Takeaway: The Christian world outside the US is much more important than what we usually acknowledge
Christian biography and autobiography is an important part of any spiritual growth. Whether you are a reader or not, you need to hear about what others have lived before you. This does not need to be in book form; movies, radio interviews, podcasts, conversations all can be part of the way that we hear from other Christians about their own spiritual lives.
Christian autobiography from non-western Christians is desperately needed to round out a vision of the church that is concerned with more than small bits of theological difference or differences in cultural engagement. Christians around the world right now are being imprisoned for their faith.
I first heard about Brother Yun (as I have about so many good books) from John Armstrong’s blog and I went back and read them as I finished up this book. It has been nearly 4 years since I first heard about the book, but I just recently got round to reading it. I should have read it much earlier.
This is a biography unlike I have read. It is reminiscent of the autobiography of Brother Andrew (the bible smuggler) I first read as a comic book as pre-teen. Brother Yun, starting when he first became a Christian at 16, was fervent in prayer. He prayed and fasted for 100 days to receive a bible (illegal and very rare in the early 1970s in China) and after 100 days a man brought him a bible. He did not just read it, he memorized large passages of scripture. Within months of receiving the bible he was asked to come preach to a nearby village. He went, but did not know what to say, so he just recited the whole book of Matthew and then the parts of Acts that he had started memorizing.
His story proceeds to tell of how he became a preacher in the underground church movement of China and how he was repeatedly imprisoned, tortured and eventually escaped out of China. Brother Yun now lives in Germany with his family and works to support the church in China.