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Scripture Memory: Love for Righteousness.

VERSE : Psalm 11:7 “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

16 February 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (The Confidence of the Righteous is in their God, Ps 11:1-7)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Christ is Sufficient for Me, Ps 35:11)

23 February 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Ho Chee Lai (The Compassionate God, Ps 86:14-17)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Patrick Tan (The Resurrection of Christ, Ps 16:10)

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THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS (Part 5)

(Extracted from Jerusalem to Irian Jaya – A Biographical History of Christian Missions, by Ruth A. Tucker)

William Carey

William Carey, an impoverished English shoemaker, was an unlikely candidate for greatness. Yet, he has been appropriately designated as the “Father of Modern Missions.” More than any other individual in modern history, he stirred the imagination of the Christian world and showed by his own humble example what could and should be done to bring a lost world to Christ. Although he faced many oppressive trials during his 40-year missionary career, he demonstrated a dogged determination to succeed, and he never gave up. His secret? “I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” Carry’s life profoundly illustrates the limitless potential of a very ordinary individual. He was a man who, apart from his unqualified commitment to God, no doubt would have lived a very mediocre existence.

Carey was born in 1761 near Northampton, England. His father was a weaver who worked on a loom in the family quarters. Though poverty was the norm for families like Carey’s, life was simple and uncomplicated. His childhood was routine, except for persistent problems with allergies that prevented him from pursuing his dream of becoming a gardener. Instead he was apprenticed, at the age of 16, to a shoemaker and continued in that vocation until he was 28. He was converted as a teenager and shortly afterwards became actively associated with a group of Baptist Dissenters and devoted his leisure time to Bible study and lay ministries.

Despite the economic hard times, Carey did not turn aside from his study and lay preaching: and in 1785 he accepted a call to become the pastor of a tiny Baptist church where he served until he was called to a larger church at Leicester, though even here he was forced to seek other employment to support his family. During these years in the pastorate his philosophy of missions began to take shape, sparked first by his reading of Captain Cook’s Voyages. Slowly he developed a biblical perspective on the subject, and he became convinced that foreign missions were the central responsibility of the church. His ideas were revolutionary.

When Carey presented his ideas to a group of ministers, one of them retorted: “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.” But Carey refused to be silenced. In the spring of 1792 he published an 87 page book that had far-reaching consequences and has been ranked alongside Luther’s 95 Theses in its influence on Christian history. The book, An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen, very ably presented a case for foreign missions and sought to deflate the arguments dramatizing the impracticability of sending missionaries to faraway lands.

After publishing the book, Carey spoke to a group of ministers at a Baptist Association meeting in Nottingham, where he challenged his audience from Isaiah 54:2-3 and uttered his now famous quote: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” The following day, largely through his influence, the ministers decided to organize a new mission board, which became known as the Baptist Missionary Society. Andrew Fuller, the most prominent minister in support of the new society, became the first home secretary, and the first missionary appointee was John Thomas, a Baptist layman who had gone to India as a doctor for the royal navy and stayed on after his term of service to minister as a free-lance missionary doctor and evangelist. Carey immediately offered himself to the new society as a “suitable companion” to Thomas and was eagerly accepted.

On June 13, 1793, they boarded a Danish vessel and set sail for India. The long and dangerous voyage around the Cape of Good Hope was not without its terrifying moments, but on November 19 they arrived safely in India.

The time of their arrival was not favorable for establishing mission work. The East India Company was in virtual control of the country, and its hostility to mission work was soon made plain. The company feared anything that could possibly interfere with its profitable commercial ventures, and Carey quickly realized he was very unwelcome. Fearing deportation, he moved with his family to the interior. Here, surrounded by malarial swamps, the Careys lived in dire circumstances. Dorothy and the two oldest boys became deathly ill, and family cares required Carey’s constant attention. His idealistic dreams of missionary work were rapidly fading.

Soon however, the Careys moved to Malda, nearly 300 miles north, where Carey was able to obtain a position as a foreman in an indigo factory. The years in Malda were difficult ones. Although Carey was happy in his new position and found the indigo factory to be a choice language school and field for evangelism, Dorothy’s health and mental stability steadily declined. Then the tragic death of the little bright-eyed five-year-old Peter in 1794 pushed her over the brink. She never did fully regain her mental faculties.

Despite his traumatic family situation and his continued factory work, Carey did not forget his purpose for being in India. He spent hours every day in Bible translation work, and he preached and set up schools as well. By the end of 1795 a Baptist church had been established at Malda and the services drew large crowds of Bengali people. But there was no fruit. After nearly seven years of toil in Bengal, Carey could not claim even one Indian convert.

In spite of his lack of outward success, Carey was satisfied with his missionary work in Malda and was keenly disappointed to leave in 1800. New missionaries had arrived from England, and Carey’s help was urgently needed in setting up a new mission station for them at Serampore. So he reluctantly departed with his family from Malda.

Serampore soon became the center of Baptist missionary activity in India, and it was there that Carey would spend the remaining 34 years of his life. The great success of the Mission during the early years can be credited to a large extent to Carey and his saintly disposition. His own willingness to sacrifice material wealth and to go beyond the call of duty was a continual example to the rest.

Carey made three translations of the whole Bible (Bengali, Sanskrit, and Marathi), helped in other Bible translations, and translated the New Testament and portions of Scripture into many more languages and dialects. Evangelism was also an important part of the work at Serampore, and within a year after the mission was established the missionaries were rejoicing over their first convert. The following year there were more converts, but on the whole evangelism progressed slowly. By 1818, after 25 years of Baptist missions to India, there were some 600 baptized converts and a few thousand more who attended classes and services.

Despite his busy schedule of translation and evangelistic work, Carey always found time to do more. One of his greatest achievements was the founding of Serampore College in 1819 for the training of indigenous church planters and evangelists. The school opened with 37 Indian students, more than half of whom were Christians.

Another area of educational achievement involved his secular teaching. Soon after he arrived at Serampore he was invited to become the Professor of Oriental languages at Fort William College in Calcutta. It was a great honor to Carey, an uneducated cobbler, to be asked to fill such an esteemed position, and with the enthusiastic support of his colleagues he accepted. The position not only brought in much needed income to the missionaries, but also placed them in better standing with the East India Company and gave Carey opportunity to improve his language skills while being challenged by his students.

One of the most devastating setbacks that Carey faced during his 40 uninterrupted years in India was the loss of his priceless manuscripts in a warehouse fire in 1812. Carey was away at the time, but the ominous news that his massive polyglot dictionary, two grammar books and whole versions of the Bible had been destroyed could not be concealed. Had his temperament been different he may have never recovered; but as it was, Carey accepted the tragedy as a judgment from the Lord and began all over again with even greater zeal.

Carey’s first 15 years at Serampore were years of cooperation and teamwork. The spirit of unity was broken when new missionaries arrived who were unwilling to live in the communal fashion of the missionaries. One missionary demanded “a separate house, stable and servants.” there were other differences too. The new missionaries found their seniors dictatorial, assigning them duties and locations not to their liking. The new missionaries no doubt were justified in feeling slighted. The senior workers were settled into the system, and they were not open to change. But had the junior missionaries manifested the love and longsuffering that had been so characteristic of the Serampore team, the differences could have been worked out.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Bitter accusations were made against the senior missionaries, and the result was a split between the two groups. The junior missionaries formed the Calcutta Missionary Union and began working only miles away from their Baptist brethren.

The ordeal became even more critical when the Home Committee received news and became involved. The original committee of three had increased in size several times, and most of the members knew Carey only through his letters. Fuller and one of the other original members had died, leaving the home committee clearly stacked in favor of the junior members whom it had personally commissioned as missionaries. The members believed that all the important affairs of the Serampore Mission should be under their direct control. Finally in 1826, after years of wearying conflict, the Serampore Mission severed its relationship with the Baptist Missionary Society.

The final split between Serampore and the Baptist Missionary Society was a financial blow to the Serampore missionaries. Although the Serampore team had been financially self-sufficient during most of its history, receiving only a small percentage of its funds from England, times were changing. There were missionaries at more than a dozen outstations who needed support, and medical care was needed for others. No longer could the Serampore team support them all. Carey had no choice but to swallow his pride and submit himself and the mission to the authority of the Society. Soon after that a substantial sum of money and kind letters arrived from the home committee. The healing process had begun.

Carey died in 1834, but not before leaving his mark on India and on missions for all times. His influence in India went beyond his massive linguistic accomplishments, his educational institutions, and the Christian following he shepherded. He also made a notable impact on harmful Indian practices through his long struggle against widow burning and infanticide. But otherwise, he sought to leave the culture intact.

Carey was ahead of his time in missionary methodology. He had an awesome respect for Indian culture, and he never tried to import Western substitutes, as so many missionaries who came after him would seek to do. His goal was to build an indigenous church “by means of native preachers” and by providing the Scriptures in the native tongue, and it was to this end that he dedicated his life.

But it was not just in India where Carey’s influence was felt. His work was being closely followed also on the Continent and in America where the inspiration derived from his daring example outweighed in importance all his accomplishments in India. (To be continued)

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1) Nominations for Election of Session Members, 2014-17 will close next Sunday. Nomination forms are available from the Reception Counter on Sundays, and from the Church Office on weekdays.

2) Infant Baptism on Easter Sunday, 20 Apr 14. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 16 Mar 14. Please call the Church office (6594-9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

3) Life B-P Church Camp, 16-19 June 2014 at Awana Genting, West Malaysia. On-line registration at the church website, www.lifebpc.com/churchcamp2014.htm. Registration forms are also available at the front entrance for those who have no internet access.

4) Gospel Sunday30 Mar 14. 8 & 10.45am. Topic: GPS - God’s Plan of Salvation. Speakers: Rev Tan Eng Boo (English) and Pastor Hendro (Mandarin/Hokkien). Members are encouraged to invite their friends and relatives.

5) Young Adults Fellowship Retreat 2014 will be held at Pulai Desaru, from 15 (Sat) - 18 (Tue) Mar 2014.Theme: Our Spiritual Conversation – Do We Walk the Talk? Speaker: Rev Patrick Tan. More details and sign up at http://bit.ly/yafretreat2014 For any queries, please contact Caleb Chia at 9438 8889 or email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

6) Far Eastern Kindergarten Online Registration: 2014 Pre-Nursery(YOB 2011) & K1 (YOB 2009) - Limited vacancies.

2015 Pre-Nursery(YOB 2012) & Nursery(YOB 2011) - New Intake. Priority registration in February for church members at http://fek.qoqolo.com/cos/o.x?c=/ca4q_fek/registration. Please visit our websitehttp://www.lifebpc.com/fekedu/ or call 6251-3676 for more information.

Priority registration for members ends on 28 February 2014. Public registration begins on 1 March on a first-come-first-served basis.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Thai Service, 2.30pm. Rev Quek at AF Mtg, 1 pm.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11