REL 330 - History of Christianity

Course Notes

Week 13

The text book does not mention several events and people who were important for the spread of the Church in Africa and the Far East.
Amongst these are James Hannington, Joseph Mukasa and the other Martyrs of Uganda,
Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission
The "Cambridge Seven"
and Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewski, missionary to Japan


James Hannington (1847-1885) was an English Anglican clergyman, who felt the call to go as a missionary to Africa. Two missionaries had already been murdered, and James' Hannington's health had been endangered by the climate of Africa, but he set out in 1884 to travel to Buganda, where there had been a Kabaka (King) who had claimed to be a Christian. However, that Kabaka had died, and his 16-year-old son Mwanga was the new Kabaka and was very antagonistic towards Christianity. On arrival in Buganda, James Hannington was imprisoned for eight days, and was then shot to death by the Kabaka's men. His last recorded words were "Go tell your master that I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood"
When news of his murder reached Britain, 53 more young men applied to the Church Missionary Society to become missionaries in his place.

Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe (ca. 1860-1885) was sent by his family at the age of 14 to be a page boy at the court of the Kabaka of Buganda. Roman Catholic missionaries came to Buganda in 1879 and Mukasa started to learn about Christianity, and was given the name of Joseph when he was baptized in 1882. Later that same year, the Roman Catholic missionaries left Buganda because the situation there was unsafe, and Joseph Mukasa became the leader of the group of African Christians who remained. Joseph Mukasa remained at court, and became the Majordomd (court official) to the new young Kabaka, Mwanga II. However, there was increasing tension between Mukasa and Mwanga. Mukasa had interceded when some of the Christian converts were being persecuted, and he rebuked Mwanga for the murder of James Hannington. He also rescued some of the African boy pages from Mwanga's sexual abuse.
In retaliation, Mwanga ordered that Mukasa be burned alive. When facing death, he told his executioner "Tell Mwanga he has condemned me unjustly, but I forgive him with all my heart."
The executioner was so moved by Mukasa's conduct, that he killed him swiftly with a knife, and then burned his body.
Mwanga fell into a rage, and ordered all the Christian converts in his court to choose between Christianity and complete obedience to himself and his sexual desires. At least 22 Roman Catholic young men and boys - one only 14 years old, refused to renounce their faith, and were burnt to death. They are now commemorated as the Martyrs of Uganda. Mwanga's persecution continued, and both Protestant and Roman Catholic converts were either speared or burned to death.

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was born into a Methodist family. His parents prayed that he would become a missionary to China and as a teenager he studied Medicine and Mandarin Chinese in preparation for his mission. In 1853, at the age of 23, he sailed for China. On arrival he decided that he would not dress as a European and spend time with European traders and businessmen, but that he would wear Chinese dress, grow his hair into a pigtail like the Chinese, and head into inland China. He started work on translating the Bible into some of the Chinese dialects, and recruited other missionaries, both men and women, to join him. In 1865 he founded the China Inland Mission, and it is estimated that by the time of his death he had brought 800 missionaries to China and begun up to 125 schools.

The Cambridge Seven were seven undergraduates at Cambridge University: Montague Beauchamp,, William W. Cassels, D.E. Hoste, Arthur T. Polhill-Turner and his brother Cecil H. Polhill-Turner, Stanley P. Smith, and C.T. (Charles Thomas) Studd. They were all young men from privileged backgrounds - C.T. Studd was a member of the English Cricket Team. They spent time together in Bible study and prayer, and some of them already knew Hudson Taylor, and knew about the China Inland Mission. In 1884 C. T. Studd and Stanley Smith attended a meeting of the China Inland Mission, which inspired them to offer themselves as missionaries. During the next few weeks their friends also felt the call to mission in China and in 1885 they sailed together to join the mission field.
Montague Beauchamp traveled for hundreds of miles on foot, often with Hudson Taylor, preaching and teaching. He returned to England in 1911 and served as a chaplain with the British Army. His son also became a missionary to China, and in 1935 Montague Beauchamp returned to work in China. He died at his son's mission station in 1939.
William Cassels was assigned to Western China, and was made Bishop of Western China in 1895, where he lived and worked until his death in 1925.
Dixon Hoste became the Director of the China Inland Mission in 1903. He led the Mission until he retired in 1935. But he remained in China until 1945, when he was interned by the Japanese during WWII. He died in London, in May 1946, the last surviving member of "The Cambridge Seven".
Arthur Polhill-Turner remained for many years in China, and was ordained as a minister in 1888. He retired in 1928 and returned to England, where he died in 1935.
Cecil Polhill-Turner, Arthur's older brother, moved northwest, towards Tibet. In 1900, he became so ill that he was sent home to England. He did manage to make several more missionary visits to China and eventually died in England in 1938
Stanley Smith was sent to North China. He became a fluent a preacher in Chinese, and remained there, preaching and teaching until he died in 1931
C.T. Studd became so ill in China that he was sent back to England in 1894. However, his health improved, and he then went to India as a missionary for six years. In 1920 he went as a missionary to tropical Africa, where he died in the Belgian Congo in 1931.

Samuel Joseph Isaac Schereschewski (1831-1906) was born in Lithuania, as a member of a Jewish family. His family wished him to become a rabbi, and he was studying in rabbinic school when he was given a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew. As he studied the New Testament, he was convinced that Jesus did fulfill the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, and he left rabbinic school and traveled to Germany for further study.
He emigrated to the USA in 1854, and was baptized as a Christian in 1855. He studied, first with the Baptists, then the Presbyterians, and then with the Episcopal Church, where he was ordained as a deacon in 1859. By this time he had been accepted as a missionary to China.
After his arrival in China he was ordained as an Episcopalian priest, and served as a missionary in Peking, where he founded a Christian College and worked on translating the Bible into Chinese dialects. In 1877 he was made the Episcopal bishop of China, but he reigned in 1883 when he was stricken with paralysis and confined to a wheelchair.
In 1895 he moved to Shanghai to continue his translation work, completing a Mandarin Bible in 1895, and a Wenli Bible in 1902. He typed the last 2,000 pages with the middle finger of his partially crippled hand.
Four years before his death he said: "I have sat in this chair for over twenty years. It seemed very hard at first. But God knew best. He kept me for the work for which I am best fitted."
He died in Tokyo in 1906.

Copyright © 2005 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Station 19, ENMU
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated : February 11, 2017

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional   Valid CSS!