By Roger Steer
For a Chinese Christian, reading Hudson Taylor’s biography is somewhat akin to reading the Book of Acts. Hudson Taylor is a name held in awe, gratitude and love by many Chinese Christians. The founder of the China Inland Mission, renamed OMF International, was one of God’s key instruments who brought the gospel to China. This biography details his life, his mission work and his views on missions.
It begins with a story of his childhood and the stirring in his heart that led him to leave as a young man to the then distant shores of China. China, with its multitudes of unsaved souls, was a source of grave concern to the revived early 19th century churches of the West. With missional fervor, thousands left the relative comforts of home and hearth to bring about the Great Commission. Hudson Taylor was an odd-ball amongst them. Eschewing western clothing and financial budgets – he believed in dressing and behaving as far as Christianly possible as a local Chinese, and in entrusting God with all his finances – he was possibly one of the World’s first glocal and faith missionaries.
This version of his biography reads like a love story whilst at other times, it reads like a travelogue, a social commentary on missionaries as well as his love for China. He once said, “If I had 1,000 lives, I would give them all to China.”
This book is worth a read for it tells the story of a Godly man who was obedient to God’s call on his life. He met the special challenges of being a missionary and a leader of missions in China; with its attendant difficulties and pain. In that sense, reading this book is also reading about God’s faithfulness to us and our forebears.
And that is why it is like reading the Chinese Church’s version of Acts.
Reviewed by Ian Khoo, a Treasure Trove Team Member