Thursday 22 April 2010

Hudson Taylor's Holy Spirit Lineage- Part Two: CT Studd and the Cambridge Seven

Pictures: CT Studd's boyhood house Tedworth House in Wiltshire and inset- his African house in the Congo.

C. T Studd
Continuing from The Cambridge Seven—just two years later in England:
On 4th February 1885, a wet winter's night in London, a large crowd was making its way into Exeter Hall on the Strand. Inside, the hall was rapidly filling with men and women of all ages and ranks. Well-dressed ladies in silks and jewelry whose carriages would be waiting afterwards to carry them back to Belgravia or Mayfair, mingled with flower girls [remember Eliza Doolittle?] and working women in plain dark dresses who had found their way on foot from the East End slums. Small young city men were sitting besides drab shopmen who, on superficial glance, might have seemed more at home in a gallery of a music hall.
On the platform were forty Cambridge undergraduates. Above their heads hung a large map of China, stretching from one side of the hall to the other. On the table lay a small pile of Chinese New Testaments. [Who do you suppose translated them?] At the stroke of the hour the Chairman entered, followed by seven young men, slightly older than the undergraduates but all, from their dress and bearing evidently men of education and position. After prayer, a hymn, and some introductory remarks, the seven young men, whom the world had already dubbed The Camebridge Seven, each rose and told the crowded hall why they were leaving England, the next day, to serve as missionaries in inland China.
One by one they spoke-Stanley Smith of Repton and St Johns [Repton and Eton were the top prep schools in England; Trinity Hall was the living quarters of the upper-crust of British society attending Cambridge University], a former stroke oar of the Cambridge boat [a high-ranking member of the Cambridge rowing crew]; Montagu Beauchamp, of Trinity, a baronette's son; D.E. Hoste, till lately a gunner subaltern son of a major-general; WW Cassels of Repton and St. John's, a Church of England curate; Cecil Polhill-Turner, an old Etonian, who had resigned his commission in the Queen's Bays to join the others; his brother Arthur Polehill- Turner of Eton and Trinity Hall. And lastly, C. T Studd, the Eton, Cambridge and England cricketer, acknowledged as the most brilliant player of the day. One by one they told how in the past year or eighteen months God had called them to renounce their careers and give themselves for Christian service overseas.The Cambridge Seven struck with force the consciousness of a generation which set more store
on social position and athletic ability. In this different age the story of how the Seven was formed, and the prayers of Harold Schofield overwhelmingly answered, is still relevant. Any account of God's working on the human soul is timeless. But the
Cambridge Seven provide particular evidence on the Christian's growth and grace and on God's calling to a life work whether athome or overseas. And if China is again a closed land, though now without its Christian witness, other lands are open and fields at home are waiting. The Cambridge Seven emerged when British universities had been stirred to the depths by the work of DL Moody the American evangelist.
That seventy years later,in similar circumstances, God may call forth similar bands is the prayer of many.'
The first member of the Studd family to surrender his life to Christ was C.T. Studd's father. This happened when he heard D.L. Moody, the famous American gospel preacher, speak in England. Subsequently, Mr. Studd invited godly men to visit his home with the purpose of their winning his sons to Christ. After his conversion, Mr. Studd moved furniture in his house (which was actually a mansion on the Studd estate) to make room for evangelistic meetings to be held there. The previously-mentioned book, The Cambridge Seven, tells that glorious story. It also tells how, along with C.T, these other men who were in their late teens and early twenties came to the decision to renounce their wealth and elite social position

The three cricketing brothers J.E.K., C.T, G.B.
Captains of Cambridge University, 1882-3-4
RH picture The Cambridge Seven

and become missionaries.
It surprised me to read that these men didn't go to the same place, but were sent to different and remote places away from other English-speaking people. Their stories tell where they went and how they lived. Those stories are unbelievable!
C.T. went to China with Hudson Taylor's China Inland Mission and was married there. His wife was a member of the Salvation Army in China. They became the parents of four girls who were all born in China. Because of ill health, C.T. left China and went back to London. After that he spent a time in India, where he became so ill with asthma that he had to sleep sitting up.
Called to Africa
When he returned to England, C.T. spent quite a bit of time traveling and speaking. On a trip to Liverpool, he saw the following notice outside a church: "Cannibals want missionaries." Upon seeing it, he made the following response: "Why, they certainly do, for more reasons than one." After that, at the age of 50 and in ill health, he packed up and went to Africa. First he took a bicycle and one other person and went there to make an assessment of the conditions in the area of the country where he was interested in locating. He chose the Belgian Congo as the region where he wanted to begin his missionary conquest. He came back to England for 18 months, and then returned to the heart of Africa and lived there for the rest of his life-15 years
until he died. He never returned to England.
When C.T. was planning to leave for Africa he was backed by a committee of businessmen. But when his doctor intimated that if he ventured into central Africa, he would die, the committee withdrew their support. C.T. responded, "Gentlemen,
God has called me to go, and I will go. I will blaze the trail and become a stepping stone that younger men may follow" So he went and gave his life. He loved Africa, and its people, and loved him in return.

On the ship headed for Africa, God gave C.T. the vision that he was going, 'Not just for Africa, but for whole unevangelised world." You can read the whole story in Norman Grubb's biography, "CT Studd, Cricketer and Pioneer."

The Cost
A new committee was formed in London that not only supported C.T. but also kept the mission organized. However, C.T. Studd was the mission. Sadly in time the members of the committee became troubled by some of his practices
(You can get the story from a little out-of-print book called After C. T Studd.) Their first concern came when they learned that fellow missionaries brought morphine to C.T, which he used to relieve the pain he suffered from multiple physical maladies. Secondly, they disapproved of a little booklet C.T. authored. This blistering tract was entitled "The DCD." The name of the booklet was adapted from the well-known Army war cry "We don't care a damn for anything but King and country" to "We don't care a damn for anything but Jesus." A group of young Christian men signed a pact that this would be their heartbeat: they would care nothing for anything but Christ and His work. They named themselves "The DCDs."
People in England, church people and so forth, were horrified that C.T. would use the word damn. They also questioned his strict handling of the natives. As one should understand, he was stern with them regarding their sin. C.Us perspective was that he was living and working in the Congo and the folks at home were totally unknowledgeable about the conditions on the field. He was dealing with a very primitive and undisciplined people. Sin, particularly adultery, was practiced by everyone. It wasn't just that it was rampant—it was a way of life, and it was C.Us responsibility to deal with it. If a man called any woman, she had to submit to his desire at that moment. One of the ways he dealt with their ever-present transgressions was to delay baptism for new converts. Because the committee back in England disagreed both with C.Us theology and his practices, they came very close to cutting ties with him completely.
Norman Grubb and Pauline, Norman's wife and C.Us youngest daughter, were serving the mission from London. They were aware of the intentions of the mission board, and were very disturbed about it. They wanted to meet with C.T. one more time and apprise him of the state of affairs on the home front. About that time a letter arrived from C.T. In it he casually mentioned his desire to see them again. They took this suggestion as permission to immediately visit Studd in the Congo. (The trip took months.) When they arrived, he was shocked to see them. He asked quite sternly, "What are you doing here?" They answered that he had written that he had wanted to see them. Their real reason for going was to discuss the news of the committee. The following is a story Norman loved to tell. I don't know if this is in a book or not.
The committee sent representatives to Africa to personally tell C.T. that he was fired. But they didn't know exactly where he was located. They got very close they actually had their camp across the river from where C.T. lived. He and the others knew the committee representatives were on their way. One of the missionaries' prized possessions was canned food that they called "tin." Studd had in his possession a highly esteemed tin of sausages. I guess they were like our Vienna sausages. In anticipation of the coming mission delegation, Studd chose to serve the treasured sausages to the visitors. In spite of the fact that the Londoners never arrived, C.T. and company had their feast anyway.
Norman's favorite part of the story was C.T. saying grace: "Father, thank you for this and that, but thank you especially for the sausages." Norman would laugh and laugh when he told that part of the story. He loved it that C.T. would think that way when he knew the committee reps were on their way to the Belgian Congo to discharge him from the very mission he had founded. CT's friends in the heart of Africa 1926

Next in the series : Norman Grubb

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