Find Me

Find new posts at!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary, American Missions Movement

If you’re like me, you forgot a very important anniversary last Sunday, February 19. No, I didn’t forget my wedding anniversary (I think). February 19 was the 200th anniversary of the departure of Adoniram and Ann Judson and their colleagues from Salem, Massachusetts, the first American missionaries to minister outside the North American continent. Adoniram and Ann were 23 and 22 years old, respectively.

Adoniram Judson

Ann Judson

The Judsons and their companions, all Congregationalists, found themselves in Calcutta, India six months later with William Carey, an English Baptist who eventually became known as the “Father of Modern Missions.” On the way, Adoniram Judson had been wrestling with the appropriateness of infant baptism in light of the New Testament. In dialogue with Carey, Adoniram and Ann became convinced of Baptist teaching on the subject and were immersed in India.

The Judsons continued on to Burma, where they suffered greatly in pioneering evangelistic work that is still bearing fruit today. Meanwhile, the Congregationalists withdrew their support for the Judsons once their new Baptist convictions became known, so Baptists in the States scrambled to pick up the slack. The result was the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America for Foreign Missions, which still exists today under the name International Ministries, the foreign mission arm of my denomination, the American Baptist Churches/USA, which is why I feel like an extra big doofus for not remembering this anniversary.

The Judsons and their colleagues were the first in what became a flood of many thousands of missionaries to leave the United States to proclaim the gospel in parts of the world that never heard the name of Christ. And it all started 200 years ago last Sunday. So happy belated anniversary, and may “recognition of the LORD’s sovereign majesty . . . fill the earth just as the waters fill up the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

No comments:

Post a Comment