The Greatest Century of Missions is an inspiring and motivating story of how God worked through the lives of faithful men and women willing to sacrifice all for Him. Christians serious about fulfilling the command to all of us to fulfil the Great Commission will be encouraged to become active in spreading the gospel to those within their reach. This easy to read, succinct, and accurate summary of the lives and vision of the 19th century missionaries is a must read for Christians of any age including students in home schools, Christian schools, and colleges.
The Greatest Century of Missions is a treasure trove of incredible adventures, inspiring exploits and unbelievable achievements of some of the most extra-ordinary people in the most momentous era of Christian advance. This book will be an invaluable resource for pastors and missionaries and a textbook for senior home-schoolers, Christian schools and Bible colleges. It should be required reading for prospective missionaries.
"Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."
This battle cry launched the most incredible movement in history.
As Church historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette, declared: "Never had any other set of ideas, religious or secular, being propagated over so wide an area by so many professional agents, maintained by the unconstrained donations of so many millions of individuals."
In the words of Alexander Somerville, this was "a new enterprise on behalf of the noblest object that can engage the enthusiasm of man - the salvation of millions!"
The obstacles, dangers and difficulties they had to face and overcome were staggering.
By an act of British Parliament, missionaries were illegal in India. In China, not only was all missionary activity completely illegal, but so was attempting to learn the Chinese language! There was a ban on any Chinese teaching their language to foreigners. The Chinese tutors to Robert Morrison carried poison on their bodies so that if they were discovered, they could end their lives quickly and escape torture. Because the Chinese forbade foreign women, Robert Morrison had to live apart from his wife, Mary, for most of their lives, once for six years.
Americaís first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, was captured on the high seas and incarcerated in a French prison - from which he escaped. Later he was imprisoned and tortured in ’Death Prison’, in Burma, for eighteen months.
When pioneer missionary to Persia, Henry Martin, sought to present his Persian New Testament to the Shah, he was challenged with an ultimatum to declare that ’Muhammad is the prophet of God.’ Henry Martin boldly refused and asserted instead that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. His opponents were enraged and threatened to have his tongue torn out for ’blasphemy’.
When Robert Moffatt first applied to the London Missionary Society, he was rejected. His proposal to marry Mary Smith was also refused by her parents. Yet, Robert persevered and on his first missionary trip to South Africa, succeeded in bringing to Christ the most notorious bandit and murderer in the country. Finally, Mary Smithís parents relented and gave permission. She sailed to South Africa, where they married and for the next 50 years, the Moffattís became one of the greatest husband-wife teams in missionary history. Robert Moffatt succeeded in being the first to translate the complete Bible into an African language.
Human life in the Pacific Islands was cheap and cannibalism was rife when the missionaries arrived. In Fiji, two-thirds of all the children were boiled and eaten. Every village had a human butcher. Aged parents were butchered and eaten by their friends. Men would even cook their best wife or child as a special feast for friends. The widows of chiefs and warriors were strangled or hung, so that they could ’accompany their husbands to the next world’, there to continue serving them!
John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides, witnessed women killed in human sacrifices to secure the recovery to health of the chief, and was encircled by threatening cannibals ’in a deadly ring and one kept urging another to strike the first blow.’ Yet Paton could write: ’my heart rose up to the Lord Jesus; I saw Him watching all the scene, my peace came back to me like a wave from God. I realised that my life was immortal till my Masterís work with me is done.’ John Paton had the privilege of leading many of these cannibals to Christ and seeing the entire populations of some islands won to Christ.
Mary Slessor was born in a poverty-stricken family. Their one-roomed home had no water, lighting or toilet and hardly any furniture. Mary slept on the floor and began work at 10 years old. When two brothers, who had been dedicated to becoming missionaries to Africa, died, Mary resolved to take their place and to sail for Calabar. Mary established many schools and Churches and successfully brought an end to the killing of twins and the practice of slave trading in Calabar.
Hudson Taylorís parents dedicated him to missionary work in China before he was even born. During a time of momentous upheavals in China, Hudson succeeded in launching the largest missionary organisation in the world, which brought many tens of thousands of Chinese to Christ.
C.T. Studd was a famous cricket captain, who became a pioneer missionary to China, India and later the Congo. CT Studd wrote: ’Christís call is to capture men from the devilís clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus and make them a mighty army of God. But this can only be accomplished by red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Spirit religion, by reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches.’
Samuel Crowther was captured by African slavers and sold to a Portuguese trader for transport across the Atlantic. But he was rescued by a British Naval Squadron and became the first African Bishop of the Church of England. His pioneer missionary work in Yorubaland succeeded in establishing an Evangelical Anglicanism that was truly African.
When Britain was the greatest economic and military power in the world, Queen Victoria was asked by a visiting African prince what the secret of Englandís greatness was. She presented him with a Bible, saying: ’Here is the secret of Englandís greatness.’
Samuel Zwemer chose to oppose the only faith that had caused Christianity to beat a retreat - Islam. He also resolved to engage the enemy on the soil of Arabia - the birthplace of Muhammad.
The Greatest Century of Missions presents many unforgettable pictures and stories about these and other fascinating missionaries of the 19th Century.
Dr. George Grant in his Introduction to the Greatest Century of Missions writes: "As missionaries circled the globe, penetrated the jungles and crossed the seas, they preached a singular message: light out of darkness, liberty out of tyranny, and life out of death. To cultures endemic with terrible poverty, brutality, lawlessness, and disease, those faithful Christian witnesses interjected the novel Christian concepts of grace, charity, law, medicine, and the sanctity of life. They overturned despots, liberated the captives, and rescued the perishing. They established hospitals. They founded orphanages. They started rescue missions. They built alms-houses. They opened soup kitchens. They incorporated charitable societies. They changed laws. They demonstrated love. They lived as if people really mattered. Wherever missionaries went, they faced a dual challenge: confront sin in menís hearts and confront sin in menís cultures.
"Thus, the 19th Century missionís movements was more than simply a great era of Biblical preaching. It was a great era of Biblical faith. Appropriately, Dr. Hammond beautifully captures this remarkable multi-faceted legacy in The Greatest Century of Missions. Not only does his fluid narrative make the individual missionaries come to life, he highlights their vision, their motivation, their theological faithfulness, and their long-term cultural impact."
"It is my prayer that as modern Christians read this much needed book, they will see the great pioneers, these culture-shapers, these soul-winners and nation-builders of the 19th Century in a entirely new light and that we will model our own 21st Century efforts after theirs. I am convinced that if we do, we too will see a glorious transformation of men and nations - perhaps heralding an even greater century of missions. Lord, may it be so."
The Greatest Century of Missions with 90 photographs, pictures and maps.
"The illustrations throughout and the questions at the end of each chapter are particularly helpful. Peter Hammond speaks with authority as he personally follows in the footsteps of these great men and women in his courageous missionary work throughout Africa."
- Christopher J. Klicka, Author/Speaker, Senior Counsel of the Home School legal Defence Association, Home school father of seven
"The Greatest Century of Missions is not only a good read, but also a timely reminder of the tenacity and courage of the remarkable 19th Century missionís movement upon which our present amazing numerical growth on non-Western Christians is built. Yet this is also a wake-up call to us who should be carrying the torch of the Gospel in this dangerous post-11 September world where equal fortitude and faith is needed."-
- Patrick Johnstone (WEC missionary and Author of Operation World)
"Peter Hammond has done us all a great service by reminding us of some of the great missionary pioneers of the past. It is to the great loss of the current generation of Christians that biographies are no longer read as they ought to be. The inspiration to be obtained from the lives, dedication and the zeal of Gospel heroes of days gone by, is enormous. I recommend this book as a fine introduction to the hobby of reading biographies and stirring up missionary zeal".
- Bishop Frank Retief, presiding bishop of the Church of England in South Africa.
"I have just finished going through your new book The Greatest Century of Missions Thank you for all the energy, passion and prayer you put into this most outstanding tool of motivating men and woman in our day for missionary service. I am both thrilled to be part of such a host of witnesses to the great work accomplished by our Lord, but also feeling somewhat ashamed to bear the same title of missionary. What a privilege we have to follow such a great calling!"
- Walter Gschwandtner
"DO WE REALLY NEED LEADERS? Just before Christmas I read a fascinating little book called ’The Greatest Century of Missions’ by Peter Hammond.
In this little volume Dr. Hammond documents the world-changing impact of a handful of Christian missionaries during the last half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century.
These brave individuals overcame severe criticism and crippling societal indifference to reach out to nations that were rife with disease, barbarism, cannibalism and slavery. They endured tremendous persecution, heartache and death, all in the cause of bringing them the Christian gospel.
It is easy to forget just how brutal life was for most people on earth just 150 years ago. When John Paton went to New Hebrides, for example, it was common practice for a man to kill his best wife and serve her as the main course at a feast! Infanticide and other unspeakable evils were the norm.
I suppose today these missionaries would be criticized for "imposing their morality" on others. But there is no disputing the fact that their civilizing influence has brought liberty, peace, health, prosperity and spiritual well-being to hundreds of millions, even billions, of people.
These missionary pioneers, people such as William Carey, David Livingstone, Mary Slessor, Hudson Taylor, John Paton and others, were leaders in the finest sense of the word. They had a vision of what they wanted to accomplish, they created change, and they inspired others to create change as well."
- Dr Jeff Myers of Bryan College is the Director of the Understanding the Times curriculum - now used in more than 20 000 schools worldwide.
"I am happy to endorse the Frontline Fellowship and the outstanding work that they are doing to promote missions, evangelism and reformation throughout Africa. May God continue to use your organization to reach an increasing number of the needy and lost in Africa and advance the cause of Reformed Christianity in that part of the world."
- D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., Senior Minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
"My 8 year old daughter and I are delighted to read it. She is amazed at her Christian heritage and does not stop marvelling at the Faith of the Fathers and Mothers of missions.....itís a great treasure, and every Christian home should own a copy."
- Lahadi Demshakwa, Mount Carmel Christian School, Nigeria