Integrating Spirit and Intellect
by: Marc Baer
God had spent a decade forging Oswald Chambers into a man free to be called. Thereafter his life was characterized by a deep desire to abandon everything for God’s sake and to encourage others to do the same. God first called Chambers to employ his gifts as an itinerant evangelist—in Britain, the United States, and Japan. Then in 1911 Chambers was led to found a Bible college in London. Chambers saw the school’s purpose as equipping students for whatever ministry God called them to by training them to think for themselves. During its brief existence the college shaped the lives of scores of students.
But in 1915, one year after World War I began, Chambers heard a new calling, which took him to Egypt to serve as a YMCA chaplain. His approach to teaching soldiers—treating them as learners, like his students back in London, rather than as men who needed entertainment or distraction—appealed both to believers and doubters. What Oswald (and his wife Biddy) offered these young soldiers was human kindness in the form of food, conversation, stimulating lectures, counseling, and prayer. The Chambers touched the lives of tens of thousands of men. In Oswald’s final sermon, on October 14, 1917, he urged young people not to wait to enter into a relationship with their Creator. A month later he was dead. Tragic as it seemed at the time, this was not the end of the Chambers’ ministry.