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A Man in Christ

by Roger Steer
367 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by niennasiblings

Excellently written biography of an inspiring man.

Plot

This book is the record of James Hudson Taylor's life from his birth to his death. Hudson Taylor struggled with doubts about his faith, but the prayers of his mother and sister brought him through. He then went on to become a missionary doctor in China during the Taiping and Boxer rebellions. He founded the China Inland Mission, known today as the OMF International, and became a well known speaker throughout England and eventually America.

Morality

Hudson upholds Biblical standards in his life. He deals with real, fallen people around him, including missionaries who dislike him and disapprove of his methods and accuse him of bad things - but of course this is not seen as a good thing on their part. The Chinese sometimes practice unholy things, but this is clearly seen as wrong.

Spiritual Content

Hudson is a Protestant Christian of no denomination and he comes in contact with some atheism and a great deal of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and other Chinese religious beliefs, but none of these are described in much detail.

Violence

Many people become very ill at various times. Several people including main characters die from sickness. A number of people, including children, are killed in the Boxer Rebellion; but the reader is only informed of this, and not in any detail.
A mob of eight to ten thousand people attack the missionaries and it is described in detail, but no one is fatally injured.

Hudson and some of his friends are very roughly treated at the hands of drunkards, including a very bad beating of one man and death threats in a different situation.

The missionaries are accused by one town of scooping out the eyes of the dying, eating the children in their hospitals, cutting pregnant women open to make medicine, and then of stealing twenty-four Chinese children and eating them (the book does not get any more descriptive than this). These accusations are completely groundless and seen as such by the authorities, but cause quite a stir.

Drug and Alcohol Content

It is mentioned that Taylor drinks wine and port more than once. Taylor and those with him deal with drunk people several times (and it is seen as bad that they are drunk).

A large part of Taylor's ministry for a time was helping opium addicts get rid of their addiction and there are a couple briefly-told stories about those people.
A main character takes a large dose of opium once for medical reasons.

Sexual Content

An immoral play is performed, with prostitutes, brothels, and gambling booths surrounding it. Hudson and another missionary arrive there and attempt to put an end to it. Taylor described it as "Satan's camp" and "Vanity Fair".

A main character who is a missionary is accused of having inappropriate relations with some other unmarried ladies. This accusation is groundless and phrased delicately. A main character kisses his fiancée several times upon their engagement, saying he has to make up for all the kisses he should have had the last few weeks.

One wife writes to her husband whom she is separated from and misses very much, saying "When shall I kiss you again and feel your loving arms around me?" One man gives a couple of missionary women a "pat down" in an effort to find any valuables on them.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

Missionaries' lives are inspiring, and Taylor's is no exception. He learned to take God at His Word and believe in God's promises in practical life. God said that if we have faith like a mustard seed, God will move mountains at our request, and He did for Hudson. It is convicting, uplifting, and encouraging to see how much of a normal person Hudson Taylor was, but how much God used him and sanctified him.

This book talks about Taylor's doubts and fears and loves and longings. It is well written, easy to read, gives many facts including the historical context, and contains many quotes from Hudson and those who knew him.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

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