religion was not just a profession of a creed but a heart relationship with Christ. Soon he was preaching. even walking twenty to thirty miles of a Sunday to fulfill that privilege. Convinced of baptism by immersion he had become a Baptist.

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