Christians You Should Know: Hudson Taylor February 22, 2023

Hudson Taylor

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” – Mark 11:22

A Snapshot of the Life of Hudson Taylor:

Born: May 21, 1832, in Barnsley; England
Died: June 3, 1905, in Changsha, China
Founder and first general director of China Inland Mission (Overseas Missionary Fellowship), 1865-1902. Taylor was one of the giant missionaries along with Livingstone, Carey, and Judson: He was converted at age 17 in 1849 while his mother was praying for him in a distant city. Arriving in Shanghai, March 1, 1854 at age 21, he traveled extensively and courageously throughout China. He adopted native dress in 1855. He returned to England in 1860. His Lammermuir party (first CIM party of 16 men) arrived in Shanghai in 1866. He sent out a prayer request and appeal to double the CIM missionary force, to 70 recruits (1881), then asked for 100 (1886). The 1890s saw great increases in the CM force, and by 1895, they had the largest missionary body in China. The Boxer Rebellion in 1900, which killed so many, prompted Taylor to return out of retirement in Switzerland to China. The uprising in northern China was the result of a secret society, the Harmonious and Righteous Fists, who set out to destroy all foreign influences in China. Members of this society were trained in the art of Kung-fu, which became known to Westerners as “boxing* in an attempt to describe this martial art. Taylor married Maria Dyer (1837-70) on January 20, 1858 (died, July 23, 1870), then Jane Faulding (1843-1904) in 1871. He started 205 mission stations, encouraged 840 missionaries to the field, and saw 125,000 converts. His favorite Bible verses were John 19:30 and Mark 11:22.  (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)

A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:

Hudson Taylor was a man whose life exemplified complete faith in the Word and guidance of God. He trusted God throughout his life to meet his every need – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Despite great hardship, ridicule, and sorrow, Taylor sought to keep moving forward for the Lord. His mantra lives on today: God is always advancing. He worked tirelessly to reach the people of China with the gospel. We as believers know so little of the great things God is seeking to do through us. We hamstring ourselves by failing to trust God; thus, we limit His work (Matthew 13:58).

Taylor’s life teaches us a powerful lesson about simply believing what God says in His Word. He declared, “There is a living God, He has spoken in the Bible, He means what He says, and will do all He has promised. Do not we all need to dwell on these Divine certainties? Why is gravitation certain? Because it is a Divine law. Why is scripture just as certain? Because it is a Divine Book.” Such faith in the Word of God seems extreme to many. It seemed far more extreme to many in his day, but the results cannot be ignored. God blessed the sincere and unwavering faith of this missionary.

Once, while writing about a time of doubt he experienced in his youth, Taylor concluded, “Since then I have put God’s Word to the test and certainly, it has never failed me.” This was the underlying theme of his entire life. God is always faithful. The Lord has never failed. He can be trusted. Despite great heartache (the martyrdom of many friends and the loss of his dearest loved ones) this man believed God and continued advancing with Him. Like hundreds of missionaries in his day, let us draw from Taylor’s example of faith! Believe God today. Then, engage in His advancing work!

(To read the powerful story of his favorite hymn, click here).

A Suggestion for Further Reading…

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret – Fredrick Howard Taylor, 1932

Hudson Taylor: The Man Who Believed God – Marshall Broomhall, 1930

Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China – Janet and Geoff Benge, 1998

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