Welsh Baptist missionary to China Timothy Richard (1845–1919) was once widely regarded as “one of the greatest missionaries whom any branch of the Church, whether Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, or Protestant, has sent to China.” Today, few have heard of Richard and his remarkable lifetime of ministry in China.
As the first critical examination of Richard’s missionary identity, this groundbreaking historical study traces the narrative of Richard’s early life in Wales and his formative first two decades of service in China. Richard’s adaptations to the common evangelistic techniques of his day, his interest in learning from grassroots Chinese sectarian religions, his integration of evangelism and famine relief during the North China Famine (1876–79), his strategic decision to evangelize Chinese elites, and his complicated relationships with Hudson Taylor and other China missionaries are all explored through the writings and personal letters of Richard and his contemporaries. The resulting portrait represents a significant revision to existing interpretations of this influential China missionary, emphasizing his deep empathy for the people of China and his abiding evangelical identity. Readable and relevant, Encountering China provides a new generation with an introduction to this lost legend of China mission.