Evangelizing Bengali Muslims, 1793-1813: William Carey, William Ward, and Islam

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Evangelizing Bengali Muslims, 1793-1813: William Carey, William Ward, and Islam

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Title: Evangelizing Bengali Muslims, 1793-1813: William Carey, William Ward, and Islam
Author: West, James Ryan
Advisor: Nettles, Thomas J.
Abstract: William Carey (1761-1834) and a printer from Derby--William Ward (1769-1823)--are central figures in discussions concerning missiology. Generally, the importance of Carey and Ward to the early formation of the Baptist Missionary Society (hereafter, BMS) and their ministry to Hindus are accepted points of conversation. Despite the existence of a large body of writings concerning their efforts in India, one of the most important aspects of Carey's and Ward's ministry remains unexplored. The primary goal of this dissertation is to address the two-part question: what was Carey's and Ward's understanding of Bengali Islam and what was their resulting ministry to Muslims in Bengal during the first twenty years of BMS efforts in India? This dissertation argues that Carey and Ward had a deeply-held interest in Muslim evangelization and carried out that interest in an active ministry to Muslims.

The first chapter discusses the context within which Carey and Ward received the Particular Baptist inheritance that they took to India, surveys the current state of scholarship on Carey and Ward in relation to this dissertation, and establishes the research questions that this work addresses. Also, this chapter states the thesis of this work, which answers the research questions based upon the defined parameters.

Chapter 2 establishes a framework through which one should interpret the ministry of Carey and Ward. This framework becomes the answer to the dissertation's secondary research question: they conducted their ministry to Bengali Muslims according to the Serampore Form of Agreement. Surveying the philosophy of missions that guided Carey and Ward provides an essential and foundational insight into their ministry to Muslims.

The third chapter of this dissertation provides clarity concerning the theology and religious expression of Islam in Bengal as interpreted by Carey and Ward. In Bengal, these two missionaries found a deeply embedded relationship between Islam and the Indian caste system, which had tremendous implications for Bengali Islamic theology and practice.

The fourth chapter of this dissertation addresses Carey's efforts to evangelize his Muslim neighbors in Bengal. Carey's established ministerial pursuits shaped Ward during his early ministry to Muslims. The model that Carey established included his pursuit of evangelizing Muslims personally, receiving the inquiries of Bengali Muslims, and a specific message to his hearers.

Chapter 5 turns to William Ward's efforts to propel the ministry forward through his print ministry. His efforts enabled the BMS effort in Bengal to reach out to individuals through the means of print in ways that were inconceivable through personal interaction. Additionally, Ward participated in Muslim evangelism through consistent preaching and occasional debate as well as pastoral ministry over the budding Bengali church.

The sixth chapter concerns a framework that Andrew Fuller and William Ward used to determine the best way to carry out Ward's print contribution discussed in chapter 5. Ward's print ministry caused turmoil in some situations, particularly in regards to his Muslim ministry, almost causing war between Britain and Denmark in late 1807. Fuller and Ward, despite this episode, sought to abide by a principle of selectively representing the missionaries' work in a particular way to their various reading audiences.

Finally, the conclusion summarizes this dissertation's primary contributions to the field of Carey-Ward scholarship based on the material argued throughout this work. Truly, the ministry of Carey and Ward to Bengali Muslims is well represented in this work as restated in the conclusion.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10392/4620
Date: 2014-05-16

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