Charles Thomas (C.T.) Studd
English missionary to China, India,
Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.
If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great
for me to make for Him.
When his critics told him to go home, that he
had done enough, he replied, "God has called me to go, and I will go. I will
blaze the trail though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger
men may follow."
Over a hundred years ago, in February 1885, a group of young men
set sail from England to become missionaries in China. They included graduates
and ex-army officers and were known as the "Cambridge Seven" because
they had felt called to the mission field after attending meetings at that
University. The leading member of the group was Charles T Studd, the son of a
wealthy indigo- planter who had retired from India to a large country house at
Tidworth in Wiltshire. His father had been converted in 1877 when a friend took
him to hear D. L. Moody preaching in London and he immediately gave up his
pastimes of racing and hunting, and used his home for evangelistic meetings
until his death two years later.
Charles and two of his brothers, Kynaston and George, were all
at Eton when their father was converted and they were far from pleased by his
efforts to interest them in the gospel. However, unknown to each other, all
three were also converted when a visiting preacher went to stay with the Studd
family during the summer holidays of 1878. The three brothers excelled at
cricket both at Eton and later at Cambridge where they achieved a remarkable
record of each captaining the cricket team in successive seasons from 1882 to
1884. The exceptional skills shown by Charles gained him a place in the England
team in 1882 which lost the match to Australia which originated the tradition of
the "Ashes" between the two countries. The following winter he toured
Australia with the England team that recovered the trophy but in 1884 his
brother George was taken seriously ill and Charles was confronted by the
question, "What is all the fame and flattery worth ...... when a man comes
to face eternity?" He had to admit that since his conversion six years
earlier he had been in "an unhappy backslidden state." As a result of
the experience he stated, "I know that cricket would not last, and honour
would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worth while
living for the world to come."
From then onwards Charles began witnessing to his friends and
fellow players and helping his brother Kynaston who had started organizing
missions amongst students. Soon he had the joy of leading others to the Lord and
he prayed for power to be more effective in proclaiming the gospel. Through the
promise contained in Acts 1:8, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me....unto the uttermost
part of the earth," he realized that his own zeal and energy were not
sufficient and that he had to rely entirely upon God.
Up until that time he had felt content to witness amongst his
own associates but after hearing a missionary speaking about the need for
workers in China. Charles was increasingly burdened and convicted by verses such
as "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and
the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psalm 2:8). Although
his friends and relatives tried to dissuade him, Charles knew he was being
called to the mission field and he sought an interview with
Hudson Taylor, the
director of the China Inland Mission and was accepted as an associate member.
Studd's decision was followed by six others within a few weeks
and as they prepared for the mission field, members of the "Cambridge
Seven" spoke at meetings up and down the country with remarkable results.
In addition to numerous conversions a great wave of missionary zeal swept
through the students of Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Cambridge which was to
have profound effects throughout the world in later years.
For C. T Studd those future years were to see him giving away
his family inheritance to help the work of George Muller, D. L. Moody, Dr. Barnardo and others and spending ten years in China where he suffered great
hardships to reach remote areas where the gospel had never been heard before. On
returning to England he was invited to visit America where his brother Kynaston
had recently arranged meetings which had led to the formation of the Student
Volunteer movement. During this tour he experienced powerful blessing upon his
ministry and the spiritual life in many colleges, churches and other bodies was
From 1900-1906 Studd was pastor of a church at Ootacamund in
South India and although it was a different situation to the pioneer missionary
work in China, his ministry was marked by numerous conversions amongst the
British officials and the local community. However, on his return home Studd
became concerned about the large parts of Africa that had never been reached
with the Gospel and in 1910 he went to the Sudan and was convicted by the lack
of Christian witness in central Africa. Out of this concern Studd was led to set
up the Heart of Africa Mission and when challenged as to why he was preparing
for a life of inevitable hardship he replied, "If Jesus Christ be God and
died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him."
On his first venture into the Belgian Congo in 1913, Studd
established four mission stations in an area inhabited by eight different
tribes. Then a serious illness to his wife required his return to England, but
when he returned to the Congo in 1916 she had recovered sufficiently to
undertake the expansion of the mission into the World Evangelism Crusade with
workers in south America, central Asia and the middle East as well as Africa.
Supported by his wife's work of home, Studd built up an extensive missionary
outreach based on his center at Ibambi and although she made a short visit to
the Congo in 1928 that was the only time they met again since she died in the
following year. Two years later, still labouring for the Lord at Ibambi at the
age of seventy, Charles Studd died, but his vision for China, India and Africa
had expanded to reach the whole unevangelized world.
Charles Studd's Personal Testimony
Faith Hall of Fame