Were the original Baptist missionaries Calvinist?

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    First of all, this is a fellowship forum, so we are not going to debate. This is strictly for information.

    Dr. Bob just wrote that all the original Baptist missionaries were Calvinists. I didn't want to say anything on his wonderful thread about his planned missions trip, thus this thread. On another thread, someone else made the oft-asserted statement that William Carey was a Calvinist.

    My question is, has anyone proven this? I know that Carey was ostensibly a Fullerite, but is there anything in his writings to prove he was a five point Calvinist?

    I particularly wonder if Adoniram Judson was really a Calvinist. Judson was the first Baptist foreign missionary from America. He was originally Congregational, then became Baptist on board ship on the way to India through his own Bible study. I understand that mnany Congregationalists were not Calvinists. I have the thick biography by his son (sent to me some years ago by a BB friend :flower:), and I don't remember anything from that about his being a Calvinist.

    So please help me out here. Show me from the writings of Carey and Judson that they were Calvinists, that this is not simply an assumption. I promise not to argue.
     
  2. Jim1999

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    They were the calvinists of the day. The day when forenowledge played a huge role in God's decisions. He only did what He did because He foreknew man would do what he did.

    So, it's a point thingy.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Jerome

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    Could we add another name to the mix? On another thread they were calling J. Hudson Taylor of all people, get this, a "Calvinist missionary":

     
  4. John of Japan

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    Hmm. Never heard that said, or read it before. Taylor's only autobiographical writing was A Retrospect, which I have, and it is not Calvinistic. Note for example this quote about man's responsibility in winning souls:

     
  5. John of Japan

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    Understand, Calvinist friends, I do know that there are and have been many Calvinist missionaries, some greatly used of God. Here on my own island, one of the greatest pioneer missionary couples was Presbyterian, but fervent soul winners. They planted churches around the island, and there is even a small museum about them in the city of Kitami, Hokkaido. Their names were George and Ida Pierson, and you can read about them here: http://www.npo-pierson.org/eng.pdf. In fact, they started a church in my own city of Asahikawa!

    I'm just looking for primary sources--the writings of the men themselves--of the first Baptist missionaries. I'm not trying to debate this, just looking for original sources, if they exist.
     
  6. TCassidy

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    Both Carey and Taylor were Calvinists. It was Carey's absolute faith in the Sovereignty of God that compelled him to go to the Indian sub-continent and it was his faith in the Sovereignty of God that kept him there for most of his life. In fact, the agreement signed by all missionaries working with Carey in India said, (Form of Agreement of 1805) "we are sure that only those who are ordained to eternal life will believe, and that God alone can add to the church such as shall be saved."

    Taylor had his spiritual roots firmly planted in the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Missionary Society's revival. He was a member of the Westbourne Grove Baptist Church, a church self-identified as a Particular (I.E. Calvinist) Baptist Church.
     
  7. John of Japan

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    Thanks. This is the kind of thing that is needed to prove that blanket statement that Carey was a Calvinist.

    Do you have any quotes from Taylor? The quote I gave would appear to prove he was not a Calvinist.
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    What quote was that? I will have to look but I was also under this assumption he was a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist. Are you aware there was such a thing? The movement was basically started with the participation of George Whitefield who sat on the 1st board meeting. Whitefield was also a missionary to America.:thumbs:
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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    John, Carey came out of the Particular Baptists. By his time period, that movement had split between the Gillites (John Gill formalized their position) and the Fullerites. The Particulars were "Calvinist" and the General Baptists were\are Arminian.

    The Congregationalists were the follow ons of the New England Puritans. Who in turn were part of the English branch of the Reformed movement. The Presbyterians are the Scottish branch. Judson lived only a generation or so after Jonathan Edwards.

    So, yes. The first Baptist missionaries were "Calvinists." Though, how either brother would view those Baptists who identify themselves as such in 2011 is unknown.

    The problem is "Calvinist" among Baptists is somewhat malleable. The word has different shades of meaning in different generations. Please see the last sentence in the paragraph above. In Taylor's case, it means he didn't hold to the standard Wesleyan system of soteriology. And yes, there are Welsh Calvinist Methodists.


     
    #9 Squire Robertsson, Jul 1, 2011
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  10. Havensdad

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    I am a Calvinist, and have no problem with that statement. Whitefield was a firmly entrenched Calvinist, and often made similar appeals. Even Calvin himself recognized earthly circumstances as an expression of God's will (which is all the quote is doing).

    John, I think you are failing to remember that classic Calvinism is compatibilist. Therefore we can think of failure in terms of man's failure, and earthly reasons for it, yet recognize at the same time without contradiction, that failure in those circumstances was ultimately God's will.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well done Havensdad.......you have probably confused both hard determinists in the Calvinist camp as much as the Arminians amongst us but you nailed it......further this becomes a bulkwork against doctrines of fatalism that can occur without proper instruction.

    Splendid answer....I am impressed!:thumbs:
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Folks, I'm looking for original source quotes, not to argue Calvinism.
     
  13. Havensdad

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    John,

    I think it is important to define what you are looking for here. No one is arguing about Calvinism, we are simply pointing out that the quote you gave was not Calvinist or non-Calvinist.

    In order to demonstrate conclusively that some of these men were not Calvinist, you would have to find clear articulations of synergism, or an outright denial of the Sovereignty of God. I think you will find that difficult. The denominational evidence (i.e. what churches they were sent from/associated with), certainly argues for nearly all, if not all, of the early Baptist missionaries being Calvinist.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Thank you for this input. This is why, if you'll notice, I was very careful in my wording about the Taylor quote.

    I'll have another Taylor quote in a few minutes.
     
    #14 John of Japan, Jul 1, 2011
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  15. John of Japan

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    Yes, I was aware of the Calvinistic Methodist movement.

    The thing about Hudson Taylor was that he evolved quite a bit during his lifetime. It's quite possible, in fact I think very likely, that he waa a Calvinist when he was young, but changed. By the time he founded China Inland Mission, he was thoroughly non-denominational, one might even say ecumenical. This is why original source quotes are so important in Hudson Taylor's case.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    My particular focus here is Adoniram Judson. Surely he must be called one of the original Baptist missionaries. Any evidence he was a Calvinist?
     
    #16 John of Japan, Jul 1, 2011
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  17. Jim1999

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    Going back in my memory, we didn't make a lot of calvinism and arminianism per se. We talked about fundamentals of the Christian religion (yes, religion was an acceptable term.)

    On missions, we had our favourite missions and supported them in our churches. The actual missionaries were from various backgrounds, including Anglican.....they just went to serve the Lord and teach the gospel.

    The late Oswald J. Smith couldn't go to the mission field so he formed the People's Church in Toronto and ended up financing some 90 missionaries.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. John of Japan

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    Thanks for the input, Jim. This is a very representative description of evangelicalism in the past.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Here is another interesting quote from Hudson Taylor, describing his message in China, which included telling people that Christ died for them.
    Now someone may object, but it seems the consistent position of someone who believes in a limited atonement is to avoid directly telling people that Christ died for them, since one can't know who is of the elect.

    One who specifically takes this position is noted counseling scholar Jay Adams, a Presbyterian: "As a reformed Christian, the writer believes that counselors must not tell any unsaved counselee that Christ died for him, for they cannot say that. No man knows except Christ himself who are his elect for whom he died" (Competent to Counsel, p. 70).
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Thanks, Squire, good post from you as usual.

    My understanding is that Congregational churches were a variety of types, some Calvinist and some not. So in order to prove that Judson was a Calvinist, wouldn't it be necessary to have a direct quote from him, or at least evidence of the kind of Congregational church he came from?
     

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