Category Archives: Religion

Check out Jacob Chamberlain’s classic book, “The Kingdom India”

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The Kingdom in India
Jacob Chamberlain
missionary adventure
Full Well Ventures
May 26, 2014

The Rev. Jacob Chamberlain, M.D., D.D., (1835-1908) served as a missionary to India with the Reformed Church in America for nearly fifty years, mainly stationed at Madanapalle, where he tended the sick, preached the Gospel in many cities and villages, distributed Christian literature, and contributed to the establishment of a number of schools and colleges, infirmaries and hospitals.


The Kingdom in India: Its Promise and Progress (Paperback)

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," written in 1908, is his third and final book, written shortly before his death and published posthumously. In the first few chapters Chamberlain details some of the issues faced by Christian apologists introducing Jesus to a people whose country was dominated by the polytheistic religiosity of Hinduism and Buddhism. He goes on to summarize some of the amazing stories of conversions that he personally saw during his many years of missionary service.

It is interesting to note that Full Well publisher has recently deemed the India missionary’s classic book worthy of reprinting in a paperback format. I recently read this book and found it very interesting, a richly detailed personification of 19th century missions programs around the world, particularly in India.

For those who are wondering about the rationale behind the explosion of Christian mission programs during the 19th and 20th centuries, Chamberlain’s book, “The Kingdom in India,” provides a very good place to start your studies. Jacob Chamberlain’s life story provides an exceptional model of Christian missionary service, one who served as Christ’s hands of ministry, fulfilling the Great Commission of the New Testament. Chamberlain’s life story echoes the words of Jesus as he began his ministry at the synagogue in Nazareth, unrolling the scroll to read aloud the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then, in explanation of the text, Jesus said to those assembled there, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4)

Although critics typically accuse 19th century Christian missionaries of paternalism, the truth is that the backward conditions in countries such as India during the 19th century perhaps explain the need for the leadership they provided, which explains why American missionaries and doctors at the time found wide open doors for their service of providing educational and medical programs in the 19th and 20th centuries. Certainly the role of American missionaries in the 21st century may never be quite the same now that the nations of the world have been challenged to provide higher living standards, health care, and education for their peoples. And yet Jesus, in another place, tells us that the poor we have with us always, both the spiritually poor as well as the materially poor. In every age, in every place, in many ways Christ continues to seek disciples who will be his hands of ministry to those in need.

Founder of Trust magazine had unusual ministry opportunities

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Complete In HimIt is so easy for “contemporary” people to look back at the religious teachers of a century ago with a certain disdain for what may seem to us old-fashioned clothing styles. We may imagine their lives very regimented and strict, all work and no play. This is partly because we only see them from the context of our own times. We find it very hard to imagine the social environment into which they were born and shaped their lives. Only bits and pieces of the past survive, perhaps a few old black-and-white photographs or battered newspaper clippings that present a dimly gray glimpse into the events and the people of earlier times. Elizabeth V. Baker (1849-1915), a leader of the early Pentecostal movement, is just such a enigma from the past.

Following her self-described unhappy childhood in Rochester, New York, Mrs. Baker and her four sisters, daughters of the Rev. James Duncan, a Methodist minister, collaborated later in life to build a church and a Bible training school, and published a magazine, Trust, which continued publication from 1902 until 1932, reprinting Mrs. Baker’s sermons and articles long after her death in 1915. In the final issue, the magazine’s editor, reports that after completing 30 years of publication she is 78 years old and unable to continue the magazine financed solely by freewill offerings.

Mrs. Baker’s success is one of those unexplained anomalies of history. At a time when divorce would have sidelined most people aspiring to the ministry, Mrs. Baker was twice divorced. An abusive marriage at age 20 ended quickly. A second marriage started well. When she was ill of a throat condition, her husband called in doctors and specialists. But relief came through an experience of divine healing, after a local pastor prayed for her.

Baker soon became an advocate for the cause of faith healing, an enthusiasm not shared by her husband who left her about 10 years later. In Rochester, she and her four sisters—Mary Work, Nellie Fell, and Hattie and Susan Duncan—founded a faith healing home, a place where persons suffering from debilitating illnesses could retreat for prayer. Elim Faith Home opened in 1895.

After doing short-term missions work in India in 1898, Mrs. Baker raised $75,000 to support the outreach to the Mukti people. Then in 1907, after hearing of the Pentecostal revival at Azusa Street, Baker and her sisters hosted revival meetings that led to the founding of a Pentecostal church in Rochester, Elim Tabernacle. Because a male pastor was not easily found, Mrs. Baker continued to supervise the ministry and preached regularly in the pulpit. The Duncan sisters also founded Elim Publishing and Rochester Bible Training School, training numerous missionaries who went on to spread the gospel message around the world. After her death in 1915, her sisters published her autobiography, “Chronicles of a Faith Life.”

The extraordinary depth of Mrs. Baker’s ministry seems to demonstrate that with faith one can certainly overcome many difficulties and personal shortcomings. In some strictly denominational church circles, such a ministry never would have blossomed, but with the unconditional support of a family, Mrs. Baker was able to do amazing things.