08 Nov Trail of Obedience – Brother Bakht Singh Chabra
Bakht Singh Chabra was born on 6 June 1903 to a wealthy Sikh couple, Jawahar Mal Chabra & Lakshmi Bai. Though he studied in a Christian boarding school, he hated Christianity. He threw the pages of the Bible and kept the beautiful leather cover, which was presented to him during his intermediate.
With a promise to his mother that he wouldn’t change his religion, he was sent to study mechanical engineering in King’s College, London in 1926. In England he shaved his beard and removed the turban which is significant to his religion. He learned to smoke, drink, to use fork and spoon, to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ and all the things that amused him. It did not give him peace.
During a holiday (3 months) voyage to Canada (1928) he attended a church service in the ship. He felt a change with trembling and uttered the name ‘Jesus.’ When he returned to England, he felt peace as he spent hours praying alone in the churches. In 1929, he went to Canada to study agricultural engineering at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. John and Edith Hayward befriended and invited him to live with them. They read the Bible during supper time.
Bakht Singh asked Hayward for a Bible and got a New Testament. By reading the Gospel of John, he accepted the Lord in Dec. 1929. Later Hayward gave a Bible as a Christmas gift. He finished reading the whole Bible in three months on 22 Feb. 1930. By this time, he had read the New Testament several times. After taking Baptism (4 February 1932) in Vancouver, Canada, he went from place to place sharing his testimony.
In 1932 he wrote a letter to his father about his conversion quoting Bible verses. His father understood the letter with the help of an American missionary in his hometown. His father replied that he had no objection to his new faith. In March 1930 he saw a vision on
the wall before him – an India map and a bright shining cross in the centre and the Voice said, “If you want to serve me, you have to lay down your life at the cross.” Later the cross reminded him that one day he would have to go throughout India with God’s message.
In 4 April 1932, he was invited to share about India. When he was answering a question, he harshly criticized the missionary work
in India. When he came home, he couldn’t pray. The Voice said to him, “Who are you to criticize my work? You want others to be
sacrificing but yourself lead a life of comfort.” He answered that he would give all the money for the Lord’s work. But the Lord said, “I
don’t want your money, but I want you.” Bakht Singh committed his life to serve the Lord and was prepared to go anywhere whether
to India, China or Africa.
God told him three things. You must not ask anyone for anything, not even your friends or relatives. You are not to make any plans. You must not join any mission or society or denomination. He obeyed God. On 6 April 1933, Bakht Singh arrived in Bombay (Mumbai). His parents came to receive him. They asked him to keep his conversion as a secret. Bakht Singh said, “Can I live without breathing? When Christ is my life how can I live without Him?” They left him in Bombay. He became homeless. In his testimony, he says, “The Street was my home and the lamp post was my light. It was there I had to have my quiet time. Yet those were very happy days. I thank
God for all those days, when the Lord Jesus Christ was becoming so real and dear to me.” He distributed tracts and preached in
the streets. He shared the Gospel to individuals both Hindus and Muslims who passed by. Some offered him a cup of tea which
would be his breakfast, lunch, evening tea and supper.
After seven weeks, he went to Karachi, desert Sind and many other places to share the Gospel and attracted crowds.
Bakht Singh’s contributions
He was an itinerant preacher and revivalist who preached throughout India.
He was a good Bible teacher. He used to spend many hours in studying the Bible upon his knees.
Dr J. Edwin Orr, British Church historian said, “Bakht Singh is an Indian equivalent of the greater western evangelists, as skillful as
Finney and as direct as Moody.
He is a first class Bible teacher of the order of Campbell Morgan or Graham Scroggie.”
He established New Testament pattern churches called Assemblies and the first one was Jehovah Shammah in Madras (Chennai,
12 July 1941). Later he changed his base to Hyderabad on 25 Sept.1950.
According to Dr T.E. Koshy, he established more 10,000 indigenous churches in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Australia (1950).
He preached and taught across the globe. In 1946, Bakht Singh was a speaker in the InterVarsity Students’ Mission Conference (Urbana) when Jim Elliot, (the missionary who was martyred in Ecuador along with the other four missionaries) attended.
He initiated annual Holy Convocations in 1941 based on Leviticus 23 (tent meetings) where people ate, slept in huge tents and met for prayers, praise and listened to God’s Word from early morning till late at night. The Holy Convocations held in Hyderabad was always the largest, where nearly 25,000 people attended. The workers for the meetings were volunteers and the expenses were given by voluntary offerings; no appeals were issued.
He wrote several books and some of them are: My Chosen (1964), David Recovered All (1967), The Voice of the Lord (1970), Bethany
(1971), Forty Mountain Peaks, A Study of Isaiah 24-66 (1971), God’s Dwelling Place (1973), The return of God’s Glory (1973), The True Salt (1973), The Holy Spirit His Works and Significance (1974), Fullness of God Much Business (1977), The Skill of Loving Hands (1978), The Joy of the Lord (1984).
Bakht Singh was bedridden for 10 years because of Parkinson’s disease. At the age of 97, on 17 Sept. 2000, he went to be with the
Bakht Singh left the comfort of the West and walked the trail of obedience trusting in God to do His will. What is our response to His call?
Bakht Singh (undated) The story of my life, Nasik: Eternal Light Books & Tracts http://www.brotherbakhtsingh.org/briefbio.html accessed 14/10/2013 9.10pm
http://www.brotherbakhtsingh.org/webtestimony.html Accessed 14/10/2013 9.21 pm
h t t p : / / w w w . j e e v a nmar g . c o m /t e s t imonies/bakht – s i ngh-a- l i f e -testimony/ Accessed 14/10/20 13 9.10pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakht_Singh Accessed on 21.10. 2013 10.50 pm
http://www.brotherbakhtsingh.org/photos.html Accessed on 21.10. 2013
http://www.horebchurch.com/index2.html Accessed on 21.10. 2013 10.59 pm