Contributions of William Owen Carver to the missions movement among Southern Baptists: William Owen Carver was professor of Christian missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1896 to 1943. More than anyone else, he shaped the theology of mission for Southern Baptists.
Carver's Students in Asia
Many of Carver's students went to Asia and served as missionaries; founded colleges, mission schools, seminaries, churches; and served as professors and pastors. In Japan, Charles K. Dozier founded the Baptist academy, Seinan Gakuin University and Seminary, in 1906. He served as the school's professor and president. Dozier also served as pastor of churches in Japan. His two children became missionaries in Japan. At his death, Dozier's last words were: "Seinan, be true to Christ."
Another of Carver's students, Roger Capps, played a significant role in founding the Baptist seminary in Singapore. Today, it is the only Baptist seminary related to Southern Baptists that has a woman for dean. Capps and his wife Janice served in Singapore until reassigned by the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to mission and education ministry in Europe.
Winston and Margaret Crawley began their service as missionaries in 1947. They first went to China briefly until forced out by the communists. They then moved to the Philippines and served in 1947-1954. They helped found the Philippine Baptist Seminary in Baguio, and Crawley served as an area director of Southern Baptist missions in the orient and as one of the vice presidents of the Foreign Mission Board (FMB). In retirement, he taught in Baptist seminaries in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
Eugene and Louise Hill went to South China in 1935, where he served as both professor and president of the Graves Theological Seminary. Later, he became the FMB's secretary for missionary education, a position he held until retirement.
Beginning in 1948, George and Helen Hays served in Japan, where he was professor and had administrative duties in the Japan Baptist Seminary. Hays also served as the Foreign Mission Board's area director for Far East Asia. Glenn and Polly Morris served as missionaries in China until forced out by the communists in 1952. He then participated in founding the Thailand Baptist Seminary in Bangkok and served as both professor and president. He later was professor at the Baptist seminary in Hong Kong.
Carl and Jeanette Hunker began their ministry in China. They served there from 1946 to 1949 and then served in the Philippines for four years. In 1952, they went to Taiwan, where he was a professor and vice president of the Taiwan Baptist Seminary. He became president of the seminary in 1965 and served in that position until 1981. Baptist seminaries in East and Southeast Asia founded the no-campus Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary for advanced study, pooling the faculties and libraries of eight seminaries, and Hunker served concurrently as its president. In 1999, SBC International Mission Board cut ties with the Asia seminary when it forged a partnership with Mercer University.
Maxfield and Dorothy Garrott went as a missionary in Japan in 1934. Dorothy was Carver's daughter, and her husband served as president of and professor in the Seinan Gakuin Baptist Seminary in Fukuoka. Also serving in Japan at the seminary were Tucker and Elizabeth Callaway and Robert and Kathleen Culpepper. The Callaways began their work at the Japanese seminary in 1947 and later moved on to work in Africa; and the Culpeppers, who were sent to Japan in 1950, later relocated in North Carolina where he was on faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. When fundamentalists took over the seminary, Culpepper became pastor of a church.
Judson Lennon served in Thailand as a church planter. Stockwell Sears worked in China from 1943 to 1951 and then moved to Indonesia to begin Baptist work there. Luther Copeland, a brilliant scholar, and his wife served in Japan. Many more of Carver's students served faithfully in Asia.
Carver's Students in South America
Students of Carver who served in South America include David and Lou Demie Mein, who were appointed to Brazil in 1944. Mein was professor and president of the Baptist Seminary in Recife, Pernambuco. Harold Schaly and Raymond Kolb, other students of Carver, also taught at the Recife seminary. In addition to teaching at the seminary, Schaly served as pastor of several large churches in Brazil. Another of Carver's students, Kermit Schmidt, helped with administrative financial matters of Baptist work in Brazil.
L. M. Bratcher spent thirty-five years (1918-1953) in Brazil as a missionary, and his son, Robert Bratcher, taught in the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rio de Janeiro, beginning in 1949. Later, the younger Bratcher returned to the United States when the Southern and Brazilian Baptists became unhappy with his views about apostasy. He later was instrumental in producing the Good News Bible. Millions of copies of this translation were published and distributed.
Page Kelley taught in the Rio de Janeiro Baptist Seminary. His Portuguese dictionary enabled other missionaries to preach the Bible in the language of the people. Today, his Hebrew grammar is used all over the world in leading seminaries and divinity schools.
Carver's Students in Europe and Africa
In Europe and Africa, Carver's students served with distinction. James Christopher Pool was principal of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomosho from 1938 to 1971. The seminary became an extension of Southern Seminary in 1955. Many graduates of the Nigerian seminary came to the United States for further study and attended all six of the Southern Baptist seminaries. Many of those Nigerian Baptists became leading evangelists, professors, Bible translators, pastors, and denominational leaders in Africa.
Other of Carver's students served in a variety of locations. Robert Lindsay was pastor, teacher, and scholar in Israel for many years, beginning in 1944. John Watts helped found the Baptist seminary in Switzerland. John and Evelyn Hughey served in Spain from 1947 to 1952, before moving to Switzerland. There, Hughey was professor at the Ruschlikon Baptist Seminary. In 1964, he became the FMB's area director for Europe and the Middle East. Another of Carver's students and colleagues, Cornell Goerner, preceded Hughey as area director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. After 1964, he continued to serve as area director of Africa.
Many more of Carver's students have faithfully and effectively ministered throughout the world. I knew or know personally most all of the above named missionaries. All were devout people of God and served with distinction and success. They were pioneers for the faith.
Carver's Legacy as a Caring Christian
I joined the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1951. Dr. and Mrs. Carver were the first to welcome my family and me. My wife and Mrs. Carver became steadfast friends. When my wife died in 1953, my two small sons and I rode in a limousine to the church for the funeral services. When we arrived at the church, a lone figure, an elderly man, opened the limousine door for us. After the service, the same man opened the limousine door for us again. No word was spoken; he closed the door and tottered away. That "doorkeeper" was William Owen Carver, who was eighty-five years old and ill. He had ventured out to show his love and care for a bereaved colleague and family. A few months later, he died. His silent ministry was more meaningful than any words of sympathy.
Henlee Barnette is emeritus professor, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and retired clinical professor, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Louisville, Kentucky.