Tag Archives: Samuel Zwemer

Author Guide: Samuel Zwemer

This is a bibliography of works by Samuel Zwemer, adapted from Apostle to Islam by J. Christy Wilson, Sr.

Zwemer may have been the most famous missions mobilizer of the 20th century. He pioneered in Bahrain, Iraq, and Egypt, in addition to missions tours and conferences virtually everywhere that Islam is found. He preached in English, Arabic, and Dutch. His sermons and books called the Church to acknowledge the challenge of Islam head-on.

While some of his works are left for specialists in religion, many of his devotional works are just as compelling today.

***Asterisks mark those that are highly recommended.

 

Works by Samuel Zwemer

  1. Arabia: The Cradle of Islam. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1900. 434 pages.
  2. Raymond Lull: First Missionary to the Muslims. Funk and Wagnalls, New York. 1902. 172 pages. (Spanish edition.)
  3. The Muslim Doctrine of God. American Tract Society, New York. 1905. 120 pages.
  4. Islam, A Challenge to Faith. Student Volunteer Movement, New York. 1907. 295 pages.
  5. The Muslim World. Young People’s Missionary Movement of the United States and Canada. Eaton, New York, 1908. 239 pages. (Revised edition of Islam, A Challenge to Faith.)
  6. The Unoccupied Mission Fields of Africa and Asia. Student Volunteer Movement, New York. 1911. 260 pages.
  7. The Muslim Christ. Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, London. 1912. 198 pages. American Tract Society, New York.
  8. Mohammed or Christ. Seeley Service and Company, London. 1915. 292 pages.
  9. Childhood in the Muslim World. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1915. 274 pages.
  10. The Disintegration of Islam. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1916. 227 pages.
  11. The Influence of Animism on Islam. Macmillan, New York. 1920. 246 pages.
  12. Christianity the Final Religion. Eerdmans Sevensma Co., The Pilgrim Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1920. 108 pages.
  13. A Muslim Seeker After God: Life of Al-Ghazali. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1921. 302 pages.
  14. The Law of Apostasy in Islam. Marshall Brothers, London. 1923. 164 pages.
  15. The Call to Prayer. Marshall Brothers, London. 1923. 79 pages.
  16. The Glory of the Cross. Marshall Brothers, London. 1928. 128 pages. (Arabic edition.)***
  17. Across the World of Islam. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1929. 382 pages.
  18. Thinking Missions with Christ. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1934.
  19. The Origin of Religion. Cokesbury Press, Nashville, Tenn. 1935.
  20. Taking Hold of God. Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London 1936. 188 pages.
  21. It is Hard to be a Christian. Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London, 1937. 159 pages.
  22. The Solitary Throne. Pickering and Inglis, London. 1937. 112 pages.***
  23. Studies in Popular Islam. Macmillan, New York. 1939. 148 pages.
  24. Dynamic Christianity and the World Today. Intervarsity Fellowship, London. 1939. 173 pages.
  25. The Glory of the Manger. American Tract Society, New York. 1940. 232 pages.
  26. The Art of Listening to God. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1940. 217 pages.
  27. The Cross Above the Crescent. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1941. 292 pages.
  28. Into All the World. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1943. 222 pages.
  29. Evangelism Today. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1944. 125 pages.
  30. Heirs of the Prophets. Moody Press, Chicago. 1946. 137 pages.
  31. The Glory of the Empty Tomb. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1947. 170 pages.
  32. How Rich the Harvest: Studies in Bible Themes and Missions. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1948. 120 pages.
  33. Sons of Adam. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1951. 164 pages.

 

Works of Joint Authorship

  1. Topsy Turvy Land, with Amy E. Zwemer. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1902. 124 pages.
  2. Methods of Mission Work among Muslims, with E. M. Wherry. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1906. 232 pages.
  3. The Mohammedan World of Today, with E. M. Wherry. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1906. 302 pages.
  4. Our Muslim Sisters, with Annie Van Sommer. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1907. 299 pages.
  5. The Nearer and Farther East, with Arthur J. Brown. Macmillan, New York. 1908. 325 pages.
  6. Lucknow, 1911, with E. M. Wherry. Madras, 1912. 298 pages.
  7. Zig-Zag Journeys in the Camel Country, with Amy E. Zwemer. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1911.
  8. Daylight in the Harem: A New Era for Muslim Women, with Annie Van Sommer. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1912. 224 pages.
  9. Islam and Missions, report of the Lucknow conference with E. M. Wherry. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1912. 300 pages.
  10. Christian Literature in Muslim Lands, with a committee. Doran, New York. 1923.
  11. Muslim Women, with Amy E. Zwemer. United Study Committee, New York. 1926. 306 pages.The Golden Milestone: Reminiscences of Pioneer Days Fifty Years Ago in Arabia, with James Cantine. Fleming H. Revell, New York. 1939. 157 pages.

 

Short Works and Contributions

“Report of a Mission Tour Down the Euphrates from Hillah to Busrah.” The Christian Intelligencer, Jan. 4 & 11, 1893.

“Report of a Journey into Yemen and Work among the Jews for the Mildmay Mission.” The Christian Intelligencer. c. 1894.

“Mohammedan World of Today.” 1898.

“Epilogue: A Sketch of the Arabian Mission.” Kamil Abdulmasih. [Formerly Kamil Abdul Messiah.] 1898.

“Advice to Volunteers.” Advice for Student Volunteers. [Formerly The Call, Qualifications and Preparation of Candidates for Foreign Missionary Service Ed. Robert Speer. 1901.

“Thinking Gray in Missions.” n.d.

“The Impending Struggle in Western Asia.” An address delivered January 2, 1910.

“Islam, the War, and Missions.” c. 1914.

“Introduction.” The Vital Forces of Christianity and Islam, with W. H. T. Gairdner, et al. Oxford, London. 1915.

“A Primer on Islam.” Continuation Committee, Shanghai. 1919. 24 pages.

“Report of a Visit to Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and India.” Summer of 1924.  American Christian Literature Society for Muslims, New York. 1924. 31 pages.

“Report of a Visit to India and Ceylon.” September 23, 1927, to February 28, 1928. A.C.L.S.M., New York. 1928. 33 pages.

“A Factual Survey of the Muslim World.” Fleming H. Revell, New York, 1946. 34 pages.

“The Glory of the Impossible.” 1950.

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Nabeel Qureshi’s 19th-Century Predecessor Also Died Young

While we mourn the death of Nabeel Qureshi last week—and heaven celebrates his arrival—I have been thinking of a similar story from the vault of Christian missions in the Middle East. It is the story of a young Muslim intellectual who turned to Jesus, was taken under the wing of one of the greatest apologists of his day, toiled and travelled as a public Christian witness, and died tragically while in the height of his lifework. This is the story of Kamil Abdulmasih.

Kamil Abdulmasih (or Abdul Messiah) was a Syrian Christian in the 19th century. He had  befriended Cornelius van Dyck, the Bible translator, and Henry J. Jessup, a veteran missionary, and converted from Islam to the Messiah, reflected in his chosen change of name. As a young believer, he travelled with Samuel M. Zwemer to Aden (in present-day Yemen) and to Basra, Iraq. He was a bold but tactful witness to the Christian faith, and for several months spent much of his time witnessing to Muslims with Zwemer. Some of the last records of his life are about discussing faith with dozens of Muslims, sometimes for several hours at a stretch. You can read about them in a short book published by Henry H. Jessup about Kamil’s life.

After a short illness, he died on June 24, 1892, under mysterious circumstances. Before any of his close friends knew that he had died, Muslim funeral rites were being performed over his body, which was guarded by soldiers. Although Basra has some of the hottest summers on the planet, it seems obvious that the officials who surrounded him immediately after his death must have also played some part in expediting it.

The sudden death of this gifted and young disciple was one of those bitter trials which can only be relieved by reference to the unerring wisdom of God, who doeth all things well.

It is the opinion of’ those associated with him that he was poisoned, but the hostility of the government, the fact that he was buried in the Moslem cemetery, and that no postmortem would have been allowed make it impossible to obtain positive proof.

The sad facts are as follows:

On Friday, June 24, 1892, Kamil died. Early in the morning Mr. Zwemer was called to conduct the funeral of the carpenter on board a foreign steamer. Owing to the extreme heat he did not call on Kamil before going home to breakfast. Mr. Cantine called on Kamil in the morning and found him suffering with symptoms of bowel disorder, violent vomiting and purging. Dr. Riggs, who was himself sick, sent him medicine by a servant. The heat was intense, and many of the people were prostrated with fevers. Kamil lived near the harbor, and the missionaries nearly two miles distant in the native quarter. At five o’clock p. m. Mr. Zwemer went to call on him and help him. Yakoob Yohanna, a Christian native, met him half way and told him of Kamil’s death. He hastened to the house, and found it occupied by Turkish soldiers, mullahs, and people who had seized his papers, sealed up his room, and were busy with Moslem prayers over his body. They protested that he was a Moslem. Mr. Zwemer insisted that he was a Christian, and begged and entreated that he should be buried with Christian burial.  The evidence of his Christian faith was among the papers they had seized. But it was vain to resist this very exceptional display of armed force.

Mr. Zwemer left the body and went to the Turkish waly, and to appeal to the British consul. Meantime Mr. Cantine arrived, and Mr. Zwemer had to hasten away on receipt of a note stating that Dr. Riggs was very ill, and with high temperature.

At 10.30 p.m. Mr. Cantine came with the news that the Moslems, in spite of his protest, had performed their funeral rites and buried Kamil. But the seal of the British consul was added to that of the Turks on the room containing his property. The next day the whole town was talking over the event. Many of the Moslems told the missionaries that they knew Kamil to be a Christian and a man of pure and upright life, that he was converted from Islam, and a preacher of Christianity.

The exact spot where the Moslems buried him could never be found. The consulate did not succeed in securing his little property, but his books and papers were afterwards sold at auction, excepting the few claimed by the missionaries as their personal property.

The evidence of foul play in his death is regarded as very strong:

I. He was a young man of strong physique and had not been long unwell.

II. Had he died from ordinary disease none but his companions would have known it, and the missionaries would have been told of it before any one else.

III. It is regarded as impossible that the Turks and mullahs could have prepared his body for burial, sealed all his property, and had the military police agree to oppose any help or interference on the part of the missionaries, in so short a time as that which intervened between his death and their arrival. The washing and enshrouding of the body according to Moslem custom is a long and elaborate ceremony, and the sheikhs and mullahs must repeat the Kelimat ash-Shehada, or word of witness, ‘There is no deity but Allah, and Mohammed is his apostle,’ at every ablution, and three times after the washing, when three pots of camphor and water are poured over the body.

The following are two of the prayers recited by Moslems at a funeral:

God is Great.
Holiness to thee, oh God,
And to thee be praise.
Great is thy Name.
Great is thy greatness.
Great is thy praise.
There is no deity but thee.’

O God, forgive our living and our dead, and those of us who are present and those who are absent, and our children and our full-grown persons, our men and our women. O God, those whom thou dost keep alive amongst us keep alive in Islam, and those whom thou causest to die let them die in the faith.

Those who place the corpse in the grave repeat the following sentence:

We commit thee to earth in the name of God and in the religion of the prophet.

IV. Government officials were on hand to take possession of all his effects and seal up his room before his Christian brethren could arrive.

There is every indication that poison had been given him by some unknown persons, either in coffee, the usual eastern way of giving it, or as medicine.

V. The burial took place in the evening and the place of interment was concealed.

VI. According to the Moslem law, a male apostate (murtadd) is liable to be put to death, if he continue obstinate in his error. If a boy under age apostatize, he is not to be put to death, but to be imprisoned until he come to full age, when, if he continue in the state of unbelief, he must be put to death.” According to Dr. Hughes, quoting from the book “Sahih ul Bukhari”  “Ikrimah relates that some apostates were brought to the Khalifa Ali and he burnt them alive; but Ibn Abbas heard of it and said that the Khalifa had not acted rightly, for the prophets had said, “Punish not with God’s punishment (i. e., fire), but whosoever changes his religion, kill him with the sword.”

VII. Kamil’s own father once wrote him virtually threatening to kill him as an apostate.

In these days the sword is not generally used to dispose of apostates from the faith. Strychnine or corrosive sublimate are more convenient, and less apt to awaken public notice, especially where an autopsy would not be allowed.

It may be that Kamil’s father used the language simply for intimidation, for I can hardly believe him to be so utterly devoid of natural affection;  but religious fanaticism, whether originating in Arabia or in Rome, seems to override all laws of human affection or tenderness.

The Lord himself, the chief Shepherd, knows whether his loving child Kamil is worthy of a martyr’s crown. We know that he was faithful unto death. He fought the good fight, he kept the faith, he finished his course. His life has proved that the purest and most unsullied flowers of grace in character may grow even in the atmosphere of unchristian social life. It mattered not to him who buried him or where he was buried. He was safe beyond the reach of persecution and harm.

I have rarely met a more pure and thoroughly sincere character, sine cera.  From the beginning of our acquaintance in “our flowery bright Beirut,” to his last days on the banks of the Tigris, he was a model of a humble, cheerful, courteous, Christian gentleman.

Kamil’s history is a rebuke to our unbelief in God’s willingness and power to lead Mohammedans into a hearty acceptance of Christ and his atoning sacrifice.

We are apt to be discouraged by the closely riveted and intense intellectual aversion of these millions of Moslems to the doctrines of the Trinity and of the divinity of Jesus Christ. But Kamil’s intellectual difficulties about the Trinity vanished when he felt the need of a divine Saviour. He seemed taught by the Spirit of God from the first. He exclaimed frequently at the wonderful scheme of redemption through the atoning work of Christ.

El fida, el fida,” “redemption” he once said to me, “redemption, how wonderful! I now see how God can be just and justify the sinner. We have nothing of this in Islam. We talk of God’s mercy, but we can not see how his justice is to be satisfied.” What the Mohammedan needs above all things is a sense of sin, of personal sin, and of his need of a Saviour. (Henry H. Jessup, The Setting of the Crescent the Rising of the Sun: or, Kamil Abdul Messiah, pp. 137-144. Philadelphia: Westminster Press,1898.) 

Kamil’s story is being put back into print by Pioneer Library. Click here to see the new edition.

New Biographies!

We have published two new paperbacks about pioneer missionaries!

Samuel Zwemer’s Biography

Apostle to Islam: A Biography of Samuel Zwemer by J. Christy Wilson is the authorized biography of Samuel Marinus Zwemer. J. Christy Wilson not only was a missionary in the Muslim world for 22 years, but he succeeded Zwemer as chair of Princeton’s Institute of Theology.

If you are interested in reading about pioneer missions in the Middle East, I would look no further than this book. Zwemer was connected everywhere. He started in pioneer missions in Iraq, Bahrain, and Egypt; he set up missions conferences specifically for reaching Muslims in India, China, and Indonesia; he taught theology and missions at Princeton, and wrote nearly fifty books while doing all this. No wonder Zwemer’s close colleague called him “a steam engine in breeches!”

Zwemer’s Lucknow conference in 1911 is considered a major turning point in missions to the Muslim world.

Ludwig Krapf’s Biography

The Life of Ludwig Krapf: The Missionary Explorer of East Africa by Paul E. Kretzmann

(Johann) Ludwig Krapf was trained for missions in Basel, Switerland. He was first-class linguist, studying Semitic languages like Hebrew, Arabic, and Ethiopic in addition to European languages. When he went to East Africa in 1827, he found these skills to be in no small demand. He published research, dictionaries, and Bible portions in no less than seven East African languages with his colleagues, including a Bible translation in Swahili. Although he tragically suffered the loss of his family on the mission field, he did not lose his indomitable and courageous spirit. It was then that he famously wrote that, since the church conquers over the graves of its workers, then the evangelization of Africa was at hand.

Paul E. Kretzmann, author of the Popular Commentary of the Bible, honed this biography from hundreds of pages of Krapf’s journals and his past biographers to create an accessible and page-turning story with a broad appeal.

Arab World Pioneers

The Arab World Pioneers series seeks to draw together the best available histories and biographies of the early modern missionaries to the Arab world. Among these pioneers, the most well known are Ion Keith-Falconer (Yemen), Henry Jessup (Syria), and Samuel Zwemer (Bahrain, Iraq, and Egypt). However, even these men didn’t come the earliest, or stay the longest. They must be taken as only a sampling of the host of both men and women who sacrificed and plodded in a place that has remained, even to this day, one of the driest and most difficult mission fields on the globe.

Arab World Pioneers

Candle in the Dark: The Story of Ion Keith-Falconer by Robert Sinker
Douglas M. Thornton: A Study in Missionary Ideals and Methods by W. H. T. Gairdner (coming 2018)
Fifty-three Years in Syria: The Autobiography of Henry H. Jessup (coming 2018)
Heroic Bishop: The Life of Thomas V. French by Eugene Stock
History of the Arabian Mission by Mason & Barny
Apostle to Islam: A Biography of Samuel M. Zwemer by J. Christy Wilson

4 1/2 Book Recommendations for Christmas

A few seasonal reading ideas, focusing on what’s freely (or cheaply) available online

As Western culture shifts, Protestants and Pentecostals have become more and more concerned with the liturgical year. Partially assisted by the advent of social media, America is getting whiplash as we return from individualistic culture to a more communal culture. The liturgical year is a way of remembering the Bible’s great stories together as a community, and in that way it has always had value for the church.

How can we remember the birth of Christ best? There are many Christmas “devotionals” out there, but I recommend first that we return to the great hymns of Christmas past. If you have not sat down and read a hymnbook as part of your worship, I would say you are missing out on some of the inexpressible truths entrusted to the church. Poetry (and hymns!) have a way of expressing what prose can’t.

A Book of Christmas Verse – ed. H. C. Beeching

This book is just what I had been looking for: a mix of classic Christmas hymns that I had heard almost every year, and other traditional hymns and poems that are lost to modern times. Of course the classics like Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley are there, but there are older English hymnwriters that you may not have read, like John Donne and George Herbert. Most of the poetry here explores the deepest truths of Christmas: the Incarnation, the humility of the Son of God, and the cross and resurrection that awaited him at the end of his life. (If you don’t read Latin you will have to skip a few, but don’t let it put you off—it is a great collection.)

A Book of Christmas Verse (Kindle edition)

My Christmas Book – F. W. Boreham

Boreham’s books are not “devotional,” strictly speaking. His Christmas book is more of a ramble through the park with an old friend. He mixes storytelling with preaching in a way that cannot be imitated. This book is newly available in a digital edition, and if you can get a hands on a copy you will be glad you did. If you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can read a sample at the following link:

A Clouded Christmas (sample chapter)

How Christmas Came to Roaring Camp (sample chapter)

My Christmas Book (Kindle edition)

All About God in Christ (or The Christ of Christmas) – Herbert Lockyer

Herbert Lockyer is one of the most prolific writers of Bible studies of modern times, but he is best known for the All series. In the 1930s, Lockyer was involved with Zondervan made the smart choice of publishing dozens his topical sermons:Sorrows and Stars, Roses in December, The Fairest of All, The Mystery of Godliness and several others. He published _The Christ of Christmas _in 1942. Later, when they were creating the _All _series, much of this older material was cleaned up and put into the 1995 volume All About God in Christ, so that book is primarily a study of the Incarnation, as was The Christ of Christmas.

The Christ of Christmas (Kindle edition)

All About God in Christ

The Glory of the Manger – Samuel Zwemer

Zwemer has many books, and even the most mundane titles that I have come across have been exhilarating and convicting. Like the others, this book is a mix of doctrinal and devotional, with a focus on Christ’s divinity. If my timeline is correct, Zwemer was teaching comparative religion courses at Princeton when he wrote this, and it shows in his wide variety of sources, stories, and poetry about the Christmas story. This book has been out of print for many decades, and was recently published for Kindle by Pioneer Library.

The Glory of the Manger (Kindle edition)

Conclusion

Leonard Ravenhill used to be invited to Christian book fairs, but he would decry the shallowness of the writings he found there. Biblical Christian truth is glorious, convicting, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and we dull the edge when we obsess over the earthly aspects of Jesus’ advent: who were the wise men, what is a manger, what was the star, etc. My final suggestion is that we look for books dealing especially with the glorious truth of the Incarnation of Christ, what Paul called “the mystery of godliness”—and if we meditate on that, we will not feel that we have missed the spirit of Christmas or the purpose of the season.