“Expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!”

This battle cry launched the most incredible movement in history.

The Greatest Century of Missions is a treasure trove of incredible adventures, inspiring exploits and unbelievable achievements of some of the most extra-ordinary people in the most momentous era of Christian advance. This book will be an invaluable resource for pastors and missionaries and a textbook for senior home-schoolers, Christian schools and Bible colleges. It should be required reading for prospective missionaries.

The Greatest Century of Missions is an inspiring series of stories of how God worked through the lives of faithful men and women willing to sacrifice all for Him. Christians serious about fulfilling the command to all of us to fulfil the Great Commission will be encouraged to become active in spreading the Gospel to those within their reach. This easy to read, well-illustrated summary of the lives and vision of exceptional missionaries is a must read for Christians of any age, including students in home schools, Christian schools, and colleges.

As Church historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette, declared: 
“Never had any other set of ideas, religious or secular, being propagated over so wide an area by so many professional agents, maintained by the unconstrained donations of so many millions of individuals.”

In the words of Alexander Somerville, this was 
“a new enterprise on behalf of the noblest object that can engage the enthusiasm of man – the salvation of millions!”

Overcoming Obstacles
The obstacles, dangers and difficulties they had to face and overcome were staggering.

By an act of British Parliament, missionaries were illegal in India. In China, not only was all missionary activity completely illegal, but so was attempting to learn the Chinese language! There was a ban on any Chinese teaching their language to foreigners. The Chinese tutors to Robert Morrison carried poison on their bodies so that if they were discovered, they could end their lives quickly and escape torture. Because the Chinese forbade foreign women, Robert Morrison had to live apart from his wife, Mary, for most of their lives, once for six years.

America’s first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, was captured on the high seas and incarcerated in a French prison – from which he escaped. Later he was imprisoned and tortured in ‘Death Prison’, in Burma, for eighteen months.

When pioneer missionary to Persia, Henry Martin, sought to present his Persian New Testament to the Shah, he was challenged with an ultimatum to declare that ‘Muhammad is the prophet of God.’ Henry Martin boldly refused and asserted instead that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. His opponents were enraged and threatened to have his tongue torn out for ‘blasphemy’.

When Robert Moffatt first applied to the London Missionary Society, he was rejected. His proposal to marry Mary Smith was also refused by her parents. Yet, Robert persevered and on his first missionary trip to South Africa, succeeded in bringing to Christ the most notorious bandit and murderer in the country. Finally, Mary Smith’s parents relented and gave permission. She sailed to South Africa, where they married and for the next 50 years, the Moffatt’s became one of the greatest husband-wife teams in missionary history. Robert Moffatt succeeded in being the first to translate the complete Bible into an African language.

Human life in the Pacific Islands was cheap and cannibalism was rife when the missionaries arrived. In Fiji, two-thirds of all the children were boiled and eaten. Every village had a human butcher. Aged parents were butchered and eaten by their friends. Men would even cook their best wife or child as a special feast for friends. The widows of chiefs and warriors were strangled or hung, so that they could ‘accompany their husbands to the next world’, there to continue serving them!

John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides, witnessed women killed in human sacrifices to secure the recovery to health of the chief, and was encircled by threatening cannibals 
“in a deadly ring and one kept urging another to strike the first blow.” Yet Paton could write: “my heart rose up to the Lord Jesus; I saw Him watching all the scene, my peace came back to me like a wave from God. I realised that my life was immortal till my Master’s work with me is done.” John Paton had the privilege of leading many of these cannibals to Christ and seeing the entire populations of some islands won to Christ.

Mary Slessor was born in a poverty-stricken family. Their one-roomed home had no water, lighting or toilet and hardly any furniture. Mary slept on the floor and began work at 10 years old. When two brothers, who had been dedicated to becoming missionaries to Africa, died, Mary resolved to take their place and to sail for Calabar. Mary established many schools and Churches and successfully brought an end to the killing of twins and the practice of slave trading in Calabar.

Hudson Taylor’s parents dedicated him to missionary work in China before he was even born. During a time of momentous upheavals in China, Hudson succeeded in launching the largest missionary organisation in the world, which brought many tens of thousands of Chinese to Christ.

Cricketer for Christ
C.T. Studd was a famous cricket captain, who became a pioneer missionary to China, India and later the Congo. CT Studd wrote: 
“Christ’s call is to capture men from the devil’s clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus and make them a mighty army of God. But this can only be accomplished by red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Spirit religion, by reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches.”

Set Free to Serve Christ
Samuel Crowther was captured by African slavers’ and sold to a Portuguese trader for transport across the Atlantic. But he was rescued by a British Naval Squadron and became the first African Bishop of the Church of England. His pioneer missionary work in Yorubaland succeeded in establishing an Evangelical Anglicanism that was truly African.

Foundation for Freedom
When Britain was the greatest economic and military power in the world, Queen Victoria was asked by a visiting African prince what the secret of England’s greatness was. She presented him with a Bible, saying: 
“Here is the secret of England’s greatness.”

Samuel Zwemer chose to oppose the only religion that had caused Christianity to beat a retreat – Islam. He also resolved to engage the enemy on the soil of Arabia – the birthplace of Muhammad.

The Greatest Century of Missions presents many unforgettable pictures and stories about these and other fascinating missionaries of the 19th Century.

Changing Nations by Transforming Lives
Dr. George Grant, in his Introduction to 
The Greatest Century of Missions, writes: “As missionaries circled the globe, penetrated the jungles and crossed the seas, they preached a singular message: light out of darkness, liberty out of tyranny, and life out of death. To cultures endemic with terrible poverty, brutality, lawlessness, and disease, those faithful Christian witnesses interjected the novel Christian concepts of grace, charity, law, medicine, and the sanctity of life. They overturned despots, liberated the captives, and rescued the perishing. They established hospitals. They founded orphanages. They started rescue missions. They built alms-houses. They opened soup kitchens. They incorporated charitable societies. They changed laws. They demonstrated love. They lived as if people really mattered. Wherever missionaries went, they faced a dual challenge: confront sin in men’s hearts and confront sin in men’s cultures.

“Thus, the 19th century mission’s movements was more than simply a great era of Biblical preaching. It was a great era of Biblical Faith. Appropriately, Dr. Hammond beautifully captures this remarkable multi-faceted legacy in The Greatest Century of Missions. Not only does his fluid narrative make the individual missionaries come to life, he highlights their vision, their motivation, their Theological faithfulness, and their long-term cultural impact.”

“It is my prayer that as modern Christians read this much needed book, they will see the great pioneers, these culture-shapers, these soul-winners and nation-builders of the 19th century in an entirely new light and that we will model our own 21st century efforts after theirs. I am convinced that if we do, we too will see a glorious transformation of men and nations – perhaps heralding an even greater century of missions. Lord, may it be so.”


Dr. Peter Hammond

Christian Liberty Books
PO Box 358 Howard Place 7450
Cape Town South Africa.
Tel: 021-689-7478

The Greatest Century of Missions is 224 pages and includes over 200 photographs, pictures, charts and maps, available at just R98 excluding postage, from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, tel: 021-689-7478, email: and website: