In 1792, with a subsidy from a friend, William Carey published the now-famous An Enquiry Into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Many Christians of Carey’s day believed that “when God pleases to convert the heathen, he’ll do it without consulting you or me.” Carey argued instead that Christ’s command to “Go into all the world” was still binding and required action now.

As our blessed Lord has required us to pray that his kingdom may come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, it becomes us not only to express our desires of that event by words, but to use every lawful method to spread the knowledge of his name.

In order that the subject may be taken into more serious consideration, I shall (1) enquire, whether the commission given by our Lord to his disciples be not still binding on us, (2) take a short view of former undertakings, (3) give some account of the present state of the world, (4) consider the practicability of doing something more than is done, and (5) the duty of Christians in general in this matter.

What Happened to the Great Commission?

Our Lord Jesus Christ, a little before his departure, commissioned his apostles to “Go,” and “teach all nations” (Matt. 28:19); or, as another evangelist expresses it, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This commission was as extensive as possible, and laid them under obligation to disperse themselves into every country to the habitable globe, and preach to all the inhabitants, without exception, or limitation. They accordingly went forth in obedience to the command, and the power of God evidently wrought with them.

Many attempts of the same kind have been made since their day, and ...

Subscriber Access OnlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.