Book Review: A Retrospect

First published in 1894 this book is compiled from the journals and letters of J. Hudson Taylor, the 19th century missionary to China. Taylor spent 51 years as a pioneering missionary in China and changed the way many view missions today.

This short book covers from Taylor’s conversion in 1849 to the beginning of his second voyage to China in 1866. During this period he hears and heeds his call to missions, spends seven years in China, resigns from his mission society, returns to England, forms his own mission society and returns to China. The true beauty of this book is that these pivotal and influential years are documented in Taylor’s own words.

In the second half of the 19th century Hudson Taylor completely bucked conventional wisdom in the world of missions. Many of his peers spent much of their time bringing “civilized” culture to other countries ahead of the gospel. Taylor, on the other hand, immersed himself in the Chinese culture. He lived, talked, dressed, ate and traveled like those he came to serve. Other missionaries and many senders viewed him as too radical and denounced his efforts. Taylor was revolutionary in the way he financed missions, treated female missionaries and addressed the spiritual needs of the Chinese people.

This book provides an honest and insightful look into the thought process of one of the most successful and significant missionaries in modern history. The sincere words of this transparent man are a benefit to goers and senders alike. He displays his fears, self-doubt, uncertainty and unflappable faith in Christ for all to see.

While this is not the most popular book on Hudson Taylor it is the most honest. It is a rare and precious glimpse into the heart of one of God’s greatest missionaries.

About Mike

Mike, 49, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. Mike received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike was a Ruling Elder, Youth Group Leader, adult Sunday school teacher and evangelism instructor at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Elk Grove, CA. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2007 to 2017 Mike served as a fulltime missionary for MTW. Mike served as Team Leader, Church Planter, and Seminary Professor. Mike and his wife Erin served in Honduras in Central America and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. Mike currently serves as the Director of the MTW West Coast Hub where he trains and mentors new missionaries from CA, AZ, & NV. Mike is also busy writing his next book.

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