"The great missionary movement we have today did not exist 300 years ago: it all started with a young thirty year old Baptist minister by the name of William Carey reading an article in England's first missionary magazine reporting on Moravian missions around the world. After reading the article, Carey marched into a meeting of senior Baptist ministers and in front of his fellow ministers threw down onto the table copies of the magazine and said, "See what the Moravians have done! Can we not follow their example, and in obedience to our heavenly Master go out into the world and preach the Gospel to the heathen?" Carey proposed that at a future meeting of Baptist pastors they should consider taking concrete steps to reach out to the world's unreached. A senior pastor curtly told him: "Sit down, young man!" and added, "If God wants to save the heathen, he will do it without your help or mine!" (Tony Keys, First Love Discipleship Series, Philippians - 'For to me, to live is Christ')
The beginning of the modern mission movement emerged out of a self-centered gospel and realigned to a Christ-centered gospel that embraced the spirit of Paul and the command of Christ to go into the world and preach the gospel to all nations. Missionaries like William Carey became discontent with what the church had become and captured a vision of how the world should be. Not deterred by bad theology, wrong thinking or insular tradition; but challenged by the efforts of the Moravians, compelled by the mandate of Christ and filled with the power of the Spirit, Carey inspired a movement of missionaries and societies with a renewed passion to take the gospel to the whole world!
While I am a little uncomfortable with some of the language and perception of this movement, viewing the unreached as 'heathen', I am captured by their courage and sacrifice to GO and advance the gospel to the far ends of the earth. Our missiology may have changed and cross-cultural sensibilities developed, but I pray that our passion for the lost will intensify and inspire a new kingdom-oriented movement of Christ followers to complete what was begun - the Great Commission to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19)