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Brother Yun Meets the God of Peter

Mar 31, 2007

In December 1980, Brother Yun was invited to participate in a new government program in China. They were setting up a state-controlled Christian Church called "Three-Self Patriotic Church," in order to be able to show the world that they allowed freedom of religion in China. Religion was "free" as long as it was controlled by the state.

This was very much like ancient Rome's policy, which allowed licensed, recognized religions (religio licita) and which banned unlicensed groups. Judaism was a recognized religion in the Roman Empire, and when Christianity began, it was considered to be a sect of Judaism. But in 60 A.D., after Paul appeared before Nero the first time, it was discovered that Christianity was not under the authority of the temple in Jerusalem, and this made it an illegal religion (religio illicita). That is when the persecutions began.

This was the foundational issue by which the early Church was persecuted until Constantine legalized Christianity as a religion in 313 A.D. Because Constantine claimed to be a Christian, the Church leaders were induced to make an alliance with the state.

The Chinese Church came into the same danger in 1980. The organizing conference was set up by the Religious Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Bureau. Brother Yun writes on page 50 of The Heavenly Man,

"I went to the meeting completely open to the idea of joining the new church, and was even open to the possibility of being a leader for our area if that was what God wanted."

At the meeting, Brother Yun saw the nature and the danger of this, and walked out of the meeting, saying, "Don't you ever invite me to a meeting like this again!" On pages 52, 53, he writes,

"This is how the Lord led me to give my life for the gospel in China, and to work for the growth of the house churches. From that day on I clearly understood that the kingdom of God can never mix with politics. The ultimate, stated aim of Marxist teaching is the complete eradication of all religion. The pure bride of Christ can never be controlled by an atheistic government or led by men who hate God!

"The true church is not an organization controlled by the rules of men but a holy convocation of living stones with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone."

On page 54 and 55 we read,

"It is a known fact that birds confined in cages have a hard time reproducing. . .

"In the house churches we simply couldn't adhere to such control and interference. We believe that Jesus is the head of his church, not the government. We broke away from the Three-Self Church and took a firm stand against all attempts to bring us under its control.

"In response, the authorities in China launched a long-running 'bird-hunting' season. They cannot stand those free birds who refuse to come under their control. Sometimes they manage to trap birds and cage them behind iron bars, but even within those cages the free birds have laid eggs and reproduced, winning many souls to the Lord in prison.

"At this time I started my career of 'fleeing evangelism'. That is, we preached the gospel and then had to flee from one place to another being pursued by the police, just like Jesus had told his followers to do: 'When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.' Matthew 10:23."

Because Yun had to flee so often, the gospel spread rapidly to other villages throughout China. The government issued a warrant for his arrest for "disturbing the social order." His picture appeared on posters in every bus and train station, telegraph poles, and walls. He was arrested a number of times, but managed to escape each time until 1983.

Then in 1983 a crime wave hit China, and the government reacted with an anti-crime campaign. Many criminals were executed in public. Along with them, of course, Christians in house churches were arrested as criminals for disturbing the social order by not registering with the Three-Self Patriotic Church.

In response, Brother Xu felt that they needed to define a plan to bring the gospel to the rest of China. He wrote a booklet called Building up the Chinese House Church. Brother Yun was sent to Shaanxi Province, which had very little Christian witness at the time and was known for its resistance to the gospel.

Before he left, he had a vision that shook him to the core. "I saw a terrible evil vision. A black and heinous creature came after me. It had a horrible twisted face. It pressed me down on the ground and sat on my stomach so I couldn't get up. With one of its hands it grabbed my throat and started choking me. With its other hand it grabbed some steel pliers and tried to shut my mouth with them. I could hardly breathe. Then I saw a great strong angel fly toward me. With all my strength I poked my fingers into the eyes of the evil creature. It fell to the ground, and I was carried away to safety by the angel."

In Shaanxi Province, he shared the Word and then went to a room to rest. Suddenly, PSB officers kicked through the door and grabbed Yun. Throwing him to the floor, one officer held him down and with one hand held Yun by the throat. He immediately remembered his earlier vision and knew it was now coming to pass.

One officer noticed a red wooden cross hanging on the wall with the words under it, "For God so loved the world." They tore it down, tied it to Yun's back, then began to kick him furiously. Then they marched him off, bloodied and bruised. The townspeople saw this parade, with the cross tied to Yun's back, and said that Jesus from Henan had come.

In the interrogation, the police wanted to know where he came from and who he was working with in order to arrest more believers. Yun refused to answer any questions, other than saying that he was from Henan. Then he pretended to be insane, as David had done in the Scriptures. One officer went to make a telephone call to Henan to find out who he was. The others went with him to hear what was said.

Then God spoke to Yun saying, "The God of Peter is your God," and he remembered how God had set Peter free in Acts 12. Suddenly, the rope binding his arms behind his back snapped by itself. Yun walked out of the room, walked through the courtyard, and it was as if no one could see him. The heinous creature had been blinded. Yun ran through the darkness over hills, through forests, and across a river.

After two hours of running, he heard someone shouting in the darkness, "Brother Yun, where are you going?"

The man had been to Yun's meeting earlier but had left just before the police arrived in order to do some work at his farm. He had heard nothing of the arrests. He led Yun down the path to a house where Yun had preached a day earlier. When they arrived, they found the people gathered, praying for Yun's release.

The next day Yun escaped to another place, and the embarrassed authorities were unable to find him. A few days later, he returned to Henan. Brother Fu then told him, "A few days ago during our prayer meeting, your wife had a vision. A voice said, 'Yun has been arrested in Shaanxi. He needs a great miracle to get him out.' We told the church and everyone immediately fasted and prayed for you."

While still recovering from his beating, the church sent Yun to northern Hubei, because the authorities were now looking for him in Henan. There he experienced many miracles, especially of divine healings. So many were converted that it got the attention of the authorities. Once again, he fled from place to place, sleeping in caves. And thus, the Word of God spread farther and faster, thanks to government persecution.

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Dr. Stephen Jones

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