Wise Up

Frederick Booth-Tucker

There is nothing Freddy Booth-Tucker could not have achieved in his lifetime. By Captain David Kelly
Wise Up
Frederick Booth-Tucker
Illustration by: Paul Ryding (@paulrydingdotcom on Instagram)

March 21, 1853 – July 17, 1929

Frederick Booth-Tucker was groomed for success. In fact, given the level of his education, the influence of his family and his own personality, there is nothing Freddy Booth-Tucker could not have achieved in his lifetime.

Frederick’s family was rich and powerful. They were part of the British Empire in India. He himself had a great affinity for the Indian people. Having converted to Christianity in college, he returned to the Indian subcontinent full of evangelistic fervor.

It was the Christmas issue of the Salvation Army’s “War Cry” magazine that… He left the Civil Service in India to join The Salvation Army, to the dismay of his family and his peers. However, his passion for the Indian people would not be quelled; he later returned to preach the gospel to the Indian people.

Freddy unlocked one of the great methods of evangelism: incarnational ministry. When he brought the gospel to the people of India, he did not try to “Europeanize” them. Instead, he adopted their lifestyle, and he lived among them. Shedding all the comforts afforded him as a British citizen and a Booth-Tucker, he chose to live in squalor. He—and the other Salvationists with him—wore Salvation Army uniforms that had been modified to resemble traditional Indian garb. They lived off the scraps of food that they could find. They even gave up their boots – no small thing when traversing the exotic landscape!

Frederick’s zeal for Jesus and the people of India was contagious. Many people wanted to be a part of the special revival happening in India, but few people were willing to make the same sacrifices. Frederick was adamant that nothing—especially the comforts of status—would hinder or limit him in his evangelism. 

So What?

When we talk to people about Jesus, are we doing it in a way that they can relate to? As our founder, William Booth, advised, we must “get into their skins” if we are going to present the gospel in a meaningful way. How far are we willing to go for the gospel?

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