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Adoniram Judson

By Vance Christie
December 2013 | Review by Alan Wells
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-78191-147-1
  • Pages: 384
  • Price: 7.19
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Book Review

Adoniram Judson
Vance Christie
Christian Focus Publications
384, £8.99
ISBN: 978-1-78191-147-1
Star Rating: 4

Few men since the apostle Paul can have experienced the intensity of missionary life more than Adoniram Judson (1788-1850). In this addition to the ‘History Makers series’ of biographies, Vance Christie recounts the inspirational story of America’s first foreign missionary.

Following his remarkable conversion, Judson burned with zeal to bring the gospel to the heathen. He travelled first to India, meeting Carey at Serampore, but the obstructive East India Company seemed to limit his options, until he was providentially led to Burma. There Judson laboured for almost 40 years.

How hard he laboured! Burma was ruled feudal-style by despotic rulers, who harboured deep suspicion of foreigners and periodically sought to curb attempts to evangelise Buddhists.

British military action led to the missionaries’ arrest as suspected spies and their imprisonment in degrading conditions for over 18 months. The tropical climate brought a cycle of sickness and disease, causing the early death of Judson’s first wife, Ann, and later his second wife, Sarah, herself previously widowed.

Through it all, Judson persisted, translating the Bible into Burmese, distributing thousands of tracts, preaching and debating daily, maintaining a strategic vision for the building of the Burmese church.

Six years passed, however, before the first Burmese convert and, in the difficult decade that followed, further conversions came in a trickle rather than a flood. In due course the Lord owned his labours — and those of others who joined him — and, at his death, Burmese Christians were to be numbered in their thousands.

This is a thrilling record of a life truly devoted to the cause of Christ. A little over 350 pages, it is perhaps briefer and more accessible than earlier works on Judson, but still a thorough account, with extensive use of original diaries and letters.

Alan Wells

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