It’s not often you hear a story about a bunch of social elites throwing away everything to pursue a life of devotion to spreading the Gospel. But that’s exactly what the Cambridge Seven did.
I was inspired to reading about these men when it was mentioned a few times.
The first time was at the visitor’s night of MYC, where Ben Rae had stirred up a crowd with his excellent sermon on 2 Corinthians 5. He talked about C.T. Studd, famous English cricketer of his time who gave his fame and prestige away to preach Christ crucified. This started to spark my interest.
The second time was when our pastor grabbed seven young people after church, and took us all around the boardroom table of church, and likened our callings to the Cambridge Seven. I was further intrigued to find that C.T. Studd was part of the Cambridge Seven. I just had to read about these men.
The book, by John Pollock is a very easy read to get through. It’s not too long (125 pages) but quite profound in its message if you’re interested in reading about the endeavours of early missionaries in unreached places.
It follows the diaries, and historical accounts of seven affluent individuals who were born into privilege in England, circa late 1800’s. They were all highly educated at the top universities of their time. Oxford, Cambridge and Eaton. Most of them were esteemed sportsmen, top of their fields, had careers and prestige lined up, or going to inherit their family fortunes. Either way, they were household names and drew attention to themselves.
However, it dawned on them, that when hearing the Gospel message, and learning what Christ had done with His atoning work for us meant that their (and our) lives belongs to Him, and we should live our lives as such.
Filled with this fervour and conviction. The Seven journeyed around the UK conducting massive crusades to those that would lend an ear, prior to leaving for overseas China. Reaching the unreached.
The synopsis is as follows:
Harold Schofield, a brilliant Oxford doctor who had laboured as a missionary in China for many years, was on his knees praying, ‘Lord, give me missionaries from British University to help in China’.
The day he died, D.E. Hoste applied to Hudson Taylor for mission work in the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). Schofield’s prayer was answered as seven Cambridge students volunteered to leave behind cosy lives of wealth and privilege to serve God in whatever way they were led.
These seven inspired thousands of others to think seriously of missionary service. Included among them was C.T. Studd, captain of England and the finest cricketer of his day – if he could give all that up, then so could anyone!
The story of these seven are an inspiration that God can take people and use them in incredible ways – if they are willing to serve. As Pollock says in his book “theirs is the story of ordinary men, and thus may be repeated’. Will it be repeated in your life?
I’ll leave you with words that made probably the biggest impression with me while reading the book, and encouraged me. From C.T. Studd:
“I had known about Jesus Christ dying for me, but had never understood that if he died for me, then I didn’t belong to myself. Redemption means “buying back”, so that if I belonged to Him, either I had to be a thief and keep what wasn’t mine or else I had to give up everything to God. When I came to see that Jesus Christ had died for me, it didn’t seem hard to give up all for Him. It seemed just common, ordinary honesty”
I’m sure you can find the book at any shop. I believe I got mine from Koorong which you’re welcome to borrow!