Charles Freer Andrews: His life, work, and thought
Swanson, Marvin Carl
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The problem of the dissertation is to present from an historical perspective the life, work, and thought of Charles Freer Andrews (1871-1940), Anglican missionary to India. In examining Andrews' life, special attention is given to those factors which influenced his work and thought. C. F . Andrews was truly a product of his environment. Born in Newcastle- upon- tyne, England, during the latter half of the nineteenth century, he was reared in the Irvingite tradition. His father and grandfather were ministers in the Catholic Apostolic Church founded by Edward Irving. While they provided a religious structure around Jesus Christ, Andrews ' mother exemplified a sympathetic, Christ-like servant. Andrews' national heritage also influenced him. He accepted the prevalent belief that Great Britain was part of God's plan to r ule the backward colonies, but he also was a true Englishman, believing deeply in the democratic system of government. During his college years, Andrews felt the impact of the new scientific age and its attack on Christian beliefs (Virgin Birth, Resurrection of the body, literal interpretation of the Bible) that could not be proven or adequately defended by the new findings of the natural scientists and literary critics. While pondering his own religious beliefs, Andrews became closely associated with Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, and his family. Through this intimate contact, Andrews was led into membership and the priesthood of the Anglican Church and became interested in missions. From 1904-1940, Andrews endeavored to bring into reality his Christ-like servitude as a missionary in India. His major concerns during these years were indentured labor which Andrews investigated in the Fiji Islands and assisted in its eventual abolishment, opium in Assam where he endeavored to show to the British Government of India its ineffective policies in the matter of increasing consumption of the drug, and Indian independence which Andrews advocated as early as the 1920's when others were willing to accept dominion status. In addition to his social concerns, Andrews also became concerned about his beliefs and relationship to the Anglican Church while he was in India. Because of his questioning of doctrines, the restrictiveness of the Anglican priesthood, and his contact with the non-Christians, he finally decided in 1915 to become a priest without a parish and to serve all men, Christians and non-Christians alike. This decision began Andrews' quest to answer such questions as: How does one explain the existence of great reli gious men outside the Christian faith? What is the "church"? Is there only one true and apostolic ministry? Although he did not resolve these questions completely, he sincerely attempted throughout his life to find the answers and tried to lead a Christ-like life. After two operations, Andrews died on April 5, 1940, in Calcutta. His body was carried to a nearby cemetery followed by a throng of Christians and non-Christians, rich and poor, walking together on foot to Andrews' last resting place.
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RightsCopyright by MARVIN CARL SWANSON 1965.