In their book William Carey: Obliged to Go, authors Janet and Geoff Benge tell of the hardships and victories in the life and ministry of the Father of Modern Missions, William Carey.
While reading this book it gave some great background to many stories about his life that I had only heard referenced before, but had not heard the whole story. For example, many people have heard of the saying that the people in the supporting churches “hold the ropes” for the missionary on the field, but probably did not know that this comes from an event in Carey’s life (pgs. 68, 69). Also Carey’s famous saying, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”, comes from a meeting he had with other ministers who were content to let God do His own work (pg. 63).
He really endured some hard times as a young man. It almost seemed that he was not able to get ahead of tragedy and hardship until later in life. But he never quit. This book is written very positively in the way he handled problems. I have never read his journals, but I am sure he struggled at times with what was going on around him. This book also does not point out some of the failings he apparently had as a father. I have read in other places some harsh criticism about Carey in the way he treated his family. I think it is easier to criticize the actions of people without understanding the times in which they lived.
Like other books in this series, I think the point is to give a general overview of the events in the subject’s life and not get too detailed in reasonings behind why a person made the decisions they did. I also feel that the target audience of these books is for a younger teenage audience as opposed to historians wanting full details of the life of the subject.
Unlike their book about David Livingstone, this one did not seem to flow into a nice easy time line and event structure throughout his life. I think that was more due to the way things worked in the lives of these two men, not necessarily a fault of the writers.
I have friends who have several books in this series and I am very excited about reading each one that I can. If you are interested in Christian missionaries then you will not be disappointed by reading other books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series.
William Carey: Obliged to Go, Janet and Geoff Benge, YWAM Publishing, 1998, 211 pages.