William Carey, MBC have something in common
I don’t know about you, but I could use a good missions story right now. Here’s a great one with current application for Missouri Baptists:
After William Carey was well established in his pioneer missionary work in India, his supporters in England sent a printer to assist him. Carey already had spent many years learning not only to speak, but also to read and write the language so that he could produce the Scriptures in the local dialect. Now the missionary society was sending a man who would help William Carey by printing Bibles for the people of India. The two missionaries went to work immediately, quickly turning out smaller portions of the Bible for distribution. They translated and printed entire books of the Bible and eventually all of the Bible. Carey and his assistant even produced dictionaries and grammars for use by other English speaking missionaries who might come along and continue the mission after Carey was gone.
One day, while Carey was away, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the building, the presses, many of the Bibles, along with precious, handwritten manuscripts, dictionaries and grammars. When the missionary returned, his assistant told him of the tragic loss. The assistant was concerned about how Carey might react. Many years of hard work had gone up in flames. The missions ministry of Carey had been dealt a terrible blow.
What would he say? What could he do? Why did this happen? And how?
But even as he heard the terrible news, Carey showed no sign of despair or impatience, anger or bitterness. Instead, the man of God knelt and he thanked God that he still had the strength to do the work all over again. He immediately began the work again, not wasting a moment in self-pity. Before his death, Carey had reproduced the work. He had duplicated and even improved on his earlier achievements. Wow! What faith, courage, dedication, determination, and perseverance!
Missouri Baptists, now is the time for faith, courage, dedication, determination, and perseverance! In the wake of the recent turmoil in our Convention, we have to know that the world is watching the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). I have heard from people in most of the states that surround us, as well as persons from many other state conventions within the Southern Baptist Convention, even from Southern Baptist missionaries currently serving on the international mission field. People all over the world are aware of our situation. Thankfully, the people who have been talking to me are people who are offering prayer and support. Of course, we also know that others are watching. Some are questioning our integrity. Others are taunting us. Many are bewildered. Some are very angry. All are watching to see how we will react to the terrible problems we face.
Some say “investigate!” I’ve even heard “impeach!” Many say “ENOUGH!”
To be sure, explanation is needed. If you have not already done so, please, go to the MBC website (www.mobaptist.org). On the homepage of our MBC website you will find access to two very important documents – “The Report of the MBC Investigative Committee” and a document called “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Executive Board Meeting, April 10, 2007.” I encourage you to read those documents. The report of the Investigative Committee is an edited document. For the protection of some individuals as well as the Convention, sensitive parts of that report have been removed. The FAQs document will answer some, but admittedly not all of your questions. Fellow Missouri Baptists, if you will read those two documents, you will know everything that I know, and likely everything that many of us will ever know about the events of the meeting as well as the events that led up to the meeting on April 10. I am confident that the men and women of the Executive Board are persons with godly integrity. I trust that their actions were necessary and appropriate.
Explanation is needed. So too, patience, grace, understanding, and forgiveness ought to be applied. Missouri Baptists have been dealt a terrible blow. Some say it is self-inflicted. Nevertheless, this is a difficult time in the Convention. Faith, courage, dedication, determination, and perseverance are necessary in these days.
What can we say? What should we do? Why did this happen? And how?
It is interesting that Carey did not get all the answers he wanted and needed. Missouri Baptists also will likely forever have unanswered questions concerning recent events in our Convention. But, I wonder if you will join me in applying faith, courage, dedication, determination, and perseverance.
Many of us feel like we have had the wind knocked out of us. Still, like Carey, let’s kneel down and thank God that we still have the strength to continue the work of God in Missouri.
Certainly, we are concerned for those most affected by the events of April 10. But, like the great missionary, without wasting a moment in self-pity, let’s begin the work again. William Carey improved on his earlier achievements. Likewise, Missouri Baptists can go forward, and eventually, enjoy greater days of serving our Lord and reaching Missouri and the world for Christ. I want to continue “…marching to Zion.” For a while, we may be limping. But we are still putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward. And someday, we will be marching, full force and in full strength, in step with one another and in step with our Lord.