Leading the Leaders: E. Stanley Jones '07
Students who attend Asbury University get a front-row view of the determination, talents and potential of their fellow classmates and the alumni who have paved the way for their achievements. In this web series, we'd like to share that view with you! This is the first in an ongoing series about just a few of Asbury's world-impacting graduates.
Missionary, author, theologian. These three titles do little justice to E. Stanley Jones’ life.
A 1907 graduate of Asbury University, Jones sailed to India that same year, at the age of 23, to serve as a missionary. His calling came in the midst of one of Asbury’s well-known revivals in 1905, when classes were cancelled for three days as students knelt in confession and praise and, as he said, “every classroom turned into a prayer meeting.”
While in India, Jones became a prolific writer and developed a friendship with the great Indian reformer Mahatma Gandhi. For more than 65 years, Jones ministered in India and around the world, evangelizing and bringing reconciliation to a wide variety of conflicts.
Jones received a number of high-profile plaudits for his efforts. Because of his work to promote peace in India and around the world, Jones was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. And in 1938 Time Magazine called him “the world’s greatest missionary evangelist.” In 1963, Jones became the seventh recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award, joining the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and preceding Martin Luther King Jr.
Leading up to World War II, Jones was a strong proponent of peace. He became close to President Roosevelt during this time, and tried to stave off conflict between Japan and the U.S. before the fateful attack on Pearl Harbor. When Jones traveled to Japan after the War, he was hailed as an “Apostle of Peace.”
Jones wrote 29 books during his lifetime, most notably Christ of the Indian Road and Gandhi: Portrayal of a Friend. These books have been printed in a variety of languages and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.
One of these books had a tremendous, if indirect, impact on America in the 1960s. King, the great Civil Rights hero, said the book Jones wrote about Gandhi inspired him to champion non-violent resistance in fighting for Civil Rights. Without Jones, the outcome of the Civil Rights era may have been vastly different.
Before Jones had accomplished any of the work that gained him international acclaim and left such a profound mark on many parts of the world, he was a student at Asbury who met a great God. Jones was deeply impacted by, in his words, “the missionary revival that goes on at Asbury from September to June.” It was the Spirit of God and the life-changing experience of Asbury that prepared Jones to be “the world’s greatest missionary evangelist.”
-- by Elijah Friedeman ‘15