Monday, March 10, 2014

Supporting the Call

I believe it is very important for the church to confirm a man's calling. Unfortunately many are deluded as to their calling. It is by no means unknown for a man or woman to feel called to tasks that they are not suited to or equipped for. The prayerful judgement of the church is a safeguard against vainglorious feelings and egotistical desires.
The church needs to take its responsibility in this regard very seriously. Care needs to be taken and prayer made for sound judgement. Christians should beware of having a plank in the eye. Jesus wasn't thought highly of in his home town and uttered those sad and dispiriting words: "A prophet is not without honour save in his own country."
Much is always made of the response of J.R. Ryland when William Carey raised the question of whether it was the duty of all Christians to spread the Gospel throughout the world at a minister's meeting of Particular Baptists. He is said to have retorted: "Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine." The impression is sometimes given that Carey ignored the put down and was on the next boat to India.
This is far from the truth. Instead he worked to overcome opposition to missionary enterprise and eventually the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen (subsequently known as the Baptist Missionary Society and since 2000 as BMS World Mission) was founded in October 1792, including Carey, Andrew Fuller, John Ryland, and John Sutcliff as charter members. They then concerned themselves with practical matters such as raising funds, as well as deciding where they would direct their efforts. A medical missionary, Dr. John Thomas, had been in Calcutta and was currently in England raising funds; they agreed to support him and that Carey would accompany him to India.
Carey only went to India after his call was confirmed by the association of churches to which he belonged.

J. Reed in his online commentary on Romans. 
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