was in turmoil. The Boxer
Rebellion, civil wars, foreign aggressions, Anti-Christian movements,
liberal theology, the Second World War...one event after another erupted
over that vast land. Just when China needed a nationwide spiritual
revival, God blessed China with a man who was utterly fearless and
dedicated in the manner of those ancient prophets: Dr. John Sung.
Dr. Sung (1901-44) came from
a family with 11 children. His father was a poor, rural pastor of the
Methodist Episcopal church in Fukien province (opposite Taiwan). With the
encouragement and support of friends, John Sung went to the United States,
enrolling at Ohio Wesleyan Univer¬sity in 1919. He graduated with top
honors. He continued at Ohio
State University for his Master's and Doctor's degrees in chemistry--a
unique accomplishment for a Chinese of that time.
with the claims of the Gospel ministry, he was encouraged to go to Union
Theological Seminary. Its
doctrine and teaching distressed him.
But as he studied the Bible through the night, he experienced a
transformation of soul that caused him to weep and shout for joy.
The seminary thought he had
gone crazy and threw him into the insane asylum.
For some 6 months, he was confined there...but he read the Bible
over 40 times! Upon the
intercession of an American friend and the Chinese Embassy, he was
released and headed back to China.
When his ship entered the
China Sea, John Sung made a crucial decision.
Taking his doctor's degree, academic gold key, and other
certificates of scientific attainments, he dumped them all into the sea!
From now on, he was to follow Jesus Christ completely…no turning
Sung preached extensively all over China.
He early decided NOT to preach the social gospel, which was in
vogue at that time. He
confined his messages to the subjects of the Cross, salvation, filling of
the Holy Spirit, the power of Jesus' blood, etc.
His best preaching was on "Sin," where hundreds would cry
out for salvation, repent, and changed their old lives. He dug deep into
the Scriptures and had a devotional approach to Bible interpretation.
John Sung was part of an evangelistic band which went all over China.
Half a million people heard the Gospel.
All over the China coast, north and south of the Yangtze River,
infaraway Northeast China, and overseas into Southeast Asia, as far as
Indonesia. Today, thousands
of Chinese all over Asia still speak lovingly of his ministry and effects
on their lives.
Sung was the greatest evangelist China ever had before or after.
What was the secret of his success?
Writer Bobby Sng of Singapore cited five reasons:
”He had a Bible-Centered Ministry”.
He spoke from the Bible. His
spiritual and pictorial presentation brought life to his messages.
As one church leader stated, "One reason why Chinese
churches are conservative theologically is that we have learned to take
the Bible seriously"
”He Took SIN Seriously”. At
each meeting, he would mention specific sins like opium-smoking,
concubinage, adultery, gambling, cheating and a multitude of other...and
invite the audience to repent by raising their hands.
Many would be reduced to tears.
It was said that the income tax department always knew when John
Sung was in town...
”He Emphasized Witnessing”. The
Gospel Bands were his outstanding creation. After prayer and some
preparation, he would immediately organize his converts into bands of
205 persons, assigning them districts to witness, and encourage them to
go out weekly.
”He was Utterly Fearless”. He
never hesitated to speak out against pastors, church leaders, and
missionaries if he detected inconsistencies in them.
Sometimes, he did this during his meetings.
Many would bow their heads in tears and shame.
He did alienate people, but his over-riding concern was to please
God not man.
”He was A Man of Prayer”. He would pray aloud, intimately with God,
like someone was in the room with him.
He knew God like he knew a close friend.
Dr. Timothy Tow of Singapore
tells of his having several big suitcases of about 10,000 names--ªpeople
who had written him on a particular need, desiring his prayer, and
attaching a photograph.
John Sung died at age 43, dying from the effects of pouring out
his life unceasingly in strenuous preaching and Christian service.
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