I recently had the chance to read a short little story about the life of M. Theron Rankin. He served as a missionary to China for many years before becoming president of the International Mission Board from 1945-53, before dying of leukemia at a young age. This sketch of his life was written by his brother, and contains a few details and anecdotes about his life and ministry. Although it’s very brief it was greatly encouraging to me.
While serving in China in the late 1930’s he lived under the threat of war with Japan and the rising threat of communist China. When Japan was threatening to invade China, he was ordered home by the Foreign Mission Board three times before he finally replied “It may be that some of us will have to die for Christ in this generation. My place is in China.”
Rankin paid the price for that, and spent several weeks pinned under enemy fire in the mountains before being captured by Japan and spending more than a year in an internment camp. Upon his release and return to the states, he was made the president of the IMB where he served faithfully until his death.
“The convincing power of the witness we seek to give the world…, will be determined by what Southern Baptists do about what we profess. Professions of great faith cannot be substantiated by small action and giving.”
If you can find this book, or any other stories about this great Southern Baptist, you will be encouraged.