I have finished "The Heavenly Man", the story of Brother Yun, a leader in the Chinese House Church Movement. The highlights of these final chapters are the depiction of Yun's miraculous escape from prison, Yun's escape from China, his involvement with the Back To Jerusalem Movement, and the valueable lessons God taught him during these years.
In the late 1990's, Yun and many of the leaders of the House Church Movement were arrested and imprisoned. The police came to arrest Yun and others in an apartment where they where to conduct a meeting. Yun jumped out of a window to escape, hurting his legs. He happened to land in the middle of a group of policemen who beat him severely on the spot. After his arrest, his legs were beaten so severely Yun could not walk; the prison authorities referred to him as "the cripple." After a couple month's incarceration, the Lord command Yun to escape. Yun walked past several security men and through gates which were normally locked. A taxi driver took him to Christian friends. Yun was such a high priority target that it was too dangerous for anyone to hide him and he had to escape from China. He ended up in Germany. The escape of his wife and two children is also detailed. Yun believes that God has used the persecution by the Communist Government against the House Churches to prepare Chinese Christians to evangelize the geograaphical area between China and Jerusalem. That is why he has become involved with the Back to Jerusalem movement. This movement exists to evangelize this portion of the world.
In reading this final portion of "The Heavenly Man", I am struck by some of Brother Yun's statements concerning Christian workers. Yun was incarcerated twice because he was negligent in following God's lead. He became so emeshed in his work for God that his work came before his family, which Yun says should have been his chief concern. He speaks of Christian workers becoming addicted to their mission so that mission becomes their idol. He even instructed evangelists to get their family relations right before they went back on the field. This did not sit well with other leaders. Yun's messages on this goes against the grain of the message we hear from Christian workers. Does anyone hear anyone defend William Carey's first wife for her reaction to being newly saved and torn from her native home before she was ready? No wonder she went mad in India. I have seen Christian workers whose idol was their own radicalism. I have seen the damage these people have done to others as well as themselves. Yun believes that time in prison was a time for Yun to repent and change his priorities. "The Heavenly Man" also has Yun's wife tell her story as well. We can get a rare glimpse of how familes of Christian workers suffer as well as experience the triumph God brings them. Yun states that families of Christian leaders in China suffer more than the leaders themselves and that much of the aid from Western Christian churches should be directed toward efforts to provide for these families.
Ever since I attended seminary I have neglected reading books such as these. Reading "The Heavenly Man" has been a great blessing to me. It has encouraged me to look outside myself again and trust God in all my circumstances. It has also encouraged me to renew my efforts to return to the ministry.
There have been some accusations that the events depicted in "The Heavenly Man" are not true and that Yun lies when he claims to have been a leader of the House Church Movement. Paul Hattaway, of Asian Harvest, who co-wrote this book, has put out an open letter on the internet refuting these charges.