Do you sometimes wish when those big Christian anniversaries come around that you had time to read up on all the books that are reissued, reprinted and rewritten? How about a heads up then for 2010 – that will be the 150th anniversary of C T Studd’s birth.
One book that is a must read for anyone interested in this pioneer missionary is The Cambridge Seven by John Pollock.
If you’ve never heard of C T Studd then here is a brief introduction:
Charles T. Studd was a faithful servant of Christ in China, India, and Africa. Charles Born in England in 1860, he was one of three sons of a wealthy retired planter, Edward Studd, who had made a fortune in India. After being converted to Christ during a Moody-Sankey campaign in England in 1877, Edward Studd became deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of his sons before his death two years later. C.T. was an expert cricket player and at nineteen was captain of his team at Eton College. C.T. was saved in 1878 at the age of 18 when a visiting preacher caught C.T. on his way to play cricket. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. C.T gave a rather vague answer after which the guest pressed the point. C.T. then got down on his knees and thanked God. And right then and there joy and peace came into his soul. “I knew then what it was to be ‘born again,’ and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything.” His two brothers were also saved that same day!
But after that came a period of backsliding that lasted about six years. “Instead of going and telling others of the love of Christ, I was selfish and kept the knowledge to myself. The result was that gradually my love began to grow cold, and the love of the world began to come in.” However after going to hear D.L. Moody preach the Lord restored CT.
The Lord continued to work in his life, and led C.T. to go to China. As one of the “Cambridge Seven” who offered themselves to Hudson Taylor for missionary service in the China Inland Mission CT sailed for China in 1885. Once there, they lived and dressed in Chinese fashion and also learned the language so as to identify themselves with the nationals by wearing Chinese clothing and eating with them.
During his stint in China C.T. had his twenty-fifth birthday and inherited a large sum of money from his father’s will. However C.T. felt led to give his entire fortune to Christ!
So to find out what exactly inspired this young man and the other six who left England’s shores for the Far East read the amazing story of The Cambridge Seven.
This book starts with the prayer of an old Oxford Don – Harold Schofield who had laboured as a missionary in China for many years. One day he was on his knees praying, ‘Lord, give me missionaries from British Universities to help in China’. That prayer was answered but not until the day he died for it was on that day that one man D. E. Hoste applied to Hudson Taylor for mission work in the China Inland Mission (Now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). In fact seven Cambridge students volunteered to leave behind cosy lives of wealth and privilege to serve God in whatever way they were led.
These seven inspired thousands of others to think seriously of missionary service. Among them was C.T. Studd, captain of England and the finest cricketer of his day – if he could give all that up, then so could anyone!
The story of these seven are an inspiration that God can take people and use them in incredible ways – if they are willing to serve.
As Pollock says in his book ‘Theirs is the story of ordinary men, and thus may be repeated’. Will it be repeated in your life?