The Moravian Mission Influence Spreads Throughout the World and to Other Denominations

by the editors

Today membership in the Moravian mission Churches outnumber those at home 4 to 1!

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue 1 in 1982 ]

The BAPTISTS* [* from R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm, A Chapter in the History of Religion, (p. 390).]

For some years, William Carey, the leader of the famous Serampore Three, had ... read the Moravian Periodical Accounts.He referred expressly to their work in his pamphlet, Enquiry into the obligations of Christians to use Means for the conversion of the Heathen ... and (at Kettering) appealed to their exampleSee what these Moravians have done. Can we not follow their example, and in obedience to our Heavenly Master, go out into the world and preach the Gospel to the heathen?

His word meant more than most readers generally suppose. He was referring when he said Moravians, not only to Germans, but to Englishmen. According to one modern writer of mission history, William Carey, the founder with other ministers of the Baptist Missionary Society, was the first Englishman who was a Foreign Missionary.The statement is incorrect. For several years before Carey was heard of, a large number of British Moravians had been toiling in the foreign field... In Antigua had worked Samuel Isles, Joseph Newby and Samuel Watson; in Jamaica, George Caries, David Taylor, Samuel Church ... in St. Kitts and St. Croix, James Birkby; in Barbados, Benjamin Brookshaw and John Fozzard; in Tobago ...”

The METHODISTS* [* from R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm, A Chapter in the History of Religion, (p. 390).]

The first Protestants influenced by the Herrnhut Brethren were the Methodists. In their case, however, the influence, as far as foreign missions were concerned, was only indirect. As John Wesley met several Moravian missionariesDavid Nitschmann on the Simmonds (sailing for Georgia), Spangenburg in Georgia and Boehler in Englandhe must have admired their zeal for the conversion of the heathen ... In his famous The world is my parish,he echoed Zinzendorfs words: We must proclaim the Savior to the world.His gospel zeal led in time to foreign missions. Peter Boehler influenced Wesley, Wesley influenced Dr. Coke who preached in the West Indies; and before the close of the Century Wesleyan missionaries were preaching to the slaves at Kingston in Jamaica.

The MORAVIAN INFLUENCE* [* from R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm, A Chapter in the History of Religion, (p. 390).]

The Moravians had something to do with the foundation of the London Missionary Society. Among the founders of the society one of the most influential was Rowland Hill. He had read much about Moravian Missions, corresponded with Peter Braun of Antigua (a Moravian) and owed his zeal, very largely, to Brauns example. The other founders also came under Moravian influence. They all dipped into the pages of Periodical Accounts, they brought copies of that magazine to their meetings; and in their speeches, they enforced their arguments by referring to what the Moravians had done... the first apostles of the LMS went out with Moravian wisdom in their heads and Moravian instructions in their pockets.” 

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