Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clouds of Witnesses: "The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun."

I have read the first five chapters of "The Heavenly Man" by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway. This work tells the story of Brother Yun's conversion experience and call to ministry. Yun grew up in a remote Chinese village whose inhabitant's lives were dominated by the struggle to survive. Like Watchman Nee, his mother was a backslidden Christian. And like Watchman Nee, it was his mother's repentance that led to his salvation. Also leading to Yun's salvation, as well as the salvation of his whole family, was the miraculous healing of Yun's father who was dying of cancer. The mother, who was beginning to crack under the strain of the prospect of providing for her family with no husband, heared a message from God that Jesus loved her. Hearing this message, she fully repented. She had been brought to the Lord by missionaries before the Communists kicked all the missionaries out of China. With no one to teach her, and with the Church under Communist oppression, her faith had lapsed. After her repentance, she became a mighty servant of the Lord despite her inability to read and her limited knowledge of God's Word.

The book chronicles the miracles that Yun experienced, including receiving a rare copy of the Bible, visions of people (including specific individuals) in need and deliverance from government police trying to arrest him. Some of us here in the West may have problems believing that these miracles took place. I have no problem believing them. There are numerous sources for the existence of miracles in China and other third world countries. Missionaries from Islamic countries, where it is extremely dangerous to spread the gospel, have told me of God using miracles and visions to bring people to Jesus where missionaries could not travel. And in a land such as China, where the Communist government has such a grip on its people, it is just like our God to use such miracles to spread the gospel among a captive people who have no scriptures and can barely read themselves. There are those who have questioned Brother Yun's claims, but as this article demonstrates, there is ample evidence that the tale he tells is a truthful one and that these critics have no personal knowledge of Yun.

The chapters that I have read so far speak of Yun's conflict with the Chinese government in general terms. I have not gotten to the portions of the book dealing with his imprisonments. I was pleased to read that even in the midst of his trials as an evangelist always having to be on the run (what Yun refers to as "fleeing evangelism"), he had the faith to marry and start a family. Yun explained to his future wife, Deiling, what their life would be like, yet she agreed to marry him anyway. (Yun was arrested the day they registered with the government their intention to marry. After their wedding, they attended a illegal House Church meeting.) "The Heavenly Man" gives us accounts from Deiling's point of view.

In reading of "The Three Self" movement of the Chinese government to allow the Church to exist under government control, I was reminded of the book recently read and which I gave an audio review in June: "The Gospels Triumph Over Communism." In "The Heavenly Man", we read of individuals who sought to gain a position in the Church as government stool pigeons who persecuted true believers and fought any freedom for believers. Yun's description of believers in Jesus within the government approved Church as caged birds who fail to reproduce, on page 54 of the paperback edition, is unforgettable. As I read more of "The Heavenly Man", I will post more articles which I hope will spur you to purchase the book.

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