Adoniram Judson biographies, American Baptist missionary to Burma. Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, – April 12, ) was an American Congregationalist and later Baptist missionary, who served in Burma for almost forty. Adoniram Judson. ( – ). Apostle of the Love of Christ in Burma by Eugene Myers Harrison. THERE IT WAS — the site of the historic Let-ma-yoon prison.
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His mission and work with Luther Rice led to the formation of the first Baptist association in America to support missionaries. At times mistakenly referred to as the first Protestant missionary to Burma, he was in fact preceded by James Chater and Richard Mardon who both arrived in as well as by Felix Carey. However, since those predecessors did not remain long, and Judson also translated the Bible into Burmeseas well as established a number of Baptist churches in Burma, Judson is remembered as the first significant missionary in Burma, as well as one of the very first missionaries from America to travel overseas.
Adoniram Judson |
He was born to Adoniram Judson, Sr. Biograpyy studying at college, he met a young man named Jacob Eames, a devout deist and skeptic. Judson and Eames developed a strong friendship, leading to Judson’s abandonment of his childhood faith and parents’ religious instruction.
During this time, Judson embraced the writings of the French philosophes. After graduating from college, Judson opened a school and wrote an English grammar and mathematics textbook for girls. Judson’s deist views were shaken when his friend Eames fell violently ill and jucson.
Both had been sleeping in separate rooms at an inn, and Judson heard the death throes of the person next door, only to learn from the clerk the next morning that his anonymous neighbor had been Mr.
Eames, who had indeed died. The shock of learning the dying neighbor’s identity — and that Eames had led Judson away from the Christian faith into skepticism, but was now dead — returned Judson back to the faith of his youth, although he was already attending the Andover Theological Seminary.
InJudson “made a solemn dedication of himself to God”. InJudson joined juson group of mission-minded students who called themselves “the Brethren”. The students inspired the establishment of America’s first organized missionary society. He, and three other students from the seminary, appeared before the Congregationalists’ General Association to appeal for support.
Inimpressed by the four men’s politeness and sincerity, the elders voted to form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Judson was also commissioned by the Congregational Church, and soon married Ann Hasseltine on February 5, He was ordained the next day at the Tabernacle Church in Salem.
The Judsons arrived in Calcutta on June 17, While aboard ship en route to India, he did a focused study on the theology of baptism. He came to the position that believer’s baptism was theologically valid and should be done as a matter of obedience to the command of Jesus Matthew On September 6,he switched to the Baptist denomination along with his wife and they were baptized by immersion in Calcutta by an English missionary associate of William Carey named William Ward.
Both the local and British authorities did not want Americans evangelizing Hindus in the area, so the group of missionaries separated and sought other mission fields. They were ordered out of India by the British East India Companyto whom American missionaries were even less welcome than British they were baptized in September, and already in June, the United States had declared war on England.
The following year, on July 13,he moved to Burma, and en route his wife miscarried their first child aboard ship. Judson offered to Baptists in the United States to serve as their missionary. Luther Ricewho had also converted, was in poor health and returned to America where his work and William Carey’s urging resulted in the formation of the first national Baptist denomination in the United States for Foreign Missions commonly called the Triennial Convention and its offshoot the American Baptist Missionary Union.
It was another difficult year before the Judsons finally reached their intended destination, Burma. Judson, who already knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, immediately began studying the Burmese grammar but took over three years learning to speak it.
This was due, in part, to the radical difference in structure between Burmese and that of Western languages. He found a tutor and spent twelve hours per day studying the language. He and his wife firmly dedicated themselves to understanding it. During this time they were almost entirely isolated from contact with any European or American. This was the case for their first three years in Burma. Four years passed before Judson dared even to hold a semi-public service.
At first, he tried adapting to Burmese customs by wearing a yellow robe to mark himself as a teacher of religion, but he soon changed to white to show he was not a Buddhist. Then, he gave up the whole attempt as artificial and decided that, regardless of his dress, no Burmese would identify him as anything but a foreigner. He accommodated to some Burmese customs and built a zayatthe customary bamboo and thatch reception shelter, on the street near his home as a reception room and meeting place for Burmese men.
Fifteen men came to his first public meeting in April He was encouraged but suspected they had come more out of curiosity than anything else. Their attention wandered, and they soon seemed uninterested. Two months later, he baptized his first Burmese convert, Maung Naw, a year-old timber worker from the hill tribes.
First attempts by the Judsons to interest the natives of Rangoon with the Gospel of Jesus met with almost total indifference. Buddhist traditions and the Burmese world view at that time led many to disregard the pleadings of Adoniram and his wife to believe in one living and all-powerful God. To add to their discouragement, their second child, Roger William Judson, died at almost eight months of age.
Judson began public evangelism in sitting in a zayat by the roadside calling out “Ho! Everyone that thirsteth for knowledge! Bound for Burma” by Janet and Geoff Benge authors. InJudson and a fellow missionary named Colman attempted to petition the Emperor of Burma, King Bagyidawin the hope that he would grant freedom for the missionaries to preach and teach throughout the country, as well as remove the sentence of death that was given for those Burmese who changed religion.
Bagyidaw disregarded their appeal and threw one of their Gospel tracts to the ground after reading a few lines. The missionaries returned to Rangoon and met with the fledgling church there to consider what to do next. The progress of Christianity would continue to be slow with much risk of endangerment and death in the Burmese Empire.
It took Judson 12 years to make 18 converts. Nevertheless, there was much to encourage him. He had written a grammar of the language that is still in use today and had begun to translate the Bible. His wife, Ann, was even more fluent in the spoken language of the people than her more academically literate husband. She befriended the wife of the viceroy of Rangoonas quickly as she did illiterate workers and women.
A printing press had been sent from Serampore, and a missionary printer, George H. Hough, who arrived from America with his wife inproduced the first printed materials in Burmese ever printed in Burma, which included copies of Judson’s translation of the Gospel of Matthew.
The chronicler of the church, Maung Shwe Wa, concludes this part of the story, “So was born the church in Rangoon—logger and fisherman, the poor and the rich, men and women. One traveled the whole path to Christ in three days; another took two years.
But once they had decided for Christ they were his for all time. One of the early disciples was U Shwe Ngong, a teacher and leader of a group of intellectuals dissatisfied with Buddhism, who were attracted to the new faith. He was a Deist skeptic to whose mind the preaching of Judson, once a college skeptic himself, was singularly challenging. After consideration, he assured Judson that he was ready to believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the atonement. Judson, instead of welcoming him to the faith, pressed him further asking if he believed what he had read in the gospel of Matthew that Jesus the son of God died on the cross.
U Shwe Ngong shook his head and said, “Ah, you have caught me now. I believe that he suffered death, but I cannot believe he suffered the shameful death on the cross. I now believe the crucifixion of Christ because it is contained in scripture.
The essence of Judson’s preaching was a combination of conviction of the truth with the rationality of the Christian faith, a firm belief in the authority of the Bible, and a determination to make Christianity relevant to the Burmese mind without violating the integrity of Christian truth, or as he put it, “to preach the gospel, not anti-Buddhism.
Byten years after his arrival, membership of the little church had grown to 18, and Judson had finally finished the first draft of his translation of the entire text of the New Testament in Burmese. Two irreconcilable hungers triggered the First Anglo-Burmese War of Burma’s desire for more territory, and Britain’s desire for more trade.
Burma threatened Assam and Bengal ; Britain responded by attacking and absorbing two Burmese provinces into her India holdings to broaden her trade routes to East Asia.
sdoniram The war was a rough interruption of the Baptists’ missionary work. English-speaking Americans were too easily confused with the enemy and suspected avoniram spying. Judson was imprisoned for 17 months during the war between the United Kingdom and Burma, first at Ava and then at Aung Pinle.
Judson and Price were violently arrested. Officers led by an official executioner burst into the Judson home, threw Judson to the ground in front of his wife, bound him with torture thongs, and dragged him off to the infamous, vermin -ridden death prison of Ava.
Twelve agonizing months later, Judson and Bioggaphy, along with a small judsom of bbiography Western prisoners, were marched overland, barefoot and sick, for six more months of misery in a primitive biograpyh near Mandalay.
Of the sepoy British prisoners-of-war imprisoned with them, all but one died. The sufferings and brutalities of those 20 long months and mudson in prison, half-starved, iron-fettered, and sometimes trussed and suspended by his mangled feet with only head and shoulders touching the ground is described in detail by his wife, shortly after his release. Ann was perhaps the greater model of supreme courage. Heedless to all threats against herself, left alone as the only Western woman in an absolute and anti-Christian monarchy at war with the West, beset with raging fevers and nursing a tiny baby that her husband had not yet seen, she rushed from office to office in desperate attempts to keep her husband alive and win his freedom.
The end of the war should have been a time of rejoicing for the mission. As soon as her husband was released by the Burmese, Ann wrote that one good result of the war could be that terms of the treaty which ceded Burmese provinces to the British might provide opportunity to expand the witness of the mission into unreached parts of the country.
On Bilgraphy 24,Ann died at Amherst now KyaikkamiBurma, a victim of the long, dreadful months of disease, adnoiram, stress and loneliness that adonitam been hers for 21 months. Their third child died six months later. She died while her husband was out exploring the ceded province of Tenasserim. It was in the wild hills of that newly British province of Tenasserim that the first signs of rapid growth in Protestant Christianity in Burma began.
Within a few years of the end of the war, Baptist membership doubled on an average of every eight years for the 32 years between and The collapse of Burma’s armies brought Judson out of prison, but his release was not complete freedom. Inseveral months after the surrender, Burma pressed Judson into service as a translator for the peace negotiations.
Some have used Judson’s acceptance of a role in the treaty negotiations as evidence of complicity in imperialismbut it should be noted that he first acted on behalf of the defeated Burmese as translator, not for the Western victors.
Adoniram Judson, First Missionary from the United States
Three significant factors had a part, jhdson not the only part, in the rise of the Burmese Baptist churches. Most of the growth was in British-ruled territory, rather than the Burmese-ruled kingdom. It may also be significant that after an Anglo-Burmese war, the missionaries were American, not British. The most telling factor was religion.