Full Text for Church History 3 - Volume 17 - Mission Societies Introduction (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CH3-017 PROFESSOR LAWRENCE REST PROFESSOR WILL SCHUMACHER Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. P.O. Box 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***** >> NICK: One of our congregation member�s mother who is Baptist has visited our church on occasion. She's been very supportive over the years of the Baptist Mission Society and likes to take the opportunity to ask me questions about Lutheran missions. Her interest piqued mine in kind. It led me to do some simple research into mission societies. I was able to find reference to a large number of them on the Internet, some of them still active and some from the past. Yet, I could develop no overall sense of the development of mission societies as a whole. What are they exactly, and what led to their creation? >> SPEAKER: Well, Nick, yes. Thanks for the question. Missionary societies have developed as organizations to accomplish the mission task especially in times and places when for whatever reason the churches seemed unable or unwilling to do so. In the early ages after the Reformation, the European churches, and especially the Protestant churches, saw their responsibility primarily limited to their own people. The Danish church took care of Danes. The Saxon church took care of Saxons and so forth. But when Ziegenbald, the first Lutheran foreign missionary, arrived in India, there were already there Danish pastors who were serving as chaplains for the Danish officials in the colony. But those Danish chaplains weren't really working as missionaries. They happened to be Danish Lutheran pastors working in India. But they weren�t working as missionaries. They were working among the Danish colonists. For a variety of reasons, those churches and structures and hierarchies that were associated with them were simply not equipped or prepared to take the gospel beyond their own group, beyond their own language. So when European Protestants began to be more concerned with their own missionary calling and obligations, and as we've seen, that happens largely under the influence of Pietism, they found that their church structures that they had were not really ready to meet the challenge. There wasn't any mechanism, really, within those church structures for the sending of missionaries. So these European Protestants created new kinds of organizations to get the job done, new kinds of organizations to carry out a newly recognized responsibility and mission task. In the 18th century, there was a climate of initiative and enterprise in many of these Protestant lands in Europe. And such new organizations perhaps seemed like a natural way to solve a new problem. Rather than try to restructure the church, which is always a challenging task, they chose to set up separate organizations in some ways independent of the church structures, to accomplish this task and outside the reach of the church as it existed. Now the first of these societies that's generally recognized was organized in 1792 by the English Baptist William Carey. Carey himself was uneducated and trained as a simple cobbler. Late in his life, someone remarked how amazing it was that a mere shoemaker could accomplish so much, and he corrected them and said, no, I was no Schumacher, I was just a cobbler. But Carey became the first and greatest missionary sent out by the society that he helped organize which was named the Particular Baptist society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen. Sent out by this society, he arrived in India in 1793. The society was not a church. It was a specific organization organized just for the purpose of supporting and sending missionaries. And they sent not only William Carey but also many others including his famous companions Joshua Marshman, who was a teacher, and William Ward, who was a printer. And these three together Carey, Marshman, and Ward, formed the Serampore Trio, the so-called Serampore Trio, and organized educational opportunities, a college, seminary, schools, as well as planting churches, translating the Bible and other literature, and doing a great deal of Christian publication in India. So these activities were supported not by the Baptist Church in England, although the money and recruits came from the Baptist churches of England, but organizationally this was handled by a separate institution, the Particular Baptist Society. And this became, really, the prototype for other Protestant mission societies to pick up and accomplish a work that for whatever reason the existing churches seemed unable or unwilling to do. ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *****