Monday, April 24, 2006

J Hudson Taylor - A Man in Christ (Roger Steer)

One of the (many) things I did this last week was read an excellent biography of Hudson Taylor, which I'd thoroughly recommend. By the time he became prominent, Hudson Taylor was an awesome spiritual giant (or as he would have said, a servant of an awesome God). This biography helps you see how he got there, how he learnt to trust God, and how his offering of his whole life was used by God to bring so much glory to his name.

Here's a link to the page. And here's a review of it on the site of the mission society descended from the one he founded.

Here's a quote from Hudson Taylor, quoted in the book:

How are we going to treat the Lord Jesus with reference to this command? Shall we definitely drop the title "Lord" as applied to him and take the ground that we are quite willing to recognise him as our Saviour so far as the penalty of our sin is concerned, but we are not prepared to own ourselves "bought at a price" or Him as having any claim on our unquestioning obedience? Shall we say that we are our own masters, willing to yield something as His due, who bought us with His blood, provided He does not ask too much? Our lives, our loved ones, our possessions are our own, not His: we will give Him what we think fit, and obey any of His requirements that do not demand too great a sacrifice? To be taken to heaven by Jesus Christ we are more than willing, but we will not have this man to reign over us.

The heart of every Christian will undoubtedly reject the proposition, so formulated; but have not countless lives in each generation been lived as though it were proper ground to take? How few of the Lord's people have practically recognised the truth that Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all! If we can judge God's Word, instead of being judged by that Word; if we can give to God as much or as little as we like, then we are lords and He is the indebted one, to be grateful for our dole and obliged by our compliance with his wishes. If, on the other hand, He is Lord, let us treat him as such.


Anonymous said...

Thank for this great and inspiring post, John. But I'm a little worried about it: who can truly say that Christ is Lord of *all* his or her life? But if Hudson Taylor is right then nobody can claim that Christ is Lord at all of him or her, i.e., surely, there are no Christians? Else what does it mean to say that Jesus is Lord? (And, come to that, what does it mean to `accept Christ as Saviour'?)

Daniel Hill

PS Could you make the link a bit more obvious, please?

John said...

Links duly modified. I tend to find links mostly using mouseovers...

I think what Hudson Taylor meant in that context was that Jesus being Lord of all our lives means that if we become aware of something he wants us to do, we do our utmost to do it, even though it might take much struggle and time.

In terms of the impossibility of total obedience to God rather than just total conscious submission to God's will, I think that would be a case where Galatians 2:17ff comes in with the idea that our sinful fallenness merely highlights our need for God's continued grace shown towards us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Custard.

The problem I have is that in my sinfulness I don't always do my utmost to do what I know God wants me to do. I don't think I always have even total conscious submission to God's will. So, by Taylor's lights, I'm not a Christian?

Daniel Hill

John said...

I am of course in the same boat here.

I'm pretty sure Taylor would say that we are Christians, just very inconsistent ones.

For my part, once I become convinced that God wants me to do something, I do try to do it, though it is often difficult and can take many years.

More often, my problem is that I rather suspect God wants me to do something, so I deliberately don't put effort into dealing with semi-spurious objections, remain unconvinced and don't do it.