During the Chinese Cultural Revolution which started in 1966, Bibles in China were rare. Many who had one buried them in metal cans several feet in the Earth. Liu Zhenying had a dream one night as a child that he would get a Bible from a stranger. The next day it came true.
Liu is known by another name, “The Heavenly Man”. The nickname comes from an incident in 1984 when Liu was harassed by police to give up his name. In fear that revealing his real name would give up his fellow church members, he answered with: “I am a heavenly man!”.
What follows is the incredible story of “The Heavenly Man”, aka Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian pastor who suffered tremendously under the Communist Party enforcers in China in the 1980s.
Christianity In China
Christianity in China is restricted, because the state is officially atheist. Chinese Christians became targets of violent attacks during the Cultural Revolution. Many were forced to confess their “crimes” against the Communist Party through the Chinese Struggle Session.
Mao’s wife Jiang Qing once said “Christianity in China has been confined to the history section of the museum. It is dead and buried.”
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Rod Dreher writes about the stories of Soviet-era communism’s oppression and the future of “soft totalitarianism” in Live Not By Lies. See the book on Amazon here.
Mao’s plan to industrialize China, The Great Leap Forward led to millions of deaths by starvation. It was a sad period in Chinese history, the Great Leap Forward actually caused the death rate to climb above the birth rate.
The Heavenly Man
Brother Yun was born in 1958 into a farming village located in the southern part of China’s Henan Province. The farmers were uneducated and “stubborn as donkeys”. An estimated 8 million died in the province from famine caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward.
Missionaries in Henan, China have had a tough time since they arrived in 1884. They were not received well, seen as tools of imperialism trying to seduce the minds of the Chinese people to weaken them.
These missionaries set out to build hospitals, schools, and churches in the Henan Province. Many were tortured and killed, especially by the nationalist Boxers in 1900. Yun writes, “we repaid them with death.”
See Brother Yun’s story in The Heavenly Man. See it on Amazon.
Yun’s father was a general in the Republic Of China’s (ROC) army. They fought against the communists of the Communist Party Of China in the Chinese Civil War (1927 and 1949).
Because of his past, Yun’s father was the target of the Red Guards, a student-led paramilitary group, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Yun writes that his father never gave in, and refused to admit his crimes during his Struggle Session with the Red Guards.
Of all the remarkable stories Yun writes about, some are extraordinary. Yun claims to have once experienced a form of teleportation while running home to his village one night.
Others were more subtle, Yun saw a floating light that guided his way home as a child while traveling through the night. Once while under interrogation by the Public Safety Bureau officials, Yun passed out from torture. He writes that God allowed him to pass out in order to avoid the pain.
I can’t describe how I felt. It was the most excruciating agony I’ve ever experienced. Intense pain
shot through my entire body. I couldn’t help but cry out. Lapsing between consciousness and
unconsciousness, I couldn’t tell if I was in my body or separate from my body.
By the time the doctor reached my middle finger the Lord mercifully allowed me to faint and not feel
the pain being inflicted on me.
The Heavenly Man
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