William Whiting Borden was a millionaire at 21 and ordained at twenty five on this day, September 9, 1912. Many young men have been ordained; few began as rich Borden or used their wealth as generously for the sake of Christ.
It was Borden's wealth which showed him the need for Evangelization of the world. Few sixteen year olds can afford a world tour. Borden could. It was while making this tour that he woke to the desperate need of the world's people for the gospel. He determined to carry the message to the most difficult clientele he could imagine, Chinese Muslims.
Spiritually precocious, Borden was a director of Moody Bible Institute, National Bible Institute, and the China Inland Mission in his early twenties. Among the leaders of the Christian world movement who influenced him were Samuel Zwemer, Apostle to Islam, and John R. Mott of Student Evangelism Movement fame.
He trained at Yale University (accordingly, he is often called Borden of Yale) and at Princeton. Many do not avail themselves of the opportunities that are at hand. Borden, however, did not wait to reach China to begin his missionary work. He funded the Yale Hope Mission while still training. It was while he was at Princeton that he was ordained.
In 1912 Borden offered himself for the China Inland Mission. Upon his acceptance, he sailed for Cairo, Egypt, proposing to study Arabic in North Africa before going on to his work among China's Muslims. But in Egypt he contracted cerebrospinal meningitis and died in 1913. He was only 26.
This loss of a rich young ruler who had given up all for Christ galvanized many Christians into action. Mrs. Howard Taylor wrote a biography of him which inspired a multitude of recruits for mission service. Even his wealth effectively advanced his purposes after he was gone, for in his will he left almost a million dollars to Christian causes.
- Taylor, Mrs. Howard. Borden of Yale. Various editions.
- Various internet articles.
Last updated April, 2007.