Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Missionary Extraordinary

Although I had heard of E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973) before I went to Asbury College, it was in those years that I was touched by this servant of God called "Missionary Extraordinary."  Indeed, he was.  When I went to Asbury as a Junior transfer student, I had started the journey with Christ some years earlier, but those first few years out there in the world as a young adult took its toll on the certainty of my faith in Christ.  It was during this time of spiritual confusion that I first heard E. Stanley Jones preach at a college chapel service.
Of course, E. Stanley Jones is first remembered as a missionary to India.  For over fifty years he served Christ midst the predominately Hindu culture.  He wrote of his decision to go to India in "A Song of Ascents."  In the book is a powerful story of divine calling, one often used in preaching.  He was a friend of Gandhi and a prolific author.  His first book written in 1925, 'The Christ of the Indian Road" sold over a million copies and his last written in 1975 entitled "The Divine Yes" was dictated after a stroke left him unable to write.  Among his books are many daily devotional books.  An unusual sidebar to the life of this man tells of him being elected a Bishop in the Methodist Church only to take his name out of consideration because of the leading of God.  Few people when faced with such an opportunity would allow themselves to be dissuaded by anyone--even God.

E. Stanley Jones is one of two soul shapers whom I actually saw.  I remember him in the pulpit preaching in a powerful and persuasive way even when in his '80's.  I also remember his way of raising his hand with three fingers in the air as either a greeting or a farewell.  With three fingers in the air, he would offer three accompanying words, "Jesus is Lord."  And indeed, he was for E. Stanley Jones. 

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