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C.T. Studd

"I have seen at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages-villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world...Oh, that I had a thousand lives, and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals."  Robert Moffat

"A tiny group of believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over among themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story."  K.P. Yohannan

"We talk of the second coming, half the world has never heard of the first."  Oswald J. Smith

"I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who never heard."  William Burns

"Save others, snatching them out of the fire."  Jude - (The Lord's brother)

"The world is my parish."  John Wesley

Alfred Buxton in the forward to the book entitled "C.T. Studd: Cricketer & Pioneer" by Norman Grubb states:

"C.T.'s life stands as some rugged Gibraltar - a sign to all succeeding generations that it is worth while to lose all this world can offer and stake everything on the world to come. His life will be an eternal rebuke to easy-going Christianity. He has demonstrated what it means to follow Christ without counting the cost and without looking back... As a soldier of the Cross, C. T. is remembered for his ‘courage in any emergency, his determination never to sound retreat, his conviction that he was in God's will, his faith that God would see him through, his contempt of the arm of the flesh, and his willingness to risk all for Christ.'"

Charles Thomas Studd had a passion for those who were lost and never got the chance to hear about the salvation of his Savior, Jesus Christ. With a motto of "Forward Ever, Backward Never" he led thousands to eternal life in China, India, and Africa. He was not afraid of anyone, anything or anyplace. All he knew was the complacent ideals of the Church were allowing millions to fall into a Christ-less eternity. He had the heart of the Father; that he was willing that none should perish but all come to repentance saying:

"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell."

C. T. had all that the world, in his time, could offer. Born in England in 1860, he was one of three sons of Edward Studd, a wealthy retired planter. Edward was converted to Christ during a Moody-Sankey campaign in England in 1877, and became extremely concerned about the spiritual welfare of his three sons and influenced them greatly for "the cause of Christ."

C. T. was like any young man of that age and had a passion for sports. Cricket was the most popular sport in England at that time and since his brother, Kynaston Studd, was a member of the Cambridge cricket team C. T. did all he could to master the sport. Claude Hickman writes:

"In 1879, when Studd entered Trinity College of Cambridge University, his popularity as a cricket star took off. He became...a household name throughout Great Britain. He soon became captain of the Cambridge cricket team, an idol to students and a legend in his time. Studd was claimed then, and today as the greatest player to have ever played the game." Stephen Ross tells us that Studd was saved in 1878 at the age of 18 when a visiting preacher at their home caught C.T. on his way to play cricket. "Are you a Christian?" he asked. C.T.'s answer not being convincing enough, the guest pressed the point and C. T. tells what happened as he acknowledges God's gift of eternal life received through faith in Christ: ‘I got down on my knees and as I did said ‘Thank you' to God. Right then and there joy and peace came into my soul. I knew then what it was to be "born again', and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything." His two brothers were also saved that same day."

Studd's passion for Christ diminished as his cricket career grew and soon he was backslidden in spiritual things. "Instead of going out and telling others of the love of Christ, I was selfish and kept the knowledge to myself. The result was that gradually my love began to grow cold, and the love of the world began to come in. I spent six years in this unhappy backslidden state."

About this time his brother, George, became very sick and was dying. Watching his brother slowly waste away Studd had a confrontation with the life he was living:

"Now what is all the popularity of the world to George? What is all the fame and flattering? What is it worth to possess the riches of the world, when a man comes to face eternity?"

God miraculously healed George. This miracle and a visit to a D.L. Moody revival meeting brought him to the realization that the things of this world were not worthy of losing eternity over and from then on he was all out for the Lord:

"Still further, and what was better than all, He set me to work for Him, and I began to try and persuade my friends to read the Gospel, and to speak to them individually about their souls. I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures that this world can give...but those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me."

Studd gave up all the glory and fame of a world renowned athlete to go and be "used of God to saving poor sinners who have never even heard of the name of Jesus."

C.T. was one of the original "Cambridge Seven" who offered themselves to the missionary Hudson Taylor for service in China. Leaving England on February, 1885 they arrived in China and began living a life in Chinese fashion. They lived and dressed as the Chinese did and began to learn the language and habits of the people.

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him."

These seven men devoted themselves to prayer and the evangelization of the world. It was Studd's decision to go to China that influenced the others to follow suit. From the rowing team at Trinity, Stanley Smith, Montague Beauchamp, and William Cassels joined Studd. Two other men, Dixon Hoste and Arthur Polhill-Turner, were officers who left promising careers in the military to join Studd. And from C. T.'s own cricket team came Cecil Polhill-Turner.

Studd's father had already passed away and he faced opposition from his brothers and other family members about leaving his widowed mother. His older brother was emphatic about C. T. not going and tried all he could to try to talk him out of it. To which C. T. simply quoted Micah 7:6, "a man's enemies are the men of his own house." He also faced the onslaught of those who ridiculed him for throwing away a life-time of glory and fame from the world:

"Had I cared for the comments of people, I should never have been a missionary."

The other six men on his team were also going through the same opposition. On their last meeting before leaving for China, Studd told them:

"Are you living for the day or are you living for life eternal? Are you going to care for the opinion of men here, or for the opinion of God? The opinion of men won't avail us much when we get before the judgment throne. But the opinion of God will. Had we not, then, better take His word and implicitly obey it."

I cannot even begin to tell how God used these seven men for his redemptive work in China. Perhaps at another time I'll write a "Legacy" about their mission. The impact on souls was tremendous. During this time Studd became intense in his spirituality. Reading only the Bible he encouraged other missionaries to take risks in planning ventures, trusting in God to provide. He believed that missionary work was urgent, and that those who were unevangelized would be condemned to hell. And every day wasted meant more people dying without coming to the knowledge of the Truth.

It was while C.T. was in China that he reached 25 years of age and according to his father's will he was to inherit a large sum of money. C.T. gave his entire fortune, 29,000 pounds (a very substantial inheritance in those days), to Christ. Stephen Ross explains:

"This was not a fool's plunge on his part. It was his public testimony before God and man that he believed God's Word to be the surest thing on earth, and that the hundred fold interest which God has promised in this life, not to speak in the next, is an actual reality for those who believe it and act on it."

C.T. sent 5,000 pounds to Mr. Moody for work at the Moody Bible Institute, another 5,000 pounds to George Muller ‘s mission work and his orphans, 5,000 pounds for George Holland's work with England's poor in Whitechapel, and 5,000 pounds to Commissioner Booth Tucker for the Salvation Army in India. He also sent thousands more to support other worthy ministries keeping about 3400 pounds for himself and his new bride, to be to be used in setting up housekeeping. Priscilla Livingstone Stewart had a different use for the money saying:

"Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do?" "Sell all" he said. "Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding." And they gave the rest of the money to missions work.

Not long after that Studd declared to some of his workers:

"Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave his reputation in our hands."

Missions work for one man is hard but for a family it calls for extreme perseverance. Priscilla was an Irish born missionary and bore four daughters. The Studds also had two sons who died as infants. They served the Lord together in inland China through many hardships until 1894. C.T. writes:

"The "romance" of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamour in it; it does not stir a man's spirit or blood. So don't come out to be a missionary as an experiment, it is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not come. Lord Wolsey was right: ‘A missionary ought to be a fanatic or he encumbers the ground.' There are many trials and hardships. Disappointments are numerous and the time of learning the language is especially trying. Do not come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honor, after living for Christ, than to die for Him. That does the trick in the end. It is not the flash in the pan but the steady giving forth of light, it is it's shining on and on that we need out here. Our job is to make all hear the Word. God's job is to give penetration to His Word."

After ten years in China, ill health forced the Studds to return to England. From 1896-1897 he was invited to visit America where his brother Kynaston had recently organized meetings which led to the formation of the Student Volunteer Movement. C.T. describes one of the meetings at Bucknell College in Pennsylvania:

"Had a splendid student's meeting at 6:30. The Lord was greatly with us. After some hymns and a prayer, I spoke for about 30 minutes; then all got on their knees, and one after another gave themselves to God ...Oh, surely that is the sweetest music that can be ever heard by any ears, and if sweet to us, how much sweeter to Jesus."

His brother J. E. K. Studd spoke at Cornell University, having a deep impact on John R. Mott. Mott walked in late for the meeting and heard J. K. Studd quote: "Young man, are you seeking great things for yourself? Seek them not! Seek first the Kingdom of God!"

The next day Mott gathered the courage to meet with him and later said the meeting with Studd was the "decisive hour of his life." Mott would go on to become one of the greatest missions mobilizer in world history.

It was during this time that Studd wrote the book, "The Chocolate Soldier" and here is an excerpt:

"Heroism is the last chord; the missing note of present day Christianity...Every soldier is a hero! A soldier without heroism is a Chocolate Soldier! Every true Christian is a Soldier of Christ-a hero par excellence! The otherwise Christian is a Chocolate soldier; dissolving in water and melting at the smell of their lives in a glass dish or in a card-board box...each clad in a little white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution."

Between 1900-1906 Studd was pastor of a church at Ootacamund in Southern India and although it was a different situation to the pioneer missionary work he had undertaken in China, his ministry was marked with numerous conversions among the British officials and local community.

"Do not go into the study to prepare a sermon-that is nonsense. Go into your study to find God and get so fiery that your tongue is like a burning coal and you have got to speak."

His sermons were full of fire and at first were not welcomed:

"Spirituality is much needed here; there is a great lack of it, too much laughing and scoffing, not a real deep spiritual power. And why? Because they are afraid of it."

The banner of his ministry was what he learned as a competitive athlete-aggressiveness:

"If you do not desire to meet the Devil during the day, meet with Jesus before dawn. If you do not want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preaching the Word' is the rod the Devil fears and hates."

In 1906 Studd returned home to England deciding to settle down for the remaining years of his life. That was not meant to be. He met a German missionary named Karl Kumm, who told him about large parts of Africa that had never been reached with the Gospel. His health was failing and a doctor told him he could no longer suffer the ordeals of missionary work. A group of businessmen that were going to support his endeavors suddenly dropped him from their financial backing. Without any support or the blessing of his church he would stake all he was on his obedience to God:

"How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves."

After spending much time in prayer he knew what God wanted him to do. He called the committee together to give them his answer. Stephen Ross explains what was said:

"As a young man he staked his athletic career, in China he staked his fortune, and now he would stake his life. His answer to the committee was, ‘Gentlemen, God has called me to go, and I will go. I will blaze the trail, though my grave may only be a stepping stone that younger men may follow."

Leaving his wife and four daughters in England, because of no financial backing, C.T. sailed, contrary to medical advice, for the heart of Africa in 1910. He continued to work in the Sudan until his death in 1931.

His missionary work soon spread into the Belgian Congo in 1913. His mission partner was his future son-in-law Alfred Buxton. Together they established four mission stations in an area inhabited by eight different tribes. There work was blessed and bore much fruit for the Savior with thousands upon thousands of formally cannibalistic, heathen souls now glorifying the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. This harvest came at a cost to Studd. Throughout the years, in Africa, he endured weakness and sickness; loosing most of his teeth and suffering several heart attacks. Still he continued on. He was compelled by the thought that he knew where his eternity would be but there were still many that were facing an eternity of damnation. As long as there was life in him he would strive to reach them with the Word. Through the work of his wife back home, C. T. built up an extensive missionary outreach based on his headquarters at Ibambi, Africa that stretched into South America, Central Asia and the Middle East. While he was in the jungle, Priscilla was raising money back in England to support many other missionaries in those countries just mentioned.

Priscilla made a short visit to the Congo in 1928. That was the last time they met; she died the following year. In a letter home, before she died, C.T. gave a last backward look at the outstanding events of his life:

"As I believe I am now nearing my departure from this world, I have but a few things to rejoice in; they are these:

  1. That God called me to China and I went in spite of the utmost opposition from all of my loved ones.
  2. That I joyfully acted as Christ told that rich young man to act.
  3. That I deliberately at the call of God...gave up my life for this work, which was to be henceforth not for the Sudan only, but for the whole unevangelized world.

My only joys therefore are that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused."

While he was still laboring for the Lord at Ibambi at the age of 71, Charles Thomas Studd, at 10:30 p.m. on July 16, 1931, died from untreated gallstones. Studd longed to be with his Lord whom he had loved so dearly and served so faithfully. The last word he spoke was "HALLELUJAH"!

"To your knees, man! And to your Bible! Decide at once! Do not hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God. Quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame lying and cowardly excuses. You sought in time past for Jesus to be king over you. NOW THEN DO IT!" C.T. Studd

Mark 10:21...."One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me."

JJ (Dark) Di Pietro
Cane Creek Church