FINGERPRINTS OF GRACE
A Tribute to the Ten Dead Men Who Left Their Imprint Upon My Soul
By Eric Ludy
Fingerprints of Grace ©2015 by Eric Ludy. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the publisher, except for brief quotations.
about the book
You can tell a lot about a person by whom they esteem and desire to emulate. For Eric Ludy, the majority of people who most influenced his life are dead. In this short and simple book, Eric introduces you to the ten spiritual heroes who left an imprint upon his soul. His desire is that these men press their fingerprints upon your life as well. It’s truly amazing the power that dead men can have upon our lives.
ERIC SAYS: A lot of people ask me what the prime influences on my spiritual walk have been. For years I have spoken about the impact of my own father and father-in-law in my soul development. But that isn’t the answer most people are looking for. They want to know who those people were, outside of my immediate family, who took the chisel to my soul and shaped me. You know, the dead guys, who though they no longer walk this earth still have something to say about what it means to follow Jesus.
I was primarily discipled by dead guys. And this little book is tribute to those mighty men of faith who set a pattern for me to follow. I hope and pray that this book introduces you to men trustworthy of your admiration.
The Power of a Father’s Imprint
Discipled by dead guys
John “Praying” Hyde
The Honorable Mentions
A Father’s Imprint
a word before
If a man were likened to a block of clay, then the fingerprints indelibly evidenced in the pressed clay of his life would indicate who is most responsible for the shape he is currently in.
My father’s fingerprints are all over me. I am my father’s son and proud to be so. I could write an entire book just about my father. However, this is not that book. My purpose in this little literary work is to help enunciate not the living men who most impacted my life, but the dead ones.
But a short dedication — although it doesn’t do my father justice — is necessary. For in a book that intends to pay proper tribute, how can I overlook my earthly daddy in the process of throwing out bouquets of gratitude to the men who most impacted my life? After all, it is my precious daddy’s noble purpose, heavenly ethic, righteous manner, and Christ-like character that has proven the most significant thumbprint in my life’s clay.
I am proud to be a Ludy, the son of Winston, the firstborn little boy of a noble man. It was his manhood that set the stage for me to recognize the grandeur of the manhood inside these upcoming pages.
Discipled by dead guys
In many ways I’m a man discipled by dead guys.
I’ve always felt like a puzzle piece that got thrown into the wrong box and now doesn’t really know where he fits. Am I supposed to be alive right now? Or was I from the puzzle box labeled 1832? I’ve dreamed of journeying to China with Hudson Taylor, sitting in the Metropolitan Tabernacle and hearing Spurgeon preach, or even venturing into the throes of East End London next to William Booth.
But, alas, I was born in the rather spiritually dead year of 1970.
I have grown up in the age of morally failing pastors and imbecilic T.V. preachers. If you are a young man like me, born in 1970, looking for a spiritual hero … then … well … you might need to bypass the local Christian bookstore and, instead, head to your grandparent’s attic and start perusing those old boxes marked “Great Great Granddad’s books.”
I’m not saying that a book written nowadays can’t have “the stuff of old” packaged inside of it. But it’s just that there seems to be a damper pedal on modern Christianity. There is a luster missing — and all the volume knobs seem broken and unable to bring the full volume to the Truth.
Yes, and that is a self-criticism. For I write books too and, yes, I live “nowadays.”
So, back to the idea of “being discipled by dead guys”…
There were nights I’d lie awake and beg God to give me just five minutes with C.T. Studd, just so I could hear someone speak these things out loud for my natural ears to hear in this present day in order to insure that I wasn’t crazy. Oh, to witness Muller’s faith, to sit in Tozer’s study as he prepared his weekly sermon, or to pray alongside John Hyde.
One of my great desires was to meet Richard Wurmbrand and Leonard Ravenhill before they died. I was close, but never was able to. I wanted to talk with men who suffered, men who stood strong amidst their generation, men who were uncompromising. But it would appear that God has asked me (and many of you reading this) to believe even though we haven’t seen — to stand even though we have never personally met others who have stood as God is asking us to in this generation.
So, without further ado … I would like to introduce you to the ten modern mighty men of God that have most impacted my life.
Traveling Preacher, Acclaimed Author
Ravenhill’s moxie has moved me. It has steeled my spine. His willingness to say and do the hard things has been to me a picture of a true man of God. His simple life, combined with his message of full consecration, is a pattern for me to this day. His book Why Revival Tarries ranks among the top ten books I’ve ever read.
Pastor, Author, Found of the Voice of the Martyrs
Wurmbrand’s daring stand in Romania for the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an elixir to my soul. When every other pastor sat trembling in the face of communist persecution, Wurmbrand stood up and spoke. It cost him everything. But he wiped the spit from off the face of Christ. His loving deportment while being tortured in prison is also of great significance in my discipleship. Wurmbrand has been my tutor in better understanding both the joy and perseverance possible in the face of Christian suffering.
Pioneer Missionary, All-Around Stud (Pun Intended)
A man among males. I’ve never heard such a growl, such a grit, or such a thunderous soul for the glory of God. When I read about Studd’s life and read his writings, my soul resonated with a shout. If I could pick just one man in modern Christian history who I would model my life after, it would be Studd. This man’s life choices bring such conviction to my life. His entire givenness to the sustaining hand of Christ is a shot of spiritual adrenaline into my heart. And the fact that he changed the face of modern missions through his audacious risk-taking venture into the most dangerous part of Africa causes the man in me to nod in respectful, whole-hearted approval.
Considered to be the “Prince of Preachers”
Spurgeon’s forceful eloquence of Gospel truth is moving to my soul. His rare ability to enunciate truth with majestic language and epic scale has been one of the prime sources of my passion for the grandeur of Christian expression to return to the stage of time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned to Spurgeon in an hour of wrestling, only to have him turn me back to my King Jesus with a thunderous exclamation: “Do not turn to me for life, Eric Ludy, but turn instead to the Fountain of Life, Jesus Christ!”
Pastor, Renowned Author
While in college, it was Tozer’s book The Pursuit of God that first drew me into the deeper waters of soul longing. A thirst for time in the Almighty’s presence was awakened, and the men that Tozer listed as his mentors quickly became my own. And, once again, nearly ten years later, it was Tozer’s short little book The Divine Conquest (ironically the sequel to The Pursuit of God) that proved one of the single most important books in my entire life.
Pioneer of Persistent Prayer
The man was definitely odd within his generation, but it was the good sort of oddness. His faith moved mountains and threw them into the sea. His prayers brought sweeping revival to Africa and stopped Hitler’s death hammer in its tracks. His deep intimacy with God has inspired thousands — the world was certainly not worthy of this amazing man. The prayer college he founded has been the pattern for Ellerslie since its inception.
Renowned Missionary to China, Author
This man was a pure marvel. He was hallmarked by an indomitable strength of soul that would not budge from its position of faith, no matter the testing. He was unshakeable, immovable, and unstoppable. His stories of the China Inland Mission inspire my soul to action, and his teaching has equipped me to really live out the exchanged life of Christ.
Pastor, Preacher, Reformer, Founder of the Salvation Army
This man was a true chief in the Body of Christ. He led his flock to storm hell’s gates, fearlessly and with intrepid courage. He didn’t fear what man could do to him. He reveled in the revilement and received the rotten tomatoes to the face with a shout of praise. The heavenly blend of compassion for the weak and conviction to defend the truth was lived out with such majesty and grace within his lifetime. Throughout history, perhaps none other than William Booth demonstrated more vividly the true power of leaping for joy when falsely accused.
Pastor, Man of Prayer, Father of the Faith, Orphan Advocate, Author
How many times have I thought of Müller when the natural realm seemed defiant against my prayers and the moment of need was upon me? When I growl within my soul, “Watch what my God will do!” it’s the Müller-inspired side of me that is talking. This man walked out the true life of faith, and that not alone. He walked it with a thousand orphans under his care. And he proved that when you open your mouth wide, God will certainly fill it. Müller demonstrated that life’s necessities are nothing more than God’s opportunity to shine.
John “Praying” Hyde
Missionary to India, Man of Gethsemanic Prayer
Hyde prayed. He prayed, and then he prayed some more. This man refused to stop praying until the
answer came. His burden — the lost in India — never left him. It followed him around throughout the day and pressed him back to his knees the moment he would rise back up. He was a picture of a living sacrifice, wholly pleasing unto his God. When I think of modeling a prayer life, I gulp, and then I look to John Hyde for a pattern. The world is not the same due to this man’s diligence in the prayer closet.
The Honorable Mentions
And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Major Ian Thomas, George Whitefield, Keith Green, David Wilkerson, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Brother Yun, Gladys Aylward, D.L. Moody, John Knox, David Livingstone, David Brainerd, John G. Paton, E.M. Bounds, Eric Liddell, Paris Reidhead, John Wesley, John and Betty Stam, Oswald Chambers, R.A. Torrey, Edward Payson, Robert Murray McCheyne, Evan Roberts, Amy Carmichael, and Andrew Murray — who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
May men and women such as are listed here once against stride forth onto the stage of time. God knows we need them now!