Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bio of Adoniram Judson - This Week in Christian History for the week of August 4-10

On August 9th 1788 Adoniram Judson was born to a congregational minister in Massachusetts. Judson enrolled in the college now known as Brown University at age 16, and graduated as Valedictorian at age 19. While there he befriended Jacob Eames who was a deist. Judson adopted the deist philosophy, which rejects miraculous events, but believes there is a god. It was the death of Eames that shocked Judson back into the Christian faith.

Judson joined a group of students known as “the Brethren” who were interested in missionary work. He went to London, but his ship was captured by pirates and he ended up in France. He crossed the channel to England and visited the missionary seminary before returning to New York. He was commissioned to do missionary work and was married. The couple arrived in India, but the local authorities and the English did not want them to evangelize Hindus and they were thrown out of the country.

Judson ended up in Burma, there had been a few missionaries who had come before him, but none had stayed there for long. It took Judson three years to learn Burmese. It was a year after that when he made his first public speech. Soon after he made his first convert, but the work was slow and any convert faced the possibility of the death penalty for converting.

Judson wrote a book about Burmese grammar and translated the Gospel of Matthew into Burmese. A printing press aided him and after ten years his congregation numbered 18. Brittan got into a war with Burma, and since he spoke English he was not trusted and accused of being a spy. Judson was imprisoned for almost two years in dreadful conditions. Soon after his release his wife died.

Judson fell into depression over the death of his wife, but after British war there was a change in the limitations that had been put on the missionaries. Judson and fellow missionaries contacted the Karen, people who are scattered throughout the jungles of Burma. They were much more receptive to the Gospel, and once converted willing to help spread it. Judson eventually got over the passing of his wife and remarried. He finished translating the Bible into Burmese. His wife died going back to America and Judson married yet again. His legacy still continues to this day as there are still large numbers of Christians in the region.

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Thank you for reading.