The Heavenly Man ~ Brother Yun, Paul Hattaway<br />Book Review / SummaryThis is the remarkable story of the life of one Liu Zhenying otherwise known throughout the book as Brother Yun. As you may have already surmised by his name he is Chinese. He has lived through some terrible persecutions and many trials of affliction – very recently. The book takes us up to 2001 at which point, by God’s leading not merely to escape, he came to the West. The Bible says, “Where darkness abounds grace doth more abound.” Taking this same principle I would say that one of the central lessons that comes through this story is that where severe difficulties abound amazing deliverances do more abound! This account is one of a constant interchange between tremendous sufferings and wondrous blessings. Yun seems to take it all as one.

I admit to skipping a few pages here and there where the particulars of some of the tortures were too much for me. I personally don’t see the value in overlabouring such detail. Also on a nominally negative note I found that throughout the book I was left with a few question marks as to the way certain things were handled. But… and it is a big ‘but’, I wouldn’t like to judge too stringently in view of the fact that this man and others like him have passed through the furnace of affliction in a way that I have not.

The overall thrust is undoubtedly sound in its sincerity but I did find some things a tinge surreal at times. Below is an excerpt from the book – page 290. Perhaps from this you will see a little of the picture I am trying to paint. Tremendous resolve to serve the Lord combined with that slight touch of eccentricity that can almost bring a wry smile as one reads it. The following concerns their ‘missionary training program’. The ‘students’ are all trained in the three following points:
1.How to suffer and die for the Lord. We examine what the Bible says about suffering, and look as how the Lord’s people have laid down their lives for the advance of the Gospel throughout history.
2.How to witness for the Lord. We teach how to witness for the Lord under any circumstances, on trains or buses, or even in the back of a police van on our way to the execution ground.
3.How to escape for the Lord. We know that sometimes it is the Lord who sends us to prison to witness for him, but we also believe the devil sometimes want us to go to prison to stop the ministry God has called us to do. We teach the missionaries special skills such as how to free themselves from handcuffs, and how to jump from second storey windows without injuring themselves.

The comment that follows says: “This is not a ‘normal’ seminary or Bible college!”

All in all this is an inspiring and faith building account. It is actually very easy to read and according to the gold sticker on the cover it has won some sort of ‘Book of the year’ too.

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