Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Atheists Who Inspire

The life of C.T. Studd stands as one of the great stories of sacrifice and service in modern Christian history. Charles Thomas Studd was from a wealthy English family and was an all English-Cricketer. He had everything a young man could desire; he had enough money to last a lifetime and he had fame. Although C.T. enjoyed all of these things he gave them all up to become one of the greatest missionary leaders of his day.
His life stands as a sign to all succeeding generations that it is worth while to lose all this world can offer and stake everything on the world to come. His life will be an eternal rebuke to easygoing Christianity. He has demonstrated what it means to follow Christ without counting the cost and without looking back.[1]
So what was it that caused this wealthy athletic Brit to turn from a life of fame and comfort to a life of relative anonymity and sacrifice? God certainly used many circumstances to transform the life of this young man. But perhaps the most defining and catalytic moments of C.T. Studd's life came in the form of a tract. Not a gospel tract mind you, but an Atheistic tract intended to insult weak-minded Christians. The tract read:

"Did I firmly believe, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, religion would mean everything to me. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labour in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of Eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences should never stay my hand nor seal my lips. Earth—its joys and its griefs—would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon Eternity alone and on the immortal souls around me soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be, ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?"
He was never the same again.

Penn Jillette, comedian/illusionist/juggler/writer best known for his work with fellow illusionist Teller in the team Penn & Teller, is also an outspoken atheist. He has on many public occasions in Carlin-esque fashion picked apart and ridiculed the faith of millions. He is an enemy of God and no friend of the faithful. Nevertheless, Penn Gillette said something recently that sounds very much like the atheistic tract that landed in C.T. Studd's hands. Penn's words should stand as a rebuke to the "easygoing christian" and a charge to the faithful.

[1] C.T. Studd: Cricketer & Pioneer by Norman Grubb


Andy said...

Hey Josh,
I think every church and every Christian in America and across the world should see this. C.T. Studd points out the why and the video points out the how. A devout athiest was touched even for a moment. Eternity will remember. Even if Penn never comes to salvation others can a will because of this man's honest attempt. May the Lamb that was slain recieve His reward.
God Bless,

Thaysse said...

The most sad thing is that Penn clearly remembered the "good" man, but there was not a single remark of Jesus Christ left.

bondservant4jesuschrist said...

It's true that he did not mention Jesus Christ. But the bible he was given, does. The "atheist tract" shows that God will use what he wants and who he wants and is sovereign and draws people to Him.

Turbyfill said...

I find it interesting that you say the tract was intended to insult weak minded Christians. Perhaps their intention was, in their minds at least, a good one. Maybe they thought they were helping out. To assume that is to assume that some people who hand out pro-Jesus tracts are insulting weak-minded atheist.

True, God will use whatever He wants but let's not assume we know the hearts of the ones He uses.

Joshua Elsom said...

Ha! You're right Turbyfill, both Penn and the atheist who handed CT Studd that tract may have actually been covertly spurring Christians on to a life abandoned to the Cross. I will now think twice before making a conclusion on the state of the self professed God-hater's heart.