Charles Thomas Studd known as CT Studd was born on December 5, 1860 in Northallerton, England. He was one of three sons that were born to Edward Studd who was a wealthy planter. Edward had a made a fortune off planting in India and then retired and came to England to be able to enjoy his retirement and wealth. Edward particularly loved sports and especially horse racing in which he could gamble his money. One day a friend of Edward named Mr. Vincent was recently converted to Christ and invited Edward to come with him to an event where the great preacher DL Moody was going to be speaking at. Edward didn’t want to go but he want reluctantly with Mr. Vincent. Upon arriving at the theater where DL Moody was speaking they found that all the regular seats were occupied but Mr. Vincent had a friend who was an usher that found them a seat right in from of DL Moody on stage. Edward was captivated by what DL was preaching and it worked upon his heart. After the meeting was over he said “I will come and hear this man again. He just told me everything I have ever done.” He went back to those meetings and was converted to Christ thru the preaching of DL Moody. Edward who love his cards, dancing, horse racing and many other worldly entertainments went to talk with DL Moody about what to do with such things. In response DL Moody said to Edward “Mr Studd, you have children and people you love; you are now a saved man yourself, and you want to get them saved. As soon as you have won a soul, you won’t care about any of the other things.” After that Edward took DL’s advice and forsook at of these things and began to spread the gospel.
Edward began to furnish a large area of his estate to have gospel meetings and invited many preachers to come and preach. He himself would ride through the countryside and urging people to come to the meetings and there were many people that would attend. A guest was once talking to Edward Studd’s carriage driver about the change that had taken place in his life with Christ, to which the carriage driver responded “Well sir, we don’t know much about that, but all I can say is that though there’s the same skin, there’s a new man inside!” Edward only lived 2 years after his conversion to Christ and at his funeral it was said of Edward Studd “did more in two years than most Christians do in twenty.”
CT and his three brothers at the time of their father’s conversion were away at Eton College where they were great cricket players. It was during that time that their father had arranged to meet with his boys in London to let them know of his conversion to Christ. They were unaware of his conversion and they thought they were going to meet with their Father to go to a musical in London at the theater. They were shocked when the carriage their father picked them up in stopped in front of a hall that said “Moody and Sankey Revival.” The conversion of CT’s father would have a significant impact on his own conversion to Christ. In fact CT said in regards to seeing his father live out his new life in Christ “Before that time, I thought that religion was a Sunday thing, like one’s Sunday clothes, to be put away on Monday morning. We boys went to church regularly, but, although we had a kind of religion, it didn’t amount to much. We were always sorry to have Sunday come since it was the dullest day of the whole week, then I met a real live ‘play the game’ Christian and it was my own father.”
The next year CT and his brothers spent the summer of 1878 with their father on his estate where he would have many preachers come to lead gospel meetings. One particular day he had a preacher come to speak at the gospel meeting. One afternoon the preacher had approached CT to ask him about his relationship with Christ that would change his life. CT recounts the event in his own words in saying “As I was going out to play cricket, he caught me unaware and asked, ‘Are you a Christian?’ I said ‘I am not what you call a Christian. I have believed on Jesus Christ since I was knee high. Of course, I believe in the Church, too. I thought that with such an answer, I would get rid of him.” Although CT thought his answer would rid the preacher from further conversation, yet the preacher persisted and as result in that moment CT entrusted himself to Christ. CT said of that moment with that preacher “..right then and there joy and peace came into my soul. I knew then what it was to be ‘born again.’ and the Bible, which had been so dry to me before, became everything.” CT didn’t tell his other brothers right away as to what he had done, but when they all returned to College they were all surprised to find out that they all had given their life to Christ, on the same day, thru the impact of the same preacher.
Yet despite his decision to follow Christ CT didn’t make a lot of progress in his Christian walk and he spent 6 years in a complacent state in his walk with Christ. CT would say of this period of his life “I was selfish and kept the knowledge of Christ to myself. Gradually my love began to grow cold, and the love of the world began to come in. I spent six years in that unhappy backslidden state.”Although his spiritual condition was slacking his natural talents in the game of cricket were rising. In the year 1880-1882 he had become a star cricket player at Trinity College in Cambridge and became famous as being one of the world’s greatest cricket players. In fact he was probably the best known athlete of his day in England. CT awoke from his spiritual slumber in 1884 when a seriousness illness that fell upon his brother George, that was life threatening. Upon seeing his brother’s condition and not knowing whether his brother would live or die asked himself “Now what is all the world’s popularity worth to George? What are fame and flattery worth? Is it worth possessing all the world’s riches, when a man faces eternity?” In light of this CT began to evaluate his own priorities in light of eternity, and as result of his brothers illness it restored CT back to right spiritual condition, and in turn his brother’s physical health was restored as well.
After this experience CT went again to hear DL Moody who happened to be in the area and after hearing DL preach said in his own words “There the Lord met me again and restored me the joy of His salvation.” Soon after his priorities began to change and he began to share the gospel with his friends and many others and began to see results and many fruits from his efforts. Upon bringing his first convert to Christ he said “I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures this world can give, but they were nothing compared to the joy the saving of that one soul gave me. Formerly I had as much love for cricket as any man could have, but when the Lord Jesus came into my heart, I found that I had something infinitely better than cricket. My heart was no longer in the game; I wanted to win souls for the Lord. I knew that cricket would not last, and honor would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worthwhile living for the world to come.”
CT began to seek God’s direction and will for his life and he at first after consulting some friends decided to study law. However he was not at peace with this and realized it was a mistake to consult friends over God’s direction. CT began asking himself “How could I spend the best years of my life in working for myself and the honors and pleasures of this world, while thousands and thousands of souls are perishing every day without having heard of Christ?” It was at that time that CT felt the call of the Lord to go to China. When CT made the decision to go to China there were many who tried to dissuade him from going including his friends, family, and hardest of all his mother. CT applied with the China Inland Mission and he was accepted along with six of his other friends from Cambridge. These seven men became known as the “Cambridge Seven.” Before they left they had went through Britain preaching the gospel and seeing many young people converted to Christ through their preaching and testimonies.
CT and his friends arrived in China in 1885 and began to live like the people as much as possible in the way that they would eat, dress, and their customs. It was in China that CT spent much time with the Lord in His word and getting up early to spend time with God. He spent 10 years in China and went through great hardships in some of the most remote areas of China in order to bring the gospel to people who had never heard it before. Yet the preaching of CT and the “Cambridge Seven” bore much fruit, and at the age of 25 while in China CT received an inheritance from his father’s will which turned out to be what in equivalent of over 25 millions dollars in US currency. CT could have hoarded the money and took it with him to China and spent it all on himself or his mission. Yet he sought the Lord’s direction as to what to do exactly with the money. Under the Lord’s direction he gave significant amounts of the money to George Mueller’s mission work and orphanages, some money to DL Moody to start Moody Bible Institute, some to Salvation Army work in India, and some to China Inland Mission to send out new workers. After 10 years of serving in China CT and his wife Priscilla were in ill health and had to return to England and once CT recovered to took to a preaching trip in America. After three years of being in China he met his wife Priscilla a young Irish missionary. Before the wedding he presented Priscilla the remaining money from the inheritance to which she responded “Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do? Sell all? Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding.” As a result they gave the rest of the inheritance money away for the Lord’s work.
In 1900 CT Studd went to India to preach the gospel where his well known father had made his fortune. It was his father’s wish that India would be reached for the gospel and CT felt responsible for seeing that would happen. CT’s brother said “the people in North India know the name of Studd, but what have they seen? Studd in indigo planter, Studd seeking wealth, but never Studd seeking the salvation of the souls, are they not going to see Studd the ambassador of Jesus Christ?” As result CT traveled far and wide across India to preach the gospel and ended up settling in the town of Ooctacamud. It became a city known that preached the gospel and also known as “the place to be avoided unless a man means to get converted.” He stayed in India until 1906 and then because of ill health he had to go back to England again.
In 1908 while he was living in Liverpool he happen to notice a sign for a meeting that caught his attention that said “Cannibals Want Missionaries.” CT went inside to see what this was all about and as result it would be through that event that God began to call CT to one of the greatest works of his life. When he went into the meeting there was a Christian missionary speaking that said there were many tribes in Central Africa that had never heard the gospel and those words began to seek deep into his heart and soul. So at the age of 50 despite 15 years of ill health CT believed that God was raising him up to go to those in Africa that had never heard the gospel. A committee of Christian businessmen agreed to support CT if he gained the approval of physicians of being able to go. His physicians had refused permission for him to go to Africa. Despite this CT was set on the the fact that he was called to go to Africa and said to the committee “Gentlemen, God has called me to go and I will go. I will blaze a trail, though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger men may follow.”
In 1910 CT left England by boat and went to Africa and left behind his wife and four daughters. Two years after getting into Africa at the age of 52, CT along with a young co-worker named Alfred Buxton traveled by bicycle and foot into the heart of Africa in the Congo. It took them nine months to be able to get into this part of the heart of Africa. After returning to England for reinforcements he labored in the heart of Africa from 1916 till his death in 1931. He established the “Heart of Africa” mission to make the gospel known in Belgian Congo. There was much fruit that was bore for the gospel as result of CT’s work in the heart of the Congo. When CT was 70 years old and in the Ituri Province he decided to translate the New Testament in the Kingwana language. The task was daunting for a 70 year old man and yet he took on the task of the translation. CT worked at the translation night and day and at times up to 18 hours at a time with no meals but only what he gulped down while he was writing. He he translated a man named Jack Harrison typed it. At the end of the day Jack would have to gently massage CT just so that he could be able to sit up straight again. CT ended up finishing the translation of the New Testament along with the Psalms and Proverbs at the expense of suffering through many heart attacks. He suffered much during his time in Africa and lost several of his teeth and suffered several heart attacks. CT Studd died on July 16, 1931 at the age of 70 and there were nearly 2,000 African natives that attended his funeral.He suffered much during his time in Africa and lost several of his teeth and suffered several heart attacks.
CT Studd’s life is one that challenges Christians today to be more than just set in a pew but to take action as a good soldier for Christ in our culture and in the world for the Gospel. Perhaps a tract that CT wrote called “A Chocolate Christian” sums up the passion that CT had for the Christian life when he wrote “Every true Christian is a soldier of Christ, a hero, braver than the brave, who counts disease, danger, and death as his bosom of friends. Otherwise he is a ‘Chocolate Christian,’ dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire.” CT’s life was consumed with the gospel and his heart burned for those who didn’t know it and once said “Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, but I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.” CT also said “Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”