On October 2, 1792, 14 ministers gathered in the home of a woman named Martha Wallis and committed their lives and resources to spreading the gospel among the unreached people of the world. This event was the birth of a movement.
By Ryan Griffith, Southern Equip
It was a small beginning that, in the eyes of those present, could hardly have foretold the wide-ranging impact their fellowship would have. A year later, the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen sent out their first missionary – their dear friend, fellow pastor and founding member, William Carey.
Carey was the spark
At a gathering of ministers in 1791, Carey had disputed the prevailing idea that only a Pentecost-like outpouring of the Holy Spirit could usher in the salvation of the unreached peoples of the world. In May of 1792, Carey powerfully argued that the clear teaching of the New Testament was that Christ had accomplished everything necessary for the ingathering of the nations – and that Christians, therefore, ought to “expect great things from God” and “attempt great things for God.”
The gathered ministers were overwhelmed by the strength of his argument, as Carey’s close friend, John Ryland Jr., wrote, “So clearly did he prove the criminality of our supineness in the cause of God.” The ministers immediately agreed to meet again in October to form a society dedicated to such an effort. These shared convictions were clearly displayed in the letter sent by the Society to fellow Baptists at the end of 1792.