Frederick Brotherton Meyer Touches the World

Frederick Brotherton Meyer was born, on April 8, 1847, in London. Born to godly parents, from his earliest years he believed that some day he would preach the Word.

He would play ‘church’- preaching in his childish way to brothers and sisters – and the story is on record of a housemaid, hearing one of those ‘sermons’, being convicted of her need of Christ and becoming a Christian shortly afterwards (Great Evangelical Preachers, by J McGraw, page 129).

His 20 years’ ministry at Christ Church in Lambeth, England, saw the congregation grow from 100 to 2000.

Forty helpful books flowed from his pen, most of which are still in print.  He travelled extensively as a convention speaker. He ventured to South Africa and the Far East on mission trips and also travelled to the USA and Canada to preach. As part of the Higher Life movement he often preached at the Keswick Convention

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At the age of 80, he conducted his twelfth American preaching campaign, travelling more than 15,000 miles and addressing over 300 meetings.

A Lindsay Glegg says of him, “Dr Meyer was a saint, and looked like one, with his quiet manner and his gentle voice.  One’s life was enriched by being in his presence.”  He also tells of the postcard received from the dying Meyer.  With shaky hand this man of God had written, “I have raced you to Heaven, I am just off – see you there.  Love, F B Meyer” (Four Score … and More, by A L Glegg, page 32).

Thus it was at the age of 82 years, on March 28, 1929, this dear servant of God went to his eternal Home.

Meyer had great influence on such giants of the faith as J Wilbur Chapman and Charles H Spurgeon. It was Spurgeon who said, “Meyer preaches as a man who has seen God face to face”.

Another post about FB Meyer was published on March 28, 2009, titled: Frederick Brotherton Meyer Preacher and Writer

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

Amy Carmichael Becomes Missionary Mum

Amy Carmichael met Pearl-Eyes on March 7, 1901.

Born on 16 December, 1867, into an Irish Presbyterian home, and the oldest of seven children, Amy was truly converted in a Wesleyan Methodist school at the age of 16.

The next crisis in her life was nearly three years later when she attended a holiness convention in Glasgow.  Here she made a full surrender to her Lord. As a young woman she ministered to the women working in Belfast’s textile mills.

Amy heard Hudson Taylor of China Inland Mission describe the great need for missionaries. “In China,” he said, “four thousand souls a day are dying without Christ”. Amy’s all-consuming desire to spread the Gospel, coupled with her love of excitement and strong personality, seemed a perfect fit the mission life. Amy decided she would never marry or have a family, but would spread the Gospel in foreign lands.

So in 1893 (March 3, at the age of 26) we find her sailing for Japan, the first missionary sent out by the Keswick Convention (UK).  Two years later – after health problems forced her to return to England – we find her in Bangalore, India.  And there she remained for 56 years without a furlough!

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Then Amy met Preena (or Pearl-Eyes) – a seven year-old girl who had escaped from one of the Hindu temples where she had been sold by her parents to work as a ‘temple prostitute’.

Preena had escaped from the temple once before, making her way back to her mother. The mother, however, was afraid the gods would punish her so she took the terrified and screaming child back to the temple. Preena’s hands were branded in punishment.

On her next attempt to escape Preena ran to a church in the village where one of the local women took her to Amy. Preena climbed onto Amy’s lap and called her “Amma”, which is Tamil for Mother.

Displeased people from the temple came screaming and yelling, but their anger slowly subsided and the crowd dispersed. Thus Amy was left with Preena.

Amy had already given up the idea of family, so she could serve the Lord unencumbered. Now she was faced with a child who needed her care. She knew the Tamil saying, ‘Children tie the mother’s feet’, and wondered if the Lord was calling her from her teaching and preaching to the more mundane domestic role of mother.

So began the work of what would later be known as Dohnavur Fellowship.

A righteously angry Amy Carmichael began her crusade against the infamous child prostitution practice. Initially dozens of little girls were rescued from temple prostitution and hundreds of others from extreme poverty or neglect. By 1923 Amy was running 30 nurseries to care for these young girls who had been dedicated to prostitution, either by “sacred vow” of family members or for money.

In 1945 a missionary statesman visited her headquarters at Dohnavur and wrote:  “The number of children about to be dedicated to Hindu gods who were rescued by Miss Carmichael now runs into several thousands…  There are now over 800 children in her three homes…”

Dohnavur is situated in Tamil Nadu, just 30 miles from the southern tip of India. It was a safe, secluded place when Amma and friends decided to live there, but has since developed into a bustling city.

Amy did not treat her project as an orphanage. Children are taken into the community as life members. They even take on a new family name, Carunia, which is Tamil for ‘lovingkindness’.

Temple prostitution was officially outlawed in India in 1948, which did not eradicate the practice, but reduced it significantly.

Amy’s orphans experienced an amazing revival in 1905, known as the Donhavur Revival. Further information about that great event can be found at another post: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/church-history/dohnavur-revival

Amy experienced a serious fall in 1931.  “For nearly 20 years she scarcely left her room, and for the last two and a half years of her life she could not get out of bed at all.”  (God’s Madcap, by Nancy Robbins, page 93).  Her longing for the Lord to take her home was fulfilled on 18 January, 1951.

Amy’s heritage was to be totally abandoned to the Lord Jesus, not to lead a life of ease, but to give one’s life for others.

“If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and the exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Amy Carmichael

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

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This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Jessie Penn-Lewis Preaches Holiness

Jessie Penn-Lewis was born in 1861, in Wales to a Calvinist Methodist minister. Her family had moved into an old museum – and in the attic of the old tower Jessie “taught herself to read the Bible freely” by the age of four. “There were books, books, and more books everywhere” in the home.

She received little schooling due to ill health, and was married at the age of 19 to a young British civil servant, William Penn-Lewis (despite her brother warning the fiancé that he would be looking after an invalid for life). She was converted on New Year’s Day, 1882, and ministered in the Young Women’s Christian Association, which – in 1886 – took a vital Christian stand.

She is spoken of as having received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, testifying that the Cross must come first, in dying to self, to enable the believer to move on to Pentecost.

Her preaching ministry then took her around England and on to Scandinavia, Russia, Switzerland, Canada, the USA, and India. She spoke at conferences such as Mildmay and Keswick. She records the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Australian Keswick Convention of 1891, speaking of people who were “drunk with the joy of the Lord”.

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She was also involved in the Welsh Revival of 1904-5, developing a close relationship with Evan Roberts, the principal evangelist of that revival. When Roberts suffered a mental breakdown in 1905 she and her husband welcomed him into their home where he lived for many years. He also co-authored several works with her.

She credits South African writer Andrew Murray as having had a profound impact on her, through his writings.

In her preaching and writing there developed a strong holiness theme … which placed emphasis upon the complete crucifixion of the ‘flesh’. Nevertheless, she was also invited to speak at the Keswick Convention in 1927 … where the doctrine of holiness is based more on the new nature ‘counteracting’ the old nature, rather than the ‘crucifixion’ view that she held in common with those of the Wesleyan tradition.

She established the Llandrindod Wells Convention in Wales and later the Matlock Conferences. She contributed regularly to “The Overcomer”, a quarterly with worldwide circulation, which she founded in 1908.

Her book, War on the Saints, became a best seller in Christian circles. She also wrote Spiritual Warfare and over a dozen other books, and at one time at least, she believed that the Great Tribulation began in 1906.

Jessie Penn-Lewis died in London on 15 August, 1927.

Not everyone thinks highly of Jessie Penn-Lewis. Some say that she developed an obsessive distrust of spiritual manifestations, such as were evident in the Welsh Revival and in the Sunderland Pentecostalism.

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist

Amanda Jane Berry Smith died, on February 24, 1915. She was born into slavery on a farm in Long Green in Maryland, USA on January 23, 1837. She was the oldest daughter in a family of thirteen children. Her father was able to buy his freedom, with funds raised by selling products he made in his spare time. He then continued raising funds until he had purchased his wife and his five children born in slavery.

Amanda was an enterprising young lady. She taught herself to read by cutting out large letters from her father’s newspapers then asking her mother to make words for her to read. “I shall never forget how delighted I was when I first read: ‘The house, the tree, the dog, the cow.’ I thought I knew it all.”

Amanda’s parents were devout and the father read the Bible to his family each day. Amanda was converted at the age of 13, during a revival at a Methodist Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania.

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Her own words were that she was “a poor coloured servant girl sitting away back by the door” when a young white women entreated her with tears to accept Christ. “I was the only coloured girl there, but I went. She knelt beside me with her arms around me and prayed for me…”
She felt the Lord’s touch at her conversion. “I went to get up, but found I could not stand. They took hold of me and stood me on my feet. My strength seemed to come to me, but I was frightened. I was afraid to step. I seemed to be so light. In my heart was peace, but I did not know how to exercise faith as I should. I went home and resolved I would be the Lord’s and live for him. All the days were happy and bright.”

She married at the age of 17, but her husband, although ‘religious’, turned out to be a drunkard. He joined the Union Army during the Civil War and never returned. She later married James Smith, a deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who also became indifferent to things spiritual. But Amanda’s faith kept growing.

A sermon on holiness by a Presbyterian evangelist, John S Inskip, was indeed a “second blessing” to her. Gone were her fears of ‘white people’. “I would rather be black and fully saved than white and not saved”, she said.

She began to preach. Invitations came from across the United States – and even England. “In 1876 she was invited to speak at a Keswick Conference”, then to Scotland, India and Burma. She was not, emphasises one biographer, a feminist or an agitator for women’s ordination. “The thought of ordination never once entered my mind, for I had received my ordination from Him who said, ‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you …”

Smith became a legendary personality in her own time. This was achieved by her published works, mostly as letters to such periodicals as Wesleyan/Holiness, Methodist Episcopal, and African-American Methodist, from the 1870s until her death. Her book “An Autobiography: The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith, the Colored Evangelist: Containing an Account of Her Life Work of Faith, and Her Travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Africa as an Independent Missionary” was published in 1893 and sold widely.

Amanda Smith died in 1915 in a suburb of Chicago, where she had spent her last years heading up an orphanage for black children. She was 78 years of age.

Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history

This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com

Andrew Murray

This is the day that … Andrew Murray was born in South Africa, in 1828.

His father was a Scot who pastored a Dutch Reformed Church – some 500 miles north east of Cape Town – for 44 years.

The two sons were sent to Scotland for their education, and after graduation they both set their sights on the ministry.  This meant theological training in Holland … and a culture shock!  For now they found themselves surrounded by clergy who “drank alcohol and used tobacco.”  Their father wrote to his sons and warned them to abstain from such practices.

During his theological studies (at the age of 17, in 1845) he received news that another son had been born to his parents.  His reply:  “And equal I am sure will be your delight when I tell you that I can communicate to you far gladder tidings over which angels have rejoiced, that your son has been born again!”

Ordained with his brother, John, on 9 May, 1848 (Andrew’s 20th birthday), they returned to minister in South Africa.

Nearly 50 years of serving the Lord lay ahead, during which time Andrew Murray pastored four churches, wrote 250 books and booklets (many of which became best sellers and are still in print), and preached at great conferences in Europe and America.  He spoke at the English Keswick Convention and Moody’s Northfield Conference.

Whilst it is true that his books seem to breathe “a holy serenity,” he was not a quiet speaker.  Even in his old age we are told that he was dynamic and demonstrative in the pulpit.  “When church custodians heard that Mr Murray would be preaching (in their church) they would remove everything extraneous lest he knock them down and break them!”

Death came on 18 January, 1917 – his dying words being to the nurse who attended him:  “Have faith in God, my child.  Do not doubt Him” (Biography, page 243).