Heroes of the Faith: C. T. Studd

“Christ Is Either Lord of All, or He Is Not Lord at All.” C. T. Studd

Reference was made in a previous article to “The Cambridge Seven,” a group of brilliant, intellectual students of the University of Cambridge, who heard, distinct and clear, the call to China. They burned their bridges behind them and left ALL to follow their Divine Master. Their crisis and choice caused a stir and revival throughout the universities in England and in Scotland. They exchanged a life of ease, fame, wealth, and popularity for persecution, privations, and poverty. What a difference between a mansion and a mud-hut! Any one of them could have made his mark in the world and had his name inscribed among the elite and famous of earth. But these men caught the vision of the eternal world and counted this passing world as dross! They went to China, traveling second class, to bring to the Chinese the fullness of the gospel of Christ. One of the seven is well-known. His name is C. T. Studd.

His Salvation

C. T. Studd’s 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. C. T. Studd and his two brothers, Kynaston and George, were all at Eton College 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 converted when a visiting preacher went to stay with the Studd family during the summer holidays of 1878. Amazing grace!

His Choice

C. T. Studd was a household name in the sports world, known as the greatest gentleman bowler in the world, representing Cambridge University and England in the international arena. He had been saved for six years when the turning point in his life came in 1884. His brother George was taken seriously ill and C. T. was confronted by the question, “What is all the fame and flattery worth … when a man comes to face eternity?” He had to admit he had been in an unhappy, backslidden state. As a result of this experience he stated, “I know that cricket would not last, and honor would not last, and nothing in this world would last; but it was worthwhile living for the world to come.” From then onwards, Charles began witnessing to his friends and fellow-players. He relinquished all worldly ambitions and handed over his life to the Blessed God. He also had to overcome the opposition from his own family. Again he surrendered to the words of Christ, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.” This was a big test. But the will of God was supreme to him. One vital lesson he learned in the service of the Lord was “that zeal and energy were not sufficient but a full reliance entirely upon God is imperative to Divine accomplishments.” It was through the promise contained in Acts 1:8 that he went forth with Divine enablement to reach lost souls.

His Call

After hearing a missionary speaking about the need for workers in China, Charles became increasingly burdened and convicted. The verse, “Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps 2:8) played a major factor in his stepping out in faith to go to ChinaHe sought an interview with Hudson Taylor and was accepted as a fellow-laborer in the work of the Lord. Before C. T. Studd left for China he spoke to 4000 students, including professors and friends. He disarmed both opposition and criticism alike by his tender and powerful appeals. He said “My main reasons, after all, reduced themselves to one – the uncompromising spirituality and un-worldliness to preach the living Christ.” Professors and students were seen in tears, and this resulted in a movement of the Holy Spirit in many universities across England and Scotland. Many laid “their all” at the Lord’s feet.

His Financial Sacrifice

C. T. Studd disposed of his inheritance. The recipients were D. L. Moody, George Mueller, Booth-Tucker, Dr. Barnardo’s Orphanages, and others. After a few months he discovered that he was left with 3,400 pounds, which he presented to his bride on their wedding day. She, not to be outdone, said, “Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do?” Studd replied, “Sell all.” And to that she said, “Well then, we shall start clear with the Lord at our wedding.” He willingly, cheerfully gave it all with a “Hallelujah! From henceforth my bank is in Heaven.” He added, “As regards England, we are in that proud position. Silver and gold have I none.”

This sacrificial attitude marked his whole life as evidenced by the fact that during ten years in China he suffered great hardships to reach remote areas where the gospel had never been heard before. To win them he dressed, ate, and lived like the Chinese.

His Growing Influence

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 on his ministry and the spiritual life in many colleges, churches, and other bodies was radically transformed.

From 1900-1906, Studd was in South India and, although it was different from 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 large parts of Africa that had never been reached with the gospel. In 1910 he went to the Sudan and was convicted by the lack of Christian witness in central Africa. He was led to set up “The Heart of Africa Mission.” Like another he could say, “The world is my parish.” He had an enlarged vision! C. T. Studd had been challenged as to the wisdom of going to Africa at 52 years of age, but he replied, “If Jesus Christ is God and He died for me, then no sacrifice is too much to make for Him.”

His Work in Africa

On his first venture into the Belgian Congo in 1913, Studd established four mission stations in an area inhabited by eight different tribes. Then his wife’s serious illness required his return to England. By 1916 she had recovered sufficiently to allow him to return to the Congo to undertake the expansion of the mission with workers in South America, Central Asia, and the Middle East, as well as Africa. Supported by his wife’s work at home, Studd built up an extensive missionary outreach based on his center at Ibambi. His wife made a short visit to the Congo in 1928 and that was the only time they met again since she died the following year. Two years later, still laboring for the Lord at Ibambi at the age of seventy, Charles Studd died. He was buried in a grave in the Belgian Congo in 1931. He loved the African people and was an evangelist, teacher, and shepherd among them. Their love for him was reciprocal. Over one thousand saw him to his grave and among them stood four African Chiefs! What a testimony! His vision for China, India, and Africa had expanded to reach the whole unevan-gelized world. This hero of faith had many hardships, illnesses, sufferings, and sacrifices, but in all his service he was marked by joy unspeakable and full of glory. He died with the repetition of the word “Hallelujah” on his tongue! He was victorious!

A Last Look

Let us get a last look at this tireless servant. His home was a circular hut with walls made of split bamboo tied together with native string. The roof was grass and the floor was dried mud, cracked, patched, and repatched. This “mansion” contained a native-bed given by the Chief, some blankets worn thin by age, a homemade table, old Nestle’s milk tins full of pens and pencils, and, on one side, a shelf with well-worn Bibles. Such was C. T. Studd’s home, bedroom, dining room, and living room all in one! From the heart of Africa, among the people he loved, he passed to the many mansions!

How Will We Respond?

We conclude with a challenge! From the cross of Calvary the voice of Jesus still cries, “I thirst!” The Divine thirst is not yet quenched. He still thirsts for the millions of lost souls in every part of our world. Could we catch the import of this cry and seek to quench that thirst? There are lost ones in our neighborhood, villages, towns, cities, and to the utmost bounds of our world! Can we behold His agony on Golgotha and not agonize for the perishing? We recall how David thirsted for a drink from the well of Bethlehem and his thirst was quenched when his loyal subjects sacrificed their lives to answer the request of their king. We hear the voice of a mightier than David. Are we quenching His thirst? He still points to His wounds and says, “Lovest thou Me?” How many will respond to His call with Isaiah’s humble response, “Here am I, send me”?