William Carey

William Carey, by Basil Miller ★★★★
I actually enjoyed reading this book, though it has its serious literary flaws. The book is a story of the life of William Carey. Such a man is a story worth telling, leaving England as a poor laborer, though even then, quite skilled in languages, to become a world-famous linguist and expert on the Indian languages, especially Bangla. His perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds is a testimony of faith and love for God that is not commonly seen. It was also a reflection of exactly the problems that we were seeing when we were in Bangladesh, including the continually insincere converts, integrity problems with the converts, serious problems with understanding and commitment from the home mission boards, etc. I felt like nothing had changed over the last 200 years. I was also surprised at how vigorously the British government acted to prevent missions from occurring in India–Great Britain is often thought of as the great evangelical enterprise but it was just the opposite, in that evangelization of the world happened in spite of the British crown. So, what were my problems with the book? I never like hyperbole or extrapolation in a biography. Here are two examples. 1) The title “the father of modern missions”. Now I know that Carey played a huge role in modern missions and probably was more influential than most at getting the work started of translation of the Scriptures into various tongues. I’d be hesitant to call him the grounding father of missions. 2) Frequent statements, like found on page 72, talking about God’s work in settling Carey into the city of Serampore, saying “Truly this was the leading of God”. Indeed it certainly was God’s leading, but even hindsight betrays our ability to know God’s thoughts and intentions, outside of direct revelation from him or through Scripture. It is the same mistake that the Pentecostals make when they speak of God “telling them” something. These criticisms do not diminish the book as a tome worth reading.