Kie Bowman is senior pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church and The Quarries Church in Austin, Texas.
The most influential Southern Baptist woman in ministry gave her life in service to Christ. Lottie Moon was an affluent, highly-educated linguist from Virginia whose testimony reads like something from a novel. But in her case, the facts were far greater than fiction.
While Lottie Moon demonstrated little to no interest in Christianity during her early years, a revival sermon on her college campus, preached by Southern Baptist legend John Broadus (one of the founders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), changed her life.
When she was still a college student, Moon met Crawford Toy, a brilliant young Baptist Hebrew teacher, and the two eventually planned to get married. Toy, however, had been influenced by Darwinism, and his theology grew more heavily informed by German liberalism, embroiling him in controversy while he taught at Southern Seminary. Eventually Professor Toy left Southern Baptist life, became a Unitarian, and taught at Harvard. Lottie Moon’s convictions about the trustworthiness of the Bible and her commitment to Christ wouldn’t allow her to go through with the wedding plans. She never married. Her heart, instead, was set on missions.
In spite of her marital status, in an unusual move, especially for the late 19th century, the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board commissioned Moon to go to China as a missionary. She would spend the rest of her life in ministry there.
Eventually, missionary funding and personnel support became slow in coming. Lottie Moon gave her last dollars and most of her food to the hungry Chinese people in her care, all the while pleading with the mission board and stateside churches for more missionaries and more support.
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Source: Baptist Press