The GREATEST CENTURY of MISSIONS
"Expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!"
This battle cry launched the most incredible movement in history.
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.
The Greatest Century of Missions is an inspiring series of stories 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, well-illustrated summary of the lives and vision of exceptional missionaries is a must read for Christians of any age, including students in home schools, Christian schools, and colleges.
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.
America's 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 Smith's parents relented and gave permission. She sailed to South Africa, where they married and for the next 50 years, the Moffatt's 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 Master's 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 Taylor's 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.
Cricketer for Christ
C.T. Studd was a famous cricket captain, who became a pioneer missionary to China, India and later the Congo. CT Studd wrote: "Christ's call is to capture men from the devil's 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."
Set Free to Serve Christ
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.
Foundation for Freedom
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 England's greatness was. She presented him with a Bible, saying: "Here is the secret of England's greatness."
Samuel Zwemer chose to oppose the only religion 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.
Changing Nations by Transforming Lives
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 men's hearts and confront sin in men's cultures.
"Thus, the 19th century mission's 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 an 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 is 224 pages and includes over 200 photographs, pictures, charts and maps, available at just US$10 (R98 excluding postage) from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, tel: 021-689-7478, email: email@example.com and website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
REVIEWS of The Greatest Century of Missions
"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 mission's 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 of the Church of England in South Africa, Author of From Tragedy to Triumph.
"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., Founder of Evangelism Explosion.
"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!"
"Just before Christmas I read a fascinating book The Greatest Century of Missions by Peter Hammond. In this 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, Summit Ministries and co-Author of Understanding the Times.
"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.....it's a great treasure, and every Christian home should own a copy."
Lahadi Demshakwa, Mount Carmel Christian School, Nigeria.
"Where do you turn when your world has been turned upside down? We desperately need Revival today – a re-examination of 19th Century missionary zeal that turned that World right-side up would be a great place to start. The Greatest Century of Missions provides insights to the behind-the-scenes struggles and triumphs of missionaries, many whose names are familiar, and introduces us to other heroes of the Faith whose deeds and adventures have until now remained largely unrecorded. We are inspired by their courage and determination to reach precious lost souls for whom Jesus Christ died. We stand in awe of their willingness to face death, suffer persecution and endure unspeakable hardships. This book is at once the most concise and comprehensive testimonial record of pioneer missionaries, most of whom laid down their lives to spread the Gospel and reach the lost with the Good News. They literally changed the world between 1801 and 1900. It was without doubt, the greatest century of Missions. We urgently need a similar Revival! The Greatest Century of Missions is a treasure trove of information to any serious mission-minded person and an inspirational challenge to any missionary volunteer. 'Can the love of Christ not carry the missionary where the slave trade carries the trader?' This gives the reader further insight to the logic of Livingstone's passion for proclaiming the Gospel. Remember, The Great Commission is God's command for every generation!"
The Greatest Century of Missions
Reviewed by Gerda Potgieter
The introduction of The Greatest Century of Missions was written by Dr. George Grant, and he said this book “…. is a treasure trove of incredible adventures, inspiring exploits and unbelievable achievements of some of the most extraordinary people in the most momentous era of Christian advance.”
This remark is spot-on and I could not have put it better myself! In this easy-reading book, Dr. Peter Hammond tells us about the lives, passions and hardships of missionaries who were called in the 19th century. Against all odds and amidst countless hardships, people like Henry Martyn, Robert Morrison, John Williams, Robert Moffat, Mary Slessor and many more, obediently followed their calling to spread the Word and win souls for His kingdom. They used different platforms, but because they were passionate about what they were doing, they succeeded, despite the challenges… or perhaps because of the challenges?
The true stories in this book inspired me to stay devoted to my personal calling and to use my talent as a writer to “Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among people.” (Psalm 96:3). Having founded Devoted a few years back, I have learnt that the moment you start doing God’s work, the challenges will come. But, I have also learnt that God will never give you a task that you are not capable of handling.
I got two confirmations from the stories in this inspiring book: There are no promises that it will be plain sailing when you are obedient to God’s calling; but if you are obedient, the blessings will be great.
On the back page it says: “This book will be a valuable resource for pastors and missionaries and a textbook for senior home schoolers, Christian schools and Bible colleges.” I don’t fall into any of those categories, as I am only a passionate writer called because of my love for the Lord, to use my talents to glorify God through this magazine, founded for His glory. However, the book inspired me to keep on keeping on despite challenges. Secondly, it also confirmed my belief that people from all walks of life can be inspired by the book and I have been inspired to start a regular series in Devoted about the missionaries and how they succeeded in advancing the kingdom, against all odds.
The Greatest Century of Missionaries is a must-read if you are passionate about Jesus. It reminds us how the Lord uses ordinary people like you and I to do extraordinary things. It is available for only R98 (plus postage) and I would recommend that churches, schools and Christian-based organisations order as many copies as soon as they have read this review. The contact details are: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit the website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za
Every young person following the call of God, needs to read “the Greatest Century of Missions.” It will inspire and encourage him, for here he meets ordinary young persons, often raised in poverty who by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ became great missionaries and changed whole nations. They willingly endured danger, hardship, sickness and death to fulfil the Great Commission. One of them, David Livingstone, while bravely confronting slave traders in Africa, asserted: “These privations, I beg you to observe, are not sacrifices… Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather, it is a privilege!”
Dorothea Scarborough, Gospel Defence League.