Christ’s Faithful Apostle

Daily Reading for February 12 • Charles Freer Andrews, Priest and “Friend of the Poor” in India, 1940

I first met Charlie Andrews when he was a member of the Cambridge Mission in Delhi, on the staff of St. Stephen’s College. He was keen on Indian leadership and went with me to see his own bishop of the Punjab, Dr. Lefroy, about recognizing the newly organized National Missionary Society of India so that they could open an Anglican mission in the Punjab. I later came in contact with leading Hindus and Mohammedans who had been influenced by Andrews’ remarkable character, and who called him, after his three initials, C. F. A., “Christ’s Faithful Apostle.” He seemed to many in North India, as Larsen was in the South, the one foreigner who bore the most striking resemblance to his Master, especially in his Christlike humility and love. One brilliant Hindu editor, who was accused of being a Christian because he had hung a portrait of Jesus at the foot of his bed, where he could see it on waking and retiring, said to me: “I have read little of the Bible, but I have seen Christ in Andrews’ life; and I would give anything to be like him.”. . .

When ordained under his beloved Bishop Westcott, he took a parish among poor shipyard laborers in an industrial village in Durham, and tried to live as they did on ten shillings, or $2.50, a week. He then labored until his health gave out in the Pembroke College Mission in the slums of East London. When his friend Basil Westcott died of cholera in India, Andrews immediately felt that he must take the vacant place; and he arrived in Delhi in 1904 at the age of thirty-three. He went to India to teach, but soon found that he had need to learn more than to teach. His fellowship with Bishop Westcott had instilled this attitude in him, for the Cambridge Mission at Delhi had been founded by the three great Cambridge scholars Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort, to represent in India what the school of Clement and Origen at Alexandria had meant for the early church.

Andrews had always had great intellectual difficulty in subscribing with conviction to all the articles of the Book of Common Prayer. In India he found that there were two recitations in the services which he could not tolerate without shame in a Christian church. One was the imprecatory psalms of hatred and vengeance which had to be recited in the daily service, and the other was the damnatory clauses at the beginning of the Athanasian Creed: “Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” Andrews felt his whole soul shrink from such crude dogmatic narrowness in the condemnation of all believers.

From Pathfinders of the World Missionary Crusade by Sherwood Eddy (Whitmore and Stone, 1945).

Past Posts